Distro Compatible Hardware
Strange as it seems the hardest area to get a Linux distribution to work from CD/DVD on given hardware, is not so much the never ending march for new Databus adapters, as it is to master Linux on Laptops. The hardware market for laptops or notebooks seem to change faster than for their Desktop PC equivalents, it is also true that the newer the Laptop/Notebook design the greater the degree of difficulty needed to accomplish a functional working system. Typically a Laptop or Notebook will have a lifespan perhaps not more than three years, due to the environment within which it serves and that which it shares with its user. Choose any distribution you like chances are a flawless and quick installation will evade you, unfortunately this is an area not many laptop hardware manufacturers concern themselves with, a sale is more important than the Operating System it is installed with. Laptops are designed to function as a single unit therefore any hardware changes that may be required to advance the technology can be accomplished without much consultation to the software developers or that of the consumer. Such advances also tend to be tied with patents in fact very few electronic devices and circuitry come to the market without patents, if the manufacturers get their way so to would the software needed to drive them.
Dell and some other manufacturers, having come to an agreement with Ubuntu creator Mark Shuttleworth to package his distribution with their own equipment, a partnership so far currently enjoyed only by Micro$oft to date. One would expect the misgivings that have blighted Linux to date would begin to be resolved along with a choice of operating systems with the purchase of new hardware, this would have made the installation of Linux by the end user redundant or at the very least unnecessary, sadly this opportunity has been missed practically by all. Yes it is possible to purchase Linux pre-installed but not as openly as the nature of the open source software itself, it certainly not seen to be available via the website offers and if it was, their is no suitable market reduction in sight.
It seems rather strange on the one hand to shake on a deal to package software with the sale of hardware and then completely disregard such an agreement, well to be fair Dell and the others are on uncharted territory they could be testing the water and perhaps given the disillusionment currently, they could be covering there backs putting systems in place in readiness for throwback of currently available Vista software.