HP unveils Linux-based laptop

HP unveils Linux-based laptop

Summary: HP is set to launch an Intel-based notebook preloaded with SuSE Linux

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HP will unveil a new laptop that comes preloaded with SuSE Linux at the LinuxWorld Conference San Francisco on Tuesday, ZDNet UK has learned.

Details of the notebook leaked early when the company mistakenly published details of the notebook on its Web site.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000, which starts at $1199 (£650) in the US, comes with either an Intel Pentium M or Celeron processor, between 256MB and 2GB of DDR SDRAM and a 15-inch display that can handle a screen resolution of up to 1600 x 1200 at 100Hz.

The notebook comes pre-loaded with either SuSE or Mandrake Linux 9.1, with the OpenOffice.org productivity suite. Additionally, the HP offers a choice of either 802.11b or an 802.11a/b/g wireless networking combo and optional support for Bluetooth.

The nx5000 lasts up to four hours on a standard six-cell Lithium-ion battery or up to nine hours with the optional MultiBay battery. HP is the first major laptop vendor to launch a non-Windows notebook and other vendors are expected to follow in the near future.

James Governor, principal analyst at RedMonk, welcomed the development. He said that because Linux comes preinstalled, users don't have to go through the hassle of installing a new operating system.

"In this industry, [given] the amount of money companies spend on marketing, sometimes vendors seem to have a surprisingly thin idea of what people want to buy. Preinstalled Linux on laptops and PCs is an idea whose time has come," said Governor.

Governor said he is convinced it is only a matter of time before the other vendors also release Linux-based systems. "HP is shipping this -- they have taken the hassle out of installing a new OS. If HP is doing it, it is going to be pretty hard for all the other vendors not to follow."

At the Linux User and Development Conference in London in April, HP Samba team member Jeremy Allison agreed with attendees that buying a laptop without Windows was difficult and promised that HP would be making progress in that area. Allison admitted that the first thing he had done with his work laptop was to reformat it and remove Windows.

"I was annoyed that I couldn't get a refund. It's a scandal that you can't do that," said Allison. However, HP has confirmed that the Linux-based NX5000 will be sold only in the US at first.

ZDNet UK's Graeme Wearden contributed to this report

Topics: Apps, Software Development

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • It's a good start, but it's a long way from actually being good.

    Order the notebook from HP with Suse, and the Agere tri-mode wireless won't work, the Bluetooth won't work, suspend/hibernate won't work, etc, etc, etc -- in spite of the fact that you can give HP your money for these things right on their website.

    I called HP, and the person actually told me, "You lLinux people always seem to be able to write your own drivers, so maybe you can get it to work that way."

    Such strides from HP. Underwhelmed.
    anonymous