"One of the core problems for open source has always been that
as a radical force outside the mainstream it is hard for its
supporters to influence conventional players there. In part, this
was what made Dell's Ideastorm so important: it gave a voice to
those hitherto unable to communicate usefully with the company. The
effects have been dramatic, with Dell now promising to sell systems
with pre-installed GNU/Linux. The question then must be, how can we
build on that success to achieve maximum impact?
"This matters--assuming Dell's announcement turns out to be a
serious move to embrace open source. If Dell makes only a token
gesture to meet the pent-up demand for such solutions, clearly the
free software community needs to make its displeasure felt.
Fortunately, in the age of blogs, it is easier to whip up storms of
bad publicity for companies that use and abuse its customers in
this way--tempests that can easily spill over into the mainstream
media with all that this implies for sales and share prices..."
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