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Gaël Duval and Mike Angelo Discuss The HP-Mandrake Computer

HP to Ship Desktop PCs with Mandrake 9.1 Linux Pre-Installed

More Good News for Mandrake Linux and Fans

Mike Angelo -- 5 July 2003 (C) -- Page 1

Article Index

Mandrake Linux 9.1 is available on HP desktop PCs. That is the subject line of an e-mail from MandrakeSoft Co-Founder Gaël Duval that rolled into MozillaQuest Magazine on 2 July. The HP-Mandrake systems start at $349 for a 2.0-GHz system (monitor not included).

HP announced on 2 July 2003 that it is pre-installing Mandrake Linux 9.1 on some of its desktop computers. That is good news for Mandrake, for the Linux community, and for computer users in general.

Mandrake Linux 9.1 is an easy-to-install and easy-to-use GNU/Linux operating system distribution. We have not completed our Mandrake Linux 9.1 testing yet. However so far, it seems to be even better than Mandrake Linux 9.0, which we gave very high marks.

Pre-Installing Linux on Systems Is Important

An important strategy in growing the GNU/Linux operating system (OS) deployment is making Linux easy to use for average and new computer users -- by providing access to computer systems that come with Linux pre-installed. For the most part, the Microsoft Windows operating systems are not any easier or any more difficult to install than are the assortment of top-notch, Linux operating system, distributions -- such as Mandrake Linux, for example.

When Linux and Microsoft (MS) Windows operating systems are pre-installed by hardware vendors on new computers, Linux and Windows are in many ways on an even footing. Moreover, the GNU/Linux OS with the KDE desktop suite likely is superior to both the MS-DOS-kernel-based and MS-NT-kernel-based MS Windows desktop environments.

The HP Linux Desktop Computer

However, if you are a Linux fan, do not get overly excited by this HP announcement. While stating that Mandrake 9.1 is an operating system (OS) choice for the subject HP Compaq Business Desktop d220 Microtower, HP also offers Microsoft Windows XP. Additionally it labels Microsoft as the industry leader. Our read of this announcement paragraph makes it sound as though HP might be saying that Mandrake Linux and Linux in general are second-rate compared to MS Windows.

HP Compaq desktops are available with the latest operating systems from the industry leader, Microsoft, as well as a robust Linux offering from Mandrake. The HP Compaq d220 offers a choice of Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Home or Mandrake's Linux v9.1, providing customers with the versatility needed for today's mixed-use environments. (Emphasis added. 2 July 2003 HP d220 announcement. Link in Resources section at end of article.)

Perhaps this in part could be one of those uses of semantics things. There is no question that MS Windows has the vastly bigger market share. However, the Mandrake Linux PowerPack is a better desktop operating solution than is MS Windows. The HP announcement does not distinguish if it means Windows is the leader in market share or leader in OS quality. In any event, this HP announcement that it is offering Mandrake Linux 9.1 as a pre-installed operating system is good news for Mandrake and the Linux community.

Is HP Serious About Linux?

We checked HP's d220 Web page. (Link in Resources section at end of article.) It lists six recommended models. Linux is not listed as an OS on any of the recommended models on that page. What is listed, as the OS for the six recommended models, is Microsoft Windows XP. Please see Figure 1. Hopefully HP will correct that -- before you read this.

Moreover, HP's desktop computer Web pages note at the bottom states:

Except where noted, all prices are estimated U.S. HP prices. Actual prices from other locations or websites may vary.

Compaq PCs use genuine Microsoft® Windows®

(http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF02a/12454-64287-89301.html -- That URL is where you end up when you enter the http://www.hp.com/products/desktops from the HP d220 announcement.) Please see Figure 2.

Figure 1 (above). HP's d220 Web page. (Link in Resources section at end of article.) It lists six recommended models. Linux is not listed as an OS on any of the recommended models on that page. Rather Microsoft Windows XP is listed.
Figure 2 (above). HP's desktop computer Web pages note at the bottom states that HP/Compaq computers use MS Windows. There is no mention of (Mandrake) Linux.

HP certainly seems to be very MS Windows-centric. The omission of (Mandrake) Linux as an operating system for the HP d220 on the HP Web site and HP's announcement paragraph uncertainties discussed above raises the question, is HP serious about Linux or is it just playing games?

We asked Mandrake's Gaël Duval about that in an e-mail discussion that started on 2 June and continued into 3 June.

MozillaQuest Magazine: In the HP URL that you have in your announcement, HP does not seem to be promoting the Linux boxes. That URL seems to be very MS Windows-centric . . . Is HP serious about Linux or is it just playing games?

Gaël Duval: Did you look at: [link] ?

We tried the Web page that Gaël Duval suggests. Sure enough, there HP lists Mandrake 9.1 as one of the OS choices: operating systems included -- Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional; Microsoft® Windows® XP Home or Mandrake Linux 9.1. Please see Figure 3.

Figure 3 . On this HP Web page, HP lists Mandrake 9.1 as one of the OS choices.

Gaël Duval: They are serious, but once again, the goal of this operation is purely to answer a need in corporations. It's also easy to understand that it is not that easy for PC makers to promote Linux yet, since they often benefit from good rebates on other operating systems. It wouldn't make sense for HP to lose these rebates just because they start selling 1% or less of their machines with Linux pre-installed.

HP Linux Computers - A Step in the Right Direction

Nevertheless, the HP d220 announcement is a step in a good direction for Mandrake, the Linux community, and computer users alike. One of the best ways to get average computer users and computer newbies to migrate to Linux is to expose them to computer systems with Linux pre-installed on them. Of course it would help if HP would note in all its d220 descriptions that Mandrake 9.1 is one of the operating system choices for the d220.

We have not tried any HP desktops with Linux. However, we did use a Hewlett Packard OmniBook 6000 Notebook PC to test Mandrake 9.0, in our Mandrake 9.0 evaluations, Mandrake Linux 9.0, Desktop Magic You Can Use: A First Look. The HP OmniBook running Mandrake Linux also has been used as one of the test computers for several of our Linux networking articles such as, Linux for Windows Users: Linux Networking for Windows and Desktop People -- Mandrake 9.1 and LinNeighborhood.

The HP OmniBook 6000 and Mandrake Linux worked very well together. However, the HP OmniBook came with Windows 2000 as the pre-installed OS. We repartitioned the hard drive, using Partition Magic, to make the OmniBook 6000 a multi-boot box and added Mandrake 9.0 as one of the multi-boot options.

  • See Gaël Duval Discusses the HP-Mandrake Computer on Page 2 ----->

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