Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Although Linux is growing meekly when it comes to end-user usage and interaction, the overall experience of using a Linux distribution has turned out to be a positive one for numerous beginners. In recent years, Linux has made advancements in leaps and bounds, which has led to its adoption by many corporate users as well as regular desktop users. Though it's still not in a perfect state, the rapid pace of development in numerous areas of Linux promises a bright future, nonetheless.
While Linux is continuing to slide along on its own, I believe it would get a huge boost if its gets backing of a major PC builder, possibly Dell, HP or the like. The good news for all Linux advocates is HP's recent announcement to support Ubuntu Linux on selected models of its notebook computers. According to a news report by Heise Online, HP will officially support models nx6110, nc6120, nc6220, nc6230 and nc6000. We hear that every component in the aforementioned models including LAN, WAN, Modem, Sound, Infrared Link, Firewire, Bluetooth, Graphics Adapter, Battery Usage Meter, Suspend to Disk Function, Hotkeys and numerous other features will work right out of the box. Apparently, HP is determined to make certain models work 100 percent with Ubuntu.
While all of this sounds impressive, HP will not ship the notebook computers with Ubuntu initially, but rather with FreeDOS. Best of all, users will not be forced to purchase Windows licenses. According to the news report, HP has worked directly with Ubuntu to better accommodate specific notebook computers, which ensures overall compatibility. The users interested in Linux will have to order Ubuntu CDs directly from HP at no additional cost. As far as the technical support is concerned, HP will offer two options. The first option is free technical support via newsgroups and forums. The second option, however, is a paid plan. HP will offer support through Canonical, an official corporate sponsor of Ubuntu.
Though HP isn't offering Linux in shipping laptops, I certainly believe that HP's preliminary advancements towards support of Linux on notebook computers are commendable. A backing of a major OEM will certainly break the fear factor that many users have with anything new or different, especially when it comes to computers. Unfortunately, the picture is not all rosy. HP said it will not offer Linux based notebooks in the United States, which is a disappointment in itself. According to the company, the Ubuntu notebooks are reserved for selected parts of Europe, Africa and Middle East where Windows piracy rates are strikingly high.