Both HP and Dell have dabbled in this and several second tier outlets do it routinely, but this is apparently the first time a major maker has done it very publicly and for every customer, from the largest business or government to you and I. That is unless you cound HP's continued offering of Mandriva Linux in France, which I do not.
So, the Linux desktop finally makes it into public visibility as a viable option. Will it change things? I do not know, except that I may buy a Thinkpad, despite that tiny pointer thingie in the middle of the keyboard.