Lexmark is looking to extend the market of its popular inkjet printers, announcing that two of its Z series will now operate on the Linux platform.
The move is in response to the increasing popularity of the Linux system. The OS is typically used in back-end system, but Lexmark's consumer products division product manager Paul Mansell believes the system has enormous potential in the small office and retail environment.
"Linux is becoming more popular now," he said. "It is starting to be seen as a serious application that is being used increasingly by businesses and by home users."
Two inkjet printers are now available -- the Z32, a home printer and the higher-end Z52. They are now functional across all three operating systems -- Windows, Mac and Linux. Lexmark's decision to port the printers over to Linux was based on an increasing number of customer requests for the product.
"The small office, home office users are the people Linux will appeal to, because they get a fully functional operating system and applications for the fraction of the cost of conventional systems," he said, adding Web developers would also find the system useful, since they can download all their tools from the Internet for virtually nothing.
Making the printers compatible with Linux also gives Lexmark another point of differentiation in a hugely competitive market.
"Not everyone is a Windows user and it allows us to widen the appeal of our product to our user base," Mansell said.
"We have made it look and feel the same as other systems so users can move easily from platform to platform. It makes it easier for resellers because if a user comes in saying they are running Linux they have something extra to offer."