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HP to Sell Linux PCs in Asia

Seeking to capitalize on the rising popularity of Linux in Asia, Hewlett-Packard now plans to sell desktop PCs equipped with the open-source operating system in Japan, China, Korea, and nine other countries in the region.

The PCs will be shipped with pre-installed copies of Turbolinux, which has long been one of the most popular Linux distributions in Asia.

HP's deal with Turbolinux could also be a savvy strategy to take advantage of markets where many customers are not yet locked into Microsoft's Windows.

China is seen as market ripe for growth in PC sales, with more households moving towards their first PC purchase. Additionally, the Chinese government is heavily supporting the OS via its announced plans to invest in developing a domestic software industry around Linux.

"The adoption of Linux on the desktop across Asia is booming," said Koichi Yano, president of Turbolinux.

The Linux software pre-installed on the HP PCs will also include the OpenOffice 1.1 suite, a desktop productivity package that's positioned as an open-source alternative to Microsoft's office.

The nine smaller Asian markets in which HP will sell its Turbolinux-equipped PCs are Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Turbolinux is a member of OSDL, having joined the Beaverton, Ore.-based consortium dedicated to advancing Linux last year. HP has long been a member of the group.

OSDL has in recent months focused on evangelizing for Linux in Asia. It recently signed up its first Chinese member, Beijing Co-Create Open Source Software.

The announcement comes as Open Source Business Conference 2004 kicks off in San Francisco, where representatives from HP, IBM, and Novell are slated to discuss the financial and legal impact of open source software on global business.

The conference agenda promises that representatives from Microsoft will be present to discuss the company's "strategy to capitalize on open source."