Consumer laptop debut for Linux

New laptop range raises OS' profile

A British company today launched a new range of Linux-optimised laptops, increasing the viability of the open-source operating system for both consumers and the mobile enterprise.

Cheshire-based retail firm Digital Networks, which specialises in producing Linux configured computers, will make Quadra 133 and Quadra 141 notebooks available for delivery from tomorrow. This development illustrates how seriously manufacturers are starting to take Linux as a personal computing platform as well as a resource for administrators and development professionals.

Senior analyst with GartnerGroup, Andy Butler, believes that the driving force behind this progress is the stability of Linux. "Linux is inherently more reliable," he said. "If people want a more stable computer, any Unix system such as SCO Unix or Free BSD would also be a good alternative."

Butler however does not believe this implies a revolution in computer use just yet. He added: "I don't think most people are anywhere near throwing away Windows. The growth potential in this market is difficult to gauge. No-one has made a commitment that they couldn't walk away from tomorrow."

This is not the first time that a company has tried to bring a Unix environment to a laptop. Tadpole has been producing notebook computers configured for Sun Solaris and HP/UX since 1997.

A Tadpole spokesperson said the new Quadra computers will be far more suited to personal computer users than Unix professionals. He said: "Linux is developing and at some stage Tadpole will probably look at it. For Unix professionals, however, it can't compete with Solaris or HP in terms of applications."

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