Anyway, I bought one for my wife recently -- running Linux, of course.
Now, there's been a lot of misinformation about Linux on desktops/laptops and netbooks. It's too hard to use, it's not familiar -- it's not Windows -- people return them at a higher rate than Windows.
But, not according to Dell, it seems. There are many reasons that this is news. Dell is the quintessential user computing device vendor. They have a well recognized brand and off and on, have courted Linux on the desktop. Linux has a lower acquisition cost for a hardware vendor -- and on a $300 computing device, there isn't a lot of margin.
Barring all of that strategic schpew -- the fact is, my wife uses an Ubuntu laptop and seems to have taken to the netbook with a minimum of fuss. I use her viewpoint as an indicator of sorts. She doesn't hold much back in terms of criticism -- if it sucks I'm going to hear about it in short order. She's not a technology lightweight -- she uses facebook, email and web browsing as good or at a higher competency than all but my tightest technological contacts -- but she's not a programmer or IT type.
In short, if she can take to a Linux device without a lot of training on my part, I assume that the general public should have few to little issue.
And this describes her experience -- the Ubuntu laptop has been a terrific device, and she's used it for a couple of years now without issue. The netbook has a simplified interface, in comparison. It's an SD-based device (no hard drive) and so far so good, it has worked well.
I've always been skeptical of the claims that people can't use Linux as a network computing platform. My own experiences with my family (Mom and Dad use Linux these days as well) tell me that the market is fragmenting. I won't get into all of the technical reasons why Linux on the desktop is a good thing -- I could, and I've done so many times in the past -- all I'm going to say is that I'm happy to see that it's not hard to acquire a device running Linux these days.