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MSI to sell Suse Moblin Linux netbook

The Linux version of MSI's Wind U135 will be available as an alternative to the netbook's usual Windows 7 incarnation
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

MSI is to release a version of its Wind U135 netbook that comes preloaded with Suse Moblin Linux.

The U135 was announced in December as a Windows 7 machine. The alternative Linux version will be the first fully supported netbook running Moblin-based technology to be sold to consumers and enterprises, MSI said its its announcement on Thursday.

The Linux version of the U135 will go on sale in February, the company said, but did not give specific UK availability or pricing details.

Moblin is a flavour of Linux that is sponsored by Intel and tailored to the chipmaker's low-powered Atom processors. The big-buttoned, web-centric distro has a very different user interface from that used in Windows or most other Linux distros, as it is specifically designed for small-screened computers such as netbooks and mobile internet devices (MIDs).

Moblin version 2.1, the most recent release, is available as either a standalone distribution or a basis for netbook-optimised versions of other Linux distributions, such as Novell's Suse Linux and Canonical's Ubuntu.

"MSI netbooks, in combination with Suse Moblin, provide an innovative interface and robust computing capabilities as well as the cost-efficiency that our customers are looking for in these new devices," MSI marketing chief Sam Chern said in the company's statement.

Ram Peddibhotla, Intel's open-source business director, said in the same statement that the chipmaker is "pleased to see companies like MSI and Novell embracing the technology, contributing to its development and bringing it fully supported to customers".

Suse Moblin comes with a variety of preloaded applications, including Adobe's AIR, Flash and Acrobat Reader, as well as Novell's Mono and Moonlight. The Novell edition of OpenOffice.org is also included, as is integration into social media applications such as Facebook, Last FM and Flickr.

The U135 runs on Intel's new 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor. It has a 10-inch screen with a resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels, a chiclet keyboard, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and a 1.3-megapixel webcam.

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