HP joins Linux chorus

By   |  February 19, 2003

HP yesterday joined the growing chorus of Linux fans saying the open source operating system already accounts for a “huge” part of company’s revenue. And Eva Beck, HP’s Linux BUsiness Manager for MIddle East, Africa and Europe, speaking during the HP Linux roadshow in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday, said the company is “committed” to the open source community and sees Linux as “strategic to HP”.

“In 2002 Linux-based solutions accounted for $2bn revenue … a huge part of our business,” said Beck. She said HP is “the only vendor with a balanced operating system strategy” and the company is equally selling and supporting Linux, Unix and Microsoft solutions.

“Linux is now one of our main operating systems … and with Linux customers are getting exactly the same support and services as they do with Unix and Microsoft,” said Beck.

Much of HP’s Linux strategy rests on the company’s partnerships with other vendors including Oracle and SCO. As a result the two distributions formally supported by HP are RedHat and UnitedLinux. Oracle has been working very closely with RedHat on developing certified Linux versions of its software and SCO, formerly Caldera, is a founding member of the UnitedLinux distribution. On request, said Beck, HP will also offer support contracts for the Debian distribution.

The most interesting figure quoted by Beck was the desktop Linux shipments. She said the company was now shipping as many as 10 000 Linux desktops a month “in selected regions”. Exactly which regions is not yet clear.

Beck also said HP accounts for more than 40% of Linux sales in Western Europe as measured against its two main competitors Dell and IBM.

According to HP’s internal research cost savings(89%), flexibility(77%) and the avoidance of license fees(64%) were the primary reasons users were migrating to Linux. On the other side, she said, lack of expertise(50%), lack of computer systems vendor support(39%) and manageability(15%) were the main barriers to more users migrating.

Beck said the kinds of uses that are moving to Linux are typically those that are already Unix users. She said these users found it easier to migrate skills and applications to the new platform. She said the “migrators” were also typically those users that used custom built or in-house applications and that had the skills to migrate.

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