I recently purchased a brand-new Sony VAIO laptop. It's beautiful, which is why I went against every fiber in my body that expresses allegiance to the open source software movement. See, Sony doesn't offer any computers with Linux loaded on them. That's not a big deal to me, actually, since I rather enjoy customizing my Linux installations. What I do care about, however, is the fact that by purchasing a Sony computer, I was forced to give money to Microsoft for a product that isn't going to be used. Something about that chafes me—I don't like to waste money.
Up until a few days ago, I was rather impressed with Dell: they created a customer feedback site, which sent an overwhelming message: we want you to offer Linux as an option. How much clearer can the customer get? No, don't answer—that's a rhetorical question.
Then I read this article, which really disappointed me. If I'm not mistaken, this is the second time Dell has responded positively towards offering Linux laptops and desktops and then immediately rescinded their interest. Someone tugging on the OEM leash? I think so.
Despite the lame policies of most OEMs, I was excited to see in the report entitled "Who wrote [the] 2.6.20 [kernel]?" that a large number of prominent companies are paying employees to help develop the kernel.
Triston's post about Dell includes a comment deleted by Dell from the feedback site—for the sake of keeping it alive, I'll repost it here.
Yeowch! I think this ability to ignore supply and demand and make money may stem directly from Microsoft's "water monopoly" (as Roberg G. Brown of Beowulf fame puts it). But I'm not entirely worried about that—my computer doesn't need the water they're trying to restrict, and I'm happy to live on a little island filled with open source wells.
I just wish it didn't make the buckets more expensive.