Asus is to start shipping models of its Eee PC range preinstalled with Linux-based operating system Ubuntu 10.10, to take advantage of growing demand for the platform in the business community.
The OS will come with a suite of applications for document creation, including spreadsheets and presentations, which can be shared with Windows users, as well as preinstalled versions of Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Flash.
Chris Kenyon, vice president of OEM services at Ubunbtu provider Canonical, explained that partnering with Asus to ship the software out of the box made sense for both firms.
"Many businesses are turning to Ubuntu as they look for a cost-effective, proven and easy to use and manage operating system that can be delivered on business-quality laptops," he said.
The three models are the 1001PXD, 1011PX and 1015PX, which will ship from 1 June through Asus sales channels. Other models will be made available throughout the year, the firms said.
Clive Longbottom, an analyst with Quocirca, told V3.co.uk that, while Ubuntu is a solid operating system and has its positives, its small market share and limited user base meant that the products are unlikely to appeal much beyond a core market.
"Ubuntu is by far and away the best desktop distro. It is relatively easy to use and has a reasonable level of support. But it still suffers from working in different ways to what people already know within a Windows environment," he said.
"This is one for the techies only. Android has managed to usurp standard Linux distros as the preferred front end for new devices, and Asus probably expects this to be a niche product only."
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