Dell has told its users that they'll have to wait for a bit further before they can lay their hands on a Linux-equipped Dell machine.

Despite obvious support for the idea last week from thousands of visitors on its customer suggestion website IdeaStorm, the company said it's not yet building pre-loaded machines, despite the company saying last week that would be certifying its PCs to work with Novell SuSE Linux.

But the company said that was not an announcement that the computers would be loaded and sold with the operating system in the near future.

"Our point of view is that we are listening to our Linux customers," said Jeremy Bolen, a Dell spokesman. He noted that the company already offers factory-installed Linux on some specific Dell Precision workstations for high-end corporate users, but is not currently installing the OS on its other laptop or desktop machines. "However, I won't rule out the option of expanding the pre-installation program at a future date," Bolen said.

Dell is continuing to talk with the makers of other Linux distributions about certifying the hardware for those Linux distributions, he said. "When you talk about an operating system, if Dell is going to install it and test it, it takes a lot of work" before getting it ready for the marketplace, including having training and support in place.

Dell spokeswoman Caroline Dietz said that the company's first post last Friday about certifying machines for Novell SUSE Linux on the IdeaStorm site is only the beginning of such posts by the vendor. "This is an ongoing process," Dietz said. "We're constantly monitoring this and constantly updating this. This first post doesn't mean that this is all we're doing."