In regards to Dell’s explorations/websites/surveys regarding Linux on the desktop… I think it’s good they’re asking, but I don’t expect something soon. And if it happens, I don’t think that we’ll see any discount on computers because of them having Linux on the desktop. And I don’t expect any support from Dell (or anyone else) if they (or another major PC builder) puts Linux on the desktop.
For me, the cost item isn’t a big issue because you can already get a computer for $500-$600 that is plenty powerful to do anything you need (except for maybe gaming). And the lack of Dell (or whatever company) support isn’t a big deal to me because we all know how to get on IRC or go to a forum for our support. :) That’s where the best support comes from, anyway.
To me, the issues are hardware compatibility, having a free-as-in-freedom OS, and getting another option other than Microsoft, and I would actually be willing to pay a bit more for those things. Maybe $50 more for a $600 computer. After all, if I spend two hours trying to set up a wifi connection because the wifi hardware isn’t totally compatible, isn’t that worth at least $20? If I have to do some tricky work to get suspend / resume working, isn’t that worth another $20-$25? And being able to completely wipe my drive and take off Novell’s Suse Linux because I want to put on Xubuntu, but still have everything work … Isn’t that worth a few more bucks?
If it takes a few more dollars to make Linux on the desktop financially viable for the hardware vendors, then I’d be willing to pay it.