What a difference a year makes.

It was a scant year ago at the LinuxWorld conference in San Jose, Calif. that Dell Computer Corp. founder and CEO Michael Dell touted the Linux operating system, remarking that ” the only thing growing faster than Linux is Linux on Dell.”

So it was with little fanfare recently that the Austin, Tex.-based company dumped Linux as an online purchasing option for its desktop and laptop PC’s. Dell claims “low demand” has forced its hand.

Despite declining desktop and laptop sales, use of Linux on Dell’s workstations and servers remain strong, according to Dell.

Linux PC marketshare is low but there were some certification issues with the new high-speed hard drives, said Andre Valiquette, product manager for Dell Canada in Richmond Hill, Ont.

“It’s not really a new market direction as it is a matter of timing. There is absolutely no indication that Dell is moving in another direction in terms of providing the widest available selection,” said Valiquette.