Compaq ships Linux-equipped servers

Compaq Computer Corp. today released a pair of ProLiant servers that come preloaded with Red Hat Inc.'s version of Linux, fulfilling a promise made last summer that the open-source operating system would start being bundled with some of its machines.

Two ProLiant models, the DL360 and ML330, are now available with Red Hat Linux 7.0 already installed, Compaq said. The bundled systems include 90 days of hardware and operating system installation support, plus a configuration and setup support license from Compaq's customer service department.

Pricing starts at $4,205 for the DL360 and $1,415 for the ML330. Compaq announced its plans to begin preinstalling Linux on the two servers in August, saying at the time that the bundled models were expected to be ready for shipment by the end of September.

A Compaq spokeswoman said the computer maker has received demands for Linux-equipped machines from users, especially Internet service providers that are looking at the open-source software as an alternative to Windows and Unix.

Eventually, the spokeswoman said, Compaq will likely preinstall other Linux distributions in addition to the one sold by Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Red Hat. Compaq also supports Linux releases from Caldera Systems Inc., SuSE Linux Inc. and TurboLinux Inc. on its servers, but users have to do the installations themselves for now.

Compaq's move to preload Linux followed a similar announcement that server rival Dell Computer Corp. in Round Rock, Texas, made last spring, also with Red Hat. In addition, IBM is bundling Linux with some of its ThinkPad notebook PCs.

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