Microsoft is quite confident of its leadership status on the Netbook front, boasting earlier this year of 96 percent attach rate for Windows and making other, more recent claims of return rates on Linux netbooks that are "like four or five times higher" than their Windows equivalents. Dell's Senior Product Marketing Manager Todd Finch is refuting that last claim, saying "we don't see a significant difference between the return rate for Windows versus the rate for Linux." He does, however, continue to say that many people who return Linux netbooks simply bought the cheapest option they could find, expecting Windows and shipping the things back after being greeted by something other than a familiar UI upon startup.
The panel at OpenSource World also tackled the topic of how to spur greater interest in Linux, and crushed the dreams of many attendees who believe in the Field of Dreams approach: get Linux machines into retailers and demand will come. The demand has to come first, says Finch, and given the general non-existence of open source marketing, that's going to take something of a Kevin Costner-scale miracle. (Source