CWmike writes "Dell was the first of the major computer manufacturers to support pre-installed Linux, but it's not just pre-installing Linux. The Austin, Tex. company is also adding functionality to Ubuntu Linux on its desktops and laptops, writes Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. It began by adding DVD-playback to its systems shipping with Ubuntu 7.10. With the recent release of Dell PCs with Ubuntu 8.04, Dell is now including 'Fluendo GStreamer codecs for mp3, wma (Windows Media Audio), and wmv (Windows Media Video) playback' in its latest Ubuntu-powered desktops and laptops. On Ubuntu systems with ATI or NIVDIA graphics, Dell also now supports HDMI output. Yesterday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said his company hopes to steal a page from Apple's playbook and change how it works with hardware makers in an attempt to duplicate its rival's success. Is OS customization the way forward for desktop Linux, and Windows?"