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Do you Ubuntu? If the answer's "Yes," then you probably installed the operating system yourself, using an .iso image and a little keyboard finger-grease. Congratulations! You're the One Percent of the computer world; most users, especially everyday users, would never even attempt to load a Linux variant on a PC. If they want to go truly mainstream, Ubuntu and its Linux brethren need to come preinstalled on OEM-built computers -- and that's why the numbers and news tossed around at yesterday's Ubuntu Developers Summit are so heartening.
First up, some actual penetration numbers: Canonical VP Chris Kenyon said that somewhere between 8 and 10 million PCs and laptops worth about $7.5 billion in total shipped with Ubuntu preinstalled in 2011. That's still chump change compared to the units shipped with Windows installed, but Phoronix reports that Canonical expects over 18 million Ubuntu-packin' units to move in 2012, a figure that Kenyon claims would give the OS a 5 percent stake of all global PC sales -- and that doesn't even count manual installations.
The guys at DevOpsAngle talked to Barton George, Dell's lead on the project, who said that the company hopes to ship XPS13 Ultrabooks with the bare-bones Sputnik configuration preinstalled sometime in the future if the project proves successful. For now, however, Ubuntu devs who already own an XPS13 can snag the Sputnik .iso over on the Ubuntu website.