If you think selling Linux is easy, why not beat Dell to it?
Dell's latest launch has really taken off. Unfortunately for Dell's crumbling profitability, it's a website called IdeaStorm, not a new PC. IdeaStorm is designed to get ideas and feedback from Dell users, and the mechanism is much the same as Digg: people make suggestions and everybody votes for the ones they like best.
The problem for Dell is that by far the most popular suggestion is one that Dell will find hard to implement. It means selling consumers PCs with Linux pre-installed. The company's founder, Michael Dell, really wants to do it, and he didn't become a multibillionaire by ignoring great marketing opportunities. He tried the idea around the turn of the century, when Linux hype was at its highest, and Dell still sells Linux on corporate servers and high-end workstations. But there are huge problems in offering Linux on mass-market PCs.