When Dell launched its IdeaStorm feedback site a week and a half ago, the idea was to get customers involved in improving its products and services. (The company's on-going effort to repair its reputation and regain market share began with the return of CEO Michael Dell not long ago.)
So far, according to this ZDNet Asia piece, what the customers want is pre-loaded open source -- specifically the top three Linux operating system distributions and open source apps like OpenOffice.org, Firefox and Thunderbird, for office productivity, Web browsing and e-mail, respectively. The question is, will they get it? And if so, how will Dell pull it off without aggravating its existing customer service issues?
BusinessWeek reports that the company is at least listening. Though even the staunchest open source supporters admit that Linux has a long way to go before it's ready for the masses in the consumer space, Dell is working with Novell to certify its "corporate client products" for Linux compatibility. The company is understandably hesitant to choose a single Linux distribution to be pre-loaded, but a post on IdeaStorm indicates it will soon be easier for customers to opt out of other pre-loads and to install the operating system and software of choice.
So even if Dell customers don't immediately get what they're looking for, their preferences will help to shape how Linux on the desktop evolves.