I hope that this isn't another red herring from the company and that it is *seriously* considering pre-installing Linux on it's products. Ignoring what your customers want the most, is certainly a very dumb idea. So, hopefully, Dell will take the results of this survey, publish them and then take some action in providing a linux pre-install. They could always offer it as an OS upgrade.
If they do provide pre-installed Linux boxes, it will be a big win for the Linux community. Hopefully, it will signal a shift, and show other PC vendors, that there *is* a market demand for Linux and you can make money off Linux. It is possible to make money off Open Source. RedHat and IBM have shown the way. It's now up to the rest of the industry to follow suit.
Some people have raised the issue that Dell would have to supply the source code with each pre-install. This isn't required anywhere in the GPL. They just need to make the source code available on request. And they are free to charge a small fee to send the source code to whomever requests it. Another issue raised was for software support. Dell just needs to do what they do best, and refer software support to the actual vendors of the software. For Linux, it would be the distros themselves such as RedHat or Novell.
So, all in all, there isn't a real problem with providing a OS option for their boxes. Afterall, Dell is in the business of selling boxes, not OSes. If an OS can help them move more boxes, it would be stupid to not sell it. For people who think that there isn't a demand for Linux, you're just behind times. Everyone is switching, the only question is when you will *have* to switch. Looks like another one of my predictions is coming true. I seem to be more prophetic by the day! Haha!