I’ve been working alongside Impi Linux with one of South Africa’s major hardware vendors, to get them to offer Ubuntu preloaded on a desktop PC.
This is not a retail situation, but rather for a corporate/government client where a specific hardware model has a long lifetime. In other words, PC models destined for the shopping mall are replaced on the vendor’s price list more frequently because nobody wants last year’s models – but in the corporate market, the customers want a standard model that they can roll out over six months or even a year, without changing the hardware spec.
This is a good scenario for the vendor to try out Ubuntu preloaded, because each model we “certify” has the possibility of a large number of sales in identical configuration.
Mark Shuttleworth wrote in Pre-installing Linux,
First, margins on PC’s are razor-thin.
This is probably the most significant factor in whether this hardware vendor will offer Ubuntu preloaded. A PC with Windows earns them a higher margin than a PC without, so they will need to sell more units to make up the same revenue. It has been pointed out to them that they will be selling more PCs anyway, since the customer(s) do not have to pay for Windows and can therefore spend more on the hardware – however this message has to be “sold” within the organisation for Ubuntu (or the derivative, Impi Linux), to gain acceptance for preloading.