HP yesterday became the first major PC maker to offer a Linux-based notebook computer, though it remains a "test" launch to be used to gauge demand for products installed with the open source OS and key functionality, such as wireless networking, is disabled.
The Compaq nx5000 comes with Novell's SuSE Linux 9.1 pre-installed, along with OpenOffice. However, the notebook family is also offered with Windows XP Pro, Home and Windows 2000.
HP offers the notebook with a range of CPUs, from a 1.2GHz Celeron up to a 1.8GHz Pentium M. The computer supports up to 2GB of 266MHz DDR SDRAM, and is offered with 30-80GB of hard drive storage capacity. Its optical drive bay can take removable DVD+RW, DVD/CD-RW and DVD units. However, the DVD+RW drive will not run under Linux.
And neither will the machine's integrated Intel ProWireless 802.11b/g adaptor. Clearly, HP doesn't reckon Intel's pre-production Linux drivers ready for installation on a business-oriented machine.
The nx5000 sports a 15in, 1024 x 768 display with a 15in, 1400 x 1050 widescreen version available as an option.
The nx5000's Linux option will only be sold through HP's web site and to North American buyers - though international customers are able to request it. Prices start at $1140.
HP's VP of Linux, Martin Fink, said the launch is a test "so that we can see the take up we get for this particular product", according to an AP report. ®
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