HP mulls Linux-based PCs

Following lobbying from users on its IdeaStorm website, Dell announced last month that it would start certifying its systems for Linux. Now, CRN reports that HP is considering the introduction of systems pre-loaded with the open-source operating system. According to Doug Small, HP’s worldwide director of open source and Linux marketing, HP is “in a massive [custom] deal right now for … multi-thousands of units of a desktop opportunity for Linux.” Although he declined to give CRN details about the Linux deals, Small said those deals are indicators of critical mass, and that HP is “really looking at it very hard.”

HP has tried to sell Linux PCs in the past, but according to Small, the company “didn’t see the results for it.” Currently, some of HP’s notebooks are certified to work with both Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and Red Hat Linux. The company also offers systems pre-loaded with Linux for large enterprise deals, and the like.

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    • radioactive21
    • 13 years ago

    I think Linux companies like Red Hat do not want this to happen. Here’s why…

    When you have a windows operating system problem you don’t call Microsoft you call HP, or Dell, where ever you bought your computer from.

    If people have Linux problems they are not going to call Red Hat they are going to call the company that they bought their computer from.

    What is the point? Well eventually these companies will support Linux OS directly. Where does this leave Red Hat which depends on service contracts as a major source of revenue? Not in a very good place. Couple with the fact that the Linux OS is free it isn’t a very good situation for Red Hat in the long run.

    Remember Oracle has already said they are going to offer Linux support directly, so that their customers do not have to go to Red Hat.

    At first Red Hat will be involved but eventually with experience and enough staff trained Dell and HP are going to ask themselves if they really need Red Hat to be involved at all, besides providing the free OS.

    What’s even more is that lets say Red Hat is very unhappy and through some legal actions companies like HP and Dell cant use their OS. That gives HP and Dell the idea of developing their own Linux distribution. Which would really hurt Red Hat.

    Again this is all speculation, but its just something that I thought MIGHT be a possibility.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 13 years ago

      I really can’t see them getting into the apps business when their ‘tech’ staff can scarcely troubleshoot a dead power supply. It may spark more business for RedHat and Novell as large corporations/agencies start approaching them for ‘maintenance contracts’ once the top tier hardware guys begin vetting their systems for Linux. Don’t forget that this is where Redmond makes its dough…not in what they charge Dell and HP to install their OS but in lucrative maintenance licensing deals with big companies. This would really be where Microsoft would have problems with tier 1 suppliers switching to Linux.

      • SGT Lindy
      • 13 years ago

      Sorry…but with Windows, medium or larger businesses will NOT call Dell or HP for their Windows problems….they will have a support contract of some type with Microsoft.

      Home users do call HP or Dell for Windows problems most of the time and some small businesses will call HP or Dell… some times.

      The same thing would happen with Red Hat.

    • eitje
    • 13 years ago

    Dell’s been selling Linux PCs for years. I used to see systems that shipped with RH8. I really don’t think this whole “give me linux!” thing is all that new.

    but it makes for good marketing, and good discussions.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 13 years ago

    Why hasn’t HP done this already? They make money a lot of money with service and support — linux is another OS for them to make money on.

    Their internal team is heavily debian based, they would need to start working with other distro’s in order to really sell these systems.

      • d2brothe
      • 13 years ago

      I imagine Linux would cost a lot to support, and there is little demand for it, I don’t see how it would make a *lot* of money. And they don’t make money on Linux, they make money on systems sold.

        • atryus28
        • 13 years ago

        If you read his comment in full you would see the idea is making money off of services for linux. So yes they would make money by supporting linux for a fee. Really most software companies keep afloat because of maintenance agreements. Support and Service is how companies should be making money.

          • d2brothe
          • 13 years ago

          True, I did misread that, however, my point still stands, I suspect Linux would cost more than windows to support, thus support contracts for Linux are likely to be less lucrative. As said, HP already tried Linux, and will also Linux “special orders”…which are likely the most lucrative in terms of contracts…

          Basically, it all comes down to demand is likely a factor here…to train people to support linux is expensive, if you don’t have the demand to support such an undertaking, it isn’t worth it. I still think people over estimate the readiness or usefulness of linux on a desktop…

      • Shark
      • 13 years ago

      did…did you just answer your own question??

        • StashTheVampede
        • 13 years ago

        The question was mainly: what *is* their holdup. Is it the # of knowledgeable people, the distribution(s) they support or some other factor? Maybe they didn’t originally believe there is money to be made in supporting linux.

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago


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