Is HP building a custom Linux distro for home computers?
Why would HP, a company that has made billions of dollars by selling machines designed to run Windows want to build its own operating system? Two words. Vista and Apple.
First of all, Microsoft is in the process of killing off its most popular operating system ever, Windows XP. But many home and business computer users are reluctant to install Windows Vista. So if HP wants to continue selling computers over the next few years while waiting for Windows 7 to arrive, it might not be a bad idea to offer customers an alternative to Windows Vista.
The Business Week article also quotes someone who claims that Apple could be preparing to enter the sub-$1000 laptop game soon. That's an area where companies like HP, Dell, and Acer haven't really had to worry about Apple so far. But one of the reasons Apple laptops have been gaining steam in the last few years is because the same company is behind the software and the hardware. That means you don't run into the kind of hardware compatibility issues you find with Windows Vista. A custom HP operating system could ensure that as long as you buy HP peripherals, everything you plug into your computer will work.
HP has already begun dabbling in Linux. Earlier this year the company released the HP 2133 Mini-Note, a low end ultraportable laptop designed to compete with the popular Asus Eee PC. The cheapest versions of the Mini-Note run SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.