A scant two weeks after Michael Dell returned to the company he founded in 1997, to help repair it, Dell launched its IdeaStorm project and several others in an effort to listen to their customers. The GNU/Linux community has spoken loud and clear. Time will tell how well Dell is listening.
Considering Dell's long history with Microsoft, one has to wonder why Dell is venturing into the GNU/Linux waters. Face it. Dell has been in Microsoft's bed from the beginning. They are a Tier 1 Microsoft Windows computer manufacturer. Yet, over the last several years, they have attempted to sell computers with Red Hat Linux to consumers, successfully built a Red Hat-oriented server line, and now are wading back into the consumer GNU/Linux waters. What gives? Is Dell groping for the community in a last ditch effort to remain relevant, or are they really listening?
In order to answer that question, we need to consider some important facts. Dell's GNU/Linux server business has actually led to a strong GNU/Linux community within Dell. The Dell forums include a forum for GNU/Linux users. Dell supports at least 8 GNU/Linux and FOSS projects. Dell's Linux community forums have threads going back as far as November, 1999. 2007 is when things begin to get really interesting though.
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