Hot off the Press - Product News
August 5th, 2004

HP/Compaq launches a Linux OS Based Laptop

Hewlett-Packard / Compaq announced plans for what it says is the world's first notebook computer from a major manufacturer using the open-source Linux (news - web sites) operating system.

HP made the announcement Tuesday at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco.

The new HP Compaq nx5000 will feature Novell Inc.'s SuSE Linux and support a CD burner, a DVD and media player, wireless networking and the OpenOffice software suite which competes with Microsoft's Office 2004. The price starts at an estimated $1,140 — about $60 less than the basic model outfitted with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP (news - web sites) Professional operating system.

In the nx5000, HP has brought together the drivers required for the notebook to manage power, control printers and other devices, said Martin Fink, HP's vice president for Linux.

"All of those parts of this notebook have been turned on, work completely and are fully supported," he said Tuesday.

The move opens a door to the rival of the dominant Microsoft Windows operating system, used on the overwhelming majority of personal computers.

"Linux is a key part of the HP Adaptive Enterprise strategy as it is central to HP's unique approach to IT standardization," said Fink.

The HP notebook is available in North America through HP's online store and to international customers on request. Fink said the launch is a test "so that we can see the take up we get for this particular product."




Unlike Windows and other proprietary software, the programs that make up Linux are developed by a community of paid and unpaid developers. No single company controls the code, and anyone can improve upon it as long as changes are also shared with others.

Linux has a reputation for performance, reliability and low cost, though Microsoft and others have questioned whether it's in fact faster, cheaper and more secure in the long run than proprietary operating systems.

Open-source software puts the computer codes open for all software experts to analyze and make changes, unlike proprietary software such as those from Microsoft.

The open-source movement got a separate boost Tuesday when IBM Corp. announced that it would contribute $85 million worth of programming code used in a database program. By releasing the code to the Apache Software Foundation, IBM hopes to kick-start the development of open-source applications that work with the database, known as Cloudscape.

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