Dell's Mini 10v netbook that was launched last week has some nice new upgrades, including "wireless improvements" according to Betanews, but one thing that users shouldn't expect is the latest version of Ubuntu, 9.04, or even version 8.10. The netbook is currently being sold running Ubuntu 8.04 standard, but in an email that Dell sent to Betanews, they believed that installing the newest version is not in the best interest of the mainstream users.
Dell has stated two main reasons for sticking with the older version. A Dell spokesperson said, "We are trying to stay on a 12-month cadence to keep costs down, and build a stable platform. A mainstream user does not care if it's 8.04 or 8.10 or 9.04 (he/she does not know what those are) -- she just wants it to work right and be stable/safe... most of the Linux enthusiasts would not like to be so far behind, but they are not our primary target audience for the [operating system] image," in the same aforementioned email. To add to this, Dell is still very satisfied with Ubuntu for its netbook platform, and said, "We have offered Ubuntu pre-installed on our consumer systems for two years now, based on customer feedback on Ideastorm. Canonical has been enthusiastic about working with us to deliver a rock-solid Linux experience for the general non-technical community, and we look forward to continuing this dedicated team effort going forward."
Dell ensures that they do their best to keep stability as high as possible in their devices, stating, "In addition to 8.04, we chose to control our updates (via our own update repository -- similar to MS update). We go the extra mile in double qualifying all updates (that one would see in stock 8.10 and 9.04) and only publish those that are rock-stable. We will [put in] select features over the course of the year that make sense for the product, like wireless improvements."
This is all well and good, but what do you think, Neowin? Would you like to see Dell offer the latest version of Ubuntu, or stay a step behind if it means greater stability for the end user?