Companies like SpikeSource and SourceLabs are combining popular Open Source programs and modules into simple one-step installable software stacks. The stacks are tested and certified and configured so that the individual software components work in a compatible way. Computer manufacturers may be next. Most PCs sold today already come with preinstalled software bundled and ready to run on a Windows operating system. Systems with preinstalled Linux and Open Source applications may be next.That’s what customers are telling Dell on their DellIdeaStorm site. Users want to have options of pre-installed Linux flavors like Ubuntu, Fedora and OpenSuSe. They want to have an option for software like Open Office preinstalled too.Over 111,000 customers told Dell that they’d prefer to buy a machine configured with Linux rather than to pay for one with Windows preinstalled. 76,000 would like to see OpenOffice preinstalled.Dell already has been experimenting with offering an option for Red Hat Linux on their server-class machines and for a very select set of desktops. There’s nothing to stop Manufacturers from offering Linux. Antitrust action has forced Microsoft to drop very restrictive contracts with manufacturers that had kept them captive to Windows OS.Computer manufacturers have stayed away from Linux and Open Source because they couldn’t quantify the demand. The result of Dell’s survey of interested customers shows that the demand for Linux machines may be out there. The sizable number of responses could well motivate Dell into going after the growing Linux and Open Source market.And if Dell goes in that direction with some success, there are sure to be other manufacturers that will follow suit.