At a non-profit, someone decided a new Dellbuntu would be a good computer for their next purchase. When the person called to order it, though, Dell refused to sell it. They said only home users can buy it, and they won't take a tax-exempt business credit card from a home-user. Apparently businesses can only buy the much more expensive Red Hat workstations or Windows Vista workstations. Check out this thread for the story. Also, Digg it. Maybe they'll change their policy if a big deal is made. Finally, vote for it on IdeaStorm. Why would Dell do this? No, it is NOT because of tech support. That has been suggested, and it cannot be right because Dell doesn't do any tech support on the Ubuntu boxes. Canonical does it. This just means they have less possible customers, and that's absolutely stupid. "I want to sell a bunch of computers to make money, but not to anyone who has enough money to buy a lot of computers," is the attitude they're displaying (yes, the limit is 5 boxes for a home user see: IdeaStorm). That's one way NOT to make money.
Again, I find myself recommending System76 over Dell. I would really like to be able to endorse Dell to show that Linux is worthwhile for OEMs, but it's not working. A while back, I compared Dell and System76 prices. The System76 was about $100 more than the Dell, and I mentioned that with Dell if you kept Windows, there's more costs associated with that (since the average user doesn't know about OpenOffice.org or free anti-viruses), and if you removed Windows in favor of Linux you'd lose tech support with Dell. One thing I just noticed is that System76 includes a 1 year warranty with 1 year free tech support (and tech support is extended with the warranty, so if you up the warranty to 3 years, you get 3 years of tech support). If you get a Dell and want a year of tech support, you're paying Canonical over $200. I guess that makes the System76 cheaper by over $100. So, no, it doesn't show the big players in the game like HP and Gateway that Linux is worth their while if you get a System76 instead of a Dellbuntu, but it does help a small company grow. And hey, if System76 gets bigger as a Linux-only retailer, that'll be better proof to the other big companies that Linux is worthwhile than if Dell just supplements their Windows-based income with a few Linux-based computer sales.