The Ubuntu Inspiron is up and running!

I finally got around to unpacking the boxes and installing the new computer. Pretty much everything worked out of the box, but I had to tinker with screen resolution as only the default set of 640×480, 800×600 and 1024×768 was available initially, and in the end I had to connect the monitor via VGA – DVI was giving me problems I could not resolve at this point. More later.

Got a Dell Inspiron 530n with Ubuntu pre-installed

I finally splurged on a Dell Inspiron 530N with Ubuntu. I need a computer for my music workstation, and with the latest developments in good quality multi-track recording software for Linux I felt it’s time to give it a serious try. I was thinking of building one myself instead of buying a ready made one, but did not feel adventurous enough. I guess I’m getting old :) This is actually my first brand name PC purchase!

I’ve received it very quickly – placed the order last Friday, and yesterday it was here! I’ve ordered the cheapest configuration without the monitor for $379, $410.74 with tax, with free shipping.

As for the monitor, Dell needs to get real: $170 is too much for a Viewsonic VA1703wb – a widescreen 8ms 1440×900 monitor with no DVI, 500:1 contrast and 250 nits brightness, so for just $10 more plus shipping I’ve got a superb 20″ Acer AL2016WBbd with 1680×1050 resolution, 5ms response time, DVI, 800:1 contrast and 300 nits brightness from NewEgg. Dell should consider partnering with Acer on monitors – Viewsonic is a good brand but Acer beats it hands down.

Stay tuned as I get it into production, and post questions if you are considering a Dell computer with Linux but still undecided – I will try to answer them here.

Linux Market Share Jump

Linux market share as measured by Net Applications has been growing fast this year. From 0.35% in January it increased to 0.42% in February (20% growth) and then jumped to 0.57% in March (35.7% growth) and 0.80% in April (22.8%). Unless it’s a fluke, it seems like Linux is finally starting to gain some momentum.

At the same time, Windows Vista has been gaining about 1% per month since February: 0.18% in January, 0.93% in February, 2.04% in March and 3.02% in April, or roughly 12% per year. Windows XP was released on October 25, 2001, and by the end of 2004 it commanded 65.07% of the market. Even assuming that the adoption was linear, that translates into over 20% per year. In reality, early adoption rates are probably higher, translating into possibly 30% market share for Windows XP by the end of 2002.

I do wish success to Microsoft’s competitors. If more people begin to use software that conforms to open standards and not Microsoft’s proprietary protocols and features, Microsoft-only standards will become marginalized and Microsoft will be forced to use open standards itself in order to inter-operate with others’ products. This will bring more competition and choice to the market, leading to improved quality of software, lower prices and real innovation such as BumpTop, for one small example.