The HP Compaq nx5000 is the first laptop PC from a major manufacturer to come preloaded with a Linux distribution. In this case, HP have chosen SuSE Linux as an easy to use desktop operating system alternative to Windows. The laptop is priced at about US$1,140 (€950) – which in turn makes it roughly US$60 (€50) cheaper than the same model with Windows XP installed.
The nx5000 is fully featured and includes a CD burner, DVD player and wireless networking. OpenOffice is included as a replacement for Microsoft’s Office suite.
A sixty dollar saving is hardly likely to tempt a Windows user to try out a new, unproven OS, but having Linux preloaded and preconfigured will please a lot of established users who want a Linux laptop without having to buy a Windows license and do all of the configuration themselves. Laptops are notoriously difficult to run Linux distributions on because of the amount of proprietary hardware and tricky drivers involved. This is obviously not a problem for HP as they’re the hardware maker!
Power management, often an issue with Linux, is fully enabled – and the laptop comes with HP support. Other specifications include a Celeron or Pentium processor, 30 to 60 gb of disk space and a 15” screen.
Linux distributions are now second place behind Windows, with Macintosh a close third for the title of most popular desktop operating system – with more and more manufacturers providing Linux alternatives, the open source OS will increase in popularity over the next few years.