HP announced this week it is preloading Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop on its Compaq dc5850 Business Desktop PC.
The PC, which offers high-end graphics and dual monitor support, debuted in April. It has an AMD processor and an ATI Radeon 3100 card and will be available on Dec 15 for $519.
HP announced a similar deal to preload SLED on one of its NetBook system 2133 models also last April.
Grant Ho, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Enterprise Linux Desktops at Novell, said the time is right for open source desktops.
"The economy is the No. 1 factor and customers are trying to rationalize their IT spend and reduce the cost of their proprietary software spend and re-use hardware," Ho said. "They're looking for an open source solution at the right price point."
Novell has nailed similar OEM agreements with HP in the past. In April of 2004, for instance, HP launched its first Linux notebook running SLES.
The HP Compaq dc5850 is a business PC but the company is targeting the education market as well as SMB in this release. For example, HP is working with Novell to create a repository "of more than 40 applications, including math, art and word games, to improve student learning. In addition, applications for school administration and instruction will be available for teachers and administrators," HP's release stated.
Novell's Ho said SLED is differentiated from other desktop Linux distributions like Ubuntu because of the company's global support capabilities, interoperability pact with Microsoft and its high profile desktop Linux projects such as GNOME and Evolution. "We have several hundred professional services capabilities and [Canonical] is a much smaller company," he said.