Dell has updated their line of Ubuntu PCs with version 7.10, codecs for DVD playback, Adobe Flash, and new restore tools.

Today, we’re adding Ubuntu 7.10 (a.k.a Gutsy Gibbon) to the Dell Consumer Linux line-up for customers in the United States. It will also be available on the Inspiron 530 in England, France, and Germany later this week.

Not only do the systems come with the latest version of Ubuntu now, Dell has made some more improvements of their own to Ubuntu.

One of the key requests from customers interested in Linux is the ability to watch their favorite DVD movies. (See idea Preinstalled Linux must play commercial DVDs from IdeaStorm user jonmca… but we ended up taking some advice from jmxz to use LinDVD.). We totally agree and that’s why we now include built-in DVD movie playback with all Ubuntu 7.10 systems.

LinDVD is installed as a way to play commercial DVD legally. The small cost of this software is included in the price of the system. Using LinDVD instead of a GStreamer codec means the DVDs will not play in the Totem media player. It’s nice that buying a Dell PC supports InterVideo, who make LinDVD.

Adobe’s Flash player is installed by default now. Linux distributions can’t legally come with Flash because it is closed and Adobe does not allow it to be distributed. I imagine that it would have been easy for Dell to get Adobe’s permission to distribute it. I don’t think this is a big deal now that Ubuntu is so good at automatically installing either Adobe Flash or Gnash.

In addition, there are now easy ways to both restore to factory defaults from the hard drive and burn a recovery DVD. Dell’s improvements to the default Ubuntu install make this better than downloading a new ISO from Ubuntu.

Last time I wrote about Dell, it was about the rumor that they had sold 40 thousand Ubuntu PCs. At the time I was concerned with the lack of updates to the Ubuntu line. These recent upgrades are good, but the PCs themselves are still outdated. Dell’s announcement didn’t mention if there are going to be new systems with Ubuntu.

If you are in the United States, the systems with Ubuntu 7.10 are available now.

[update] Dell has now posted more technical details.


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