The First Moblin Version 2 Netbook Comes From Dell

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 25, 2009

We've been reporting this week on excitement surrounding netbooks running the new Moblin version 2 operating system, and how many different directions Moblin may go in. At the Intel Developer Forum conference this week, Intel showed a smartphone running the operating system, with its own chips powering the phone.  While Intel has officially handed over stewardship of Moblin to The Linux Foundation, the company is demonstrating its belief in Moblin for many types of hardware platforms ranging from netbooks, to smartphones, to Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

Intel has a long history of high-profile partnerships with big technology companies such as Microsoft and Dell, and that's why I'm not surprised to see that the first netbook running Moblin version 2 is Dell's very well-liked Mini 10v (shown). It's set to ship with Canonical's Moblin remix of Ubuntu, and is evidence that Dell--the world's number two computer manufacturer--remains committed to shipping Linux-based netbooks.

Dell, of course, has been shipping Ubuntu-based Mini 10v netbooks for some time. If you haven't tried a Mini 10v, it's worth it. The keyboard is much better than the ones usually found on space-contrained netbooks, and the displays and designs are excellent. As Ars Technica notes, Dell has warned that Moblin is an early stage operating system and is intended primarily for developers, but the company is obviously showing support for the OS. Ars Technica has been testing Moblin, and also reports that it is very compatible with Intel's hardware, has very fast boot times, and more.

Earlier this week, Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, was quoted saying that Moblin-based netboooks would come in at very attractive price points. However, this first offering from Dell is $299 in a standard configuration--the same price Dell charges for its Ubuntu-based Mini 10v netbooks. For that, you get a 160GB SATA hard drive, 1GB of memory, and a 1.6-GHz Intel N270 Atom processor. Perhaps other hardware manufacturers will pop up with lower prices for Moblin netbooks.

Dell does go out of its way to classify Moblin as still in test stage. According to its web site promoting the new Moblin netbooks:

"Dell designed the Mini 10v Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition exclusively for Linux enthusiasts, developers, and Early Adopters Moblin in its current state is not a completely stable and bug-free operating system. Features available in Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition are not comparable to features available in other Linux Operating system offerings. Dell provides warranty hardware support—not warranty software support. For software support, Dell customers must rely upon the open source community. Help can be found at"

Despite Dell's hesitancy to fully endorse Moblin for widespread use, it's still notable that heavy-hitting tech companies like Dell and Intel are squarely aligned behind a Linux-based operating system. In other notable news, Moblin also has its own app store now: Moblin Garage. It will be very interesting to watch what happens with this open source OS.