Hewlett-Packard (HP) will include Linux pre-installed on its laptops for the first time, the firm revealed at LinuxWorld in San Francisco last week.
The vendor, which unveiled a raft of other desktop products, servers and services based around the Linux operating system (OS), called the release "a coming of age" for Linux on the desktop.
The HP Compaq nx5000 business notebook has Novell's SuSE Linux OS and OpenOffice software pre-installed.
Gary Barnett, research director at analyst Ovum, said demand for such a product is most likely to come from organisations with legacy Unix-based IT environments. "We think Linux is displacing Unix-based systems at a rate that is two or three times faster than Windows," he said.
Jeffrey Wade, worldwide marketing communications manager at HP, said the launch of the nx5000 notebook is in response to growing customer demand for commoditised Linux products.
"We've had four-and-a-half years' experience of deploying Linux on the servers. Now we are ready for the desktop," he said.
However, Paul Mitchell, sales manager at VAR Trans European Technology, was not so sure. "We'll wait before we throw our full weight behind this," he said.
HP has also unveiled the t5515, its first thin-client workstation with Red Hat or Novell. Linux support also has been introduced for HP's Integrity Superdome and mid-range Integrity rx7620-16 and rx8620-32 servers.
"You would expect a big push in Linux from HP on its servers. (The nx5000) is an important step towards a viable Windows alternative on the desktop," Barnett added.
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