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6/20/2006
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HP To Support Novell Desktop Linux

Hewlett-Packard says it will support Novell's just-released SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 on its desktop PCs, although the company says it's not yet prepared to preload the operating system for its build-to-order customers.

Hewlett-Packard has no plans to preload versions of the upcoming Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10 on PCs but will certify the operating system.

Plans call for HP to certify SLED 10 for select notebooks--including the nx6310, nx6320, nc6320, nc2400, nx6315 and nx6325 models--before the year's end, a spokeswoman for HP said in response to questions from CRN.

She said HP so far doesn't plan to offer Linux as a preload on business notebooks but added that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is actively assessing the market for Linux clients and sees much potential for SLED 10.

Novell is set to launch SLED 10 next month. The OS contains as many standard desktop features as Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Vista but takes up a fraction of the hard disk space and costs about $50 per seat, several hundred dollars less than current Microsoft operating systems. Novell also has said it plans to bundle the OpenOffice suite of productivity software with SLED 10.

HP rival Lenovo has said it plans to support SLED 10 on some PC configurations, yet it has stopped short of saying it would offer the Linux desktop OS as a standard installation on any models.

Lance Stevens, software product marketing manager for business PCs at HP, said he expects that HP would eventually preload SLED 10 on desktops on a custom-order basis.

"We have a thriving custom configuration business, where we will load any operating system the customer wants on our desktops," Stevens said. The service is "for-fee" and is done after the operating system involved is qualified to work with HP hardware, he said.

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