HP has long had a love/hate affair with Linux. On the one hand, HP has long supported Linux on servers. For example, they're the one major server company that supports Debian. On the other hand, it took HP forever to finally start shipping pre-installed desktop Linux. Recently, for business users anyway, HP has been making it a lot easier to get Linux on their desktops and servers.
On the server side, for example, HP and Canonical, the company that stands behind Ubuntu, just announced that the newest version of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 9.04 has been certified the new HP ProLiant G6 servers.
According to Canonical, "This extends Canonical's existing support of Ubuntu Server Edition on the HP ProLiant servers to 17 configurations, enabling Ubuntu users to run their business applications on the world's most energy-efficient servers. Additionally, HP will release the ProLiant Support Pack for Ubuntu, which includes agents, drivers, and utilities that can enhance the manageability of Ubuntu server on HP ProLiant servers."
In a statement, Steve George, Canonical's director of commercial services at Canonical, said, "We are committed to certifying Ubuntu Server Edition on the hardware platforms that our users choose to run. HP ProLiant servers are easily one of the most popular of those platforms so it is heartening to have HP's participation in this certification program along with its recognition and verification of our work. Users who are looking for an open platform or thinking about building a cloud-based infrastructure on Ubuntu need the reassurance of strong, compatibility-tested hardware. This certification offers peace of mind along with a great hardware base on which users can start to build their new data-centers."
Notice that word, 'data-center?' The ProLiant G6 family isn't for your SOHO (small office/home office); it's for serious Web or DBMS servers or even running a cloud. Ubuntu on this platform is a major step up for the Linux that's all too often seen as just the end-user popular Linux and not as a serious business Linux contender.
Ubuntu's not the only Linux distribution getting closer to HP's server lines. Novell's new SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) 11 has been certified on Integrity, ProLiant, and BladeSystem servers.
Small business users may also be interested in HP's dc5850, an AMD-powered low-end PC that comes with SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop). In addition, education users may be interested in the HP supported openSUSE Education project CD and repository. This gives teachers and student access to a wide variety of K-12 open-source education programs.
In short, while HP is no where close to being as Linux consumer end-user friendly as say Dell is, HP is continuing to become a good choice for Linux business administrators and end-users.