Delving further into the Linux realm, IBM has announced for the first time it will sell some of its popular ThinkPad laptop computers preloaded with the open-source operating system.
"Customers are demanding Linux, and rather than making them wipe off the [standard Windows 98 or 2000] operating system, we're just selling models preloaded with Linux," said spokesman Scott Handy.
The company had earlier begun offering its Netfinity servers with versions of Linux.
The A20m and T20 model ThinkPads will feature Orem, Utah-based Caldera Systems' OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4.
The machines will be available beginning in the third quarter, according to Handy. They are expected to be priced similarly to Windows-equipped models.
IBM's worldwide products marketing manager Tom Follette, said that the company's commitment is justified by customer demand, though he wouldn't give projections as to how many Linux-loaded machines IBM expects to sell.
"We expect this to be something that enough customers will request so that it makes business sense," Follette said.
IBM is evaluating whether to offer other Linux versions, including Red Hat, TurboLinux and SuSE, on some ThinkPads, he said.
In other announcements at IBM's PartnerWorld for Linux in New York:l BM has certified the Linux from German vendor SuSE GmbH for use on several RS/ 6000 servers, including B50 rack-mountable servers for service providers, 43P Model 150 servers and workstations and F-50 deskside servers for departments and small organisations. Other SuSE Linux applications are expected in the server line later in the year.l IBM unveiled the Linux versions of its WebSphere e-commerce software package and a new small business suite of Linux middleware.