HP gives desktop Linux a shot
[This article was contributed by Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier]
Hewlett-Packard has quietly released a desktop PC featuring Mandrake
Linux for small and medium-sized businesses. Last Wednesday the company
issued a press
release for the Compaq Business Desktop d220, which is available with Windows XP or Linux Mandrake 9.1. MandrakeSoft has also issued a release, which indicates that Mandrake will be on a range of HP's Compaq-branded desktop PCs.
It's encouraging to see one of the major players in desktop PCs getting
behind Linux on the desktop. However, it'd be nicer if they were a
little more aggressive about the play. HP's release for the d220
desktops doesn't mention that the new line is available with Linux until
the sixth paragraph, when one would think that the release of a business
desktop machine featuring Linux would be more noteworthy. However, the
fact that HP is offering Linux on a desktop machine to SMBs at
all is a significant step forward.
A d220 system with an Intel Celeron processor can be had for a mere $327
through HP's site right now, and it's worth noting that a machine with
the same specs, but with Windows XP Home Edition, will set SMBs back an
additional $50 per machine -- presumably due to the additional cost of
adding the Windows license.
It's not exactly world domination, HP is only taking a tentative step in
offering Linux to SMB customers on a small slice of its Compaq line.
HP's home users, or those looking for a HP or Compaq laptop with Linux
pre-loaded, are still out in the cold. (Though there's nothing to stop
home users from ordering from HP's small and medium business online
store...) But, this small step is necessary to help Linux gain a
foothold in the desktop market.
Naysayers and analysts who have continually dismissed Linux as a desktop
operating system may have to rethink their position, as it seems
unlikely that HP would offer a desktop machine with Linux unless there
is sufficient demand for Linux by its business customers, and that HP
has decided that Linux is suitable for prime-time on the desktop. If HP
is successful with Linux as a desktop offering for SMBs, we can expect
to see Dell and others to follow suit very shortly.
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