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Didn't HP & Microsoft Used to Be Friends?

Didn't HP & Microsoft Used to Be Friends?

Hewlett-Packard, which already sells the Mandrake desktop, is diversifying its desktop Linux interests. It's going to resell the Turbolinux distribution on its Compaq business desktop PCs in 12 Asian countries.

The territory includes China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Windows is regarded as way too expensive in a lot of these markets, but Microsoft is now supplying $40 stripped-down versions of Windows and Office to government programs in Thailand and Malaysian aimed at bridging the Digital Divide.

Microsoft, in an obvious move against open source, said this week that it is now prepared to help governments create local language versions of XP and Office under a new Local Language Program.

Anyway, Turbolinux president and COO Koichi Yano claims, "The adoption of Linux on the desktop across Asia is booming." Japanese press reports are talking about HP selling a million Turbo units the first year. Deliveries start in June.

The Turbolinux OEM software bundle is built around Turbolinux 10 Desktop (10D), one of the first distributions to ship with the new Linux 2.6 kernel.

Turbo 10D includes 1.1 and applications for technologies such as 802.11b, FireWire, CD-ROM burning, Bluetooth and digital camera image loading software. Customers can easily update the software with the latest Linux kernel, packages and security patches - usually without a system reboot - by using a graphical update tool.

Turbolinux, now based in Japan, will provide technical support to HP's engineers. The pair has pre-certified all hardware to be shipped under the OEM agreement for Linux compatibility and smooth operation. Customers can also download all GPL source code shipped with the HP Compaq business PCs from the Turbo web site. Last week HP, which is evidently aiming for the top spot in case the Linux desktop market proves viable, introduced some Linux desktops meant for the SMB market and opened a Linux Lab in China.

The Wall Street Journal says Toshiba is thinking of selling Linux on its PCs too.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
David Mohring 03/20/04 06:48:32 AM EST

A plea for relief from Microsoft's escalating anti-competitive tactics.

An open letter to antitrust, competition, consumer and trade practice monitoring agency officials worldwide.
For years the Microsoft corporation has earned around 70% to 80% net profit from sales of its operating systems and application software. Only in areas like Thailand where Linux on the desktop has just begun to gain a foothold has Microsoft stated that it will release versions of its operating system platform and application software at a lower price to Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs) and retail consumers than is available in the rest of the modern world. Consumers benefit where real competition exists.

PSR 03/19/04 09:26:16 PM EST

It's so good to see M$ struggling to death in this sticky situation over it's own fetid mud.

MarkW 03/19/04 08:47:30 PM EST

HP has finally wised up. They will double the value of their stock before the end of this year. If Toshiba is waffling about adding Linux to the line up, all I say to them is; "if you snooze, you loose"!