Linux may be gaining ground in its fight to make a visible dent in Microsoft's plan for complete Windows world domination. In the latest indication that Linux may be moving into more mainstream systems, beyond servers that is, Hewlett-Packard has confirmed plans to launch a business notebook computer ready with the open-source software, pre-installed.
HP will be the first major system builder to offer Linux on its PCs. The HP Compaq nx5000 will feature Novell Inc.'s SuSE Linux and will also offer a CD burner, a DVD and media player, wireless connectivity and the OpenOffice software suite. HPs Linux offering will retail at about USD 1,140, USD 60 less than similar notebook's outfitted with Microsoft's Windows XP Professional OS.
Although the biggest company to offer such a system, HP is definitely not the first. Tadpole Computer Inc. offers notebooks running Java Desktop System (JDS), a version of Linux developed by Sun Microsystems Inc.
Linux is considered by many to be the only force which could, potentially rival MS Windows but until now has been popular only on servers and workstations. Linux has not made the jump to desktop and notebook PCs since it has been difficult for users to access popular programs and drivers that control hardware.
Hewlett-Packard has made sure that the nx5000, has the necessary drivers for power management, to control printers and all other devices. Linux has the reputation of being a faster, more reliable, more secure and of course cheaper than Microsoft's Windows, alhough rivals have questioned whether the open-source OS will perform that well in the long run. According to Linux's rivals, more widespread use of the OS would result in similar or worse problems than those facing their products.
HPs Linux notebook is available in North America through HPs online store and to international customers on request. The company consider the launch to be a test so that we can see the take up we get for this particular product.