informa
/
Commentary

HP Delivers With Desktop Linux, Open-Source Security Solutions

HP today delivered a one-two punch with a couple of major open-source announcements -- one involving desktop Linux, the other concerning an intriguing new Firefox-based desktop security solution.
HP today delivered a one-two punch with a couple of major open-source announcements -- one involving desktop Linux, the other concerning an intriguing new Firefox-based desktop security solution.First, there is the news that HP is the latest hardware OEM to jump on the desktop Linux bandwagon. According to a company news release, it will offer Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop as a pre-installed option on its Compaq dc5850 desktop systems. The joint HP-Novell SUSE solution will include a software suite that includes OpenOffice.org, multimedia tools, an email client, collaboration and IM solutions designed for business users.

The news is welcome, but not terribly surprising: After years of hype, desktop Linux has finally gained significant -- and sustainable -- traction in the business desktop market. And as recent earnings reports from Red Hat and Novell demonstrate, many IT companies offering Linux-related solutions appear to be doing quite well during the current economic downturn.

Another HP announcement, however, is even more exciting, given its potential impact on business customers. The company is expanding its use of a hybrid security solution that combines the Mozilla Firefox Web browser with software virtualization technology developed in conjunction with Symantec. Here is how HP describes its virtual security tool: "The first-of-its-kind Mozilla Firefox for HP Virtual Solution was developed with Symantec and Mozilla for HP customers. The solution uses the standard release of Mozilla Firefox with a Symantec Software Virtualization Solution layer that allows customers to use the Internet productively while keeping business PCs stable and easier to support.

As customers surf the web, changes made to the PC are contained in a virtual layer, separate from the operating system, and do not permanently alter the machine. Customers can therefore reset the browser as needed, instantly returning the PC to its last-known good state." During its break-in period, HP offered its Firefox for HP Virtual Solution on just one of its Compaq business desktop models. Now, it plans to extend the technology to another half-dozen models, including the dc5850 that will offer a pre-installed SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop option.

You can get more information on the technology, including some screen shots showing how it integrates with Firefox, at the Symantec Web site.