Hewlett-Packard made quite a splash when they announced that they are
offering Linux on the nx5000, one of the latest HP laptop models. HP also sponsored aKademy, the KDE Community World Summit as a Platinum
sponsor. This included a loan of 24 laptops for usage in the tutorial rooms
as well as a special deal for KDE contributors to buy the nx5000 model at a
reduced price. The aKademy press team arranged a meeting with Thomas Schneller, Manager Software R&D and asked him about this venture from HP.
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Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Thomas Schneller, Manager Software R&D of the HP EMEA Product Development Center based in Munich.
I was part of the Linux Core team which developed the first Linux pre-installation on a nx5000 Laptop.
The KDE desktop contributed to the success of SUSE Linux and HP chose SUSE/KDE for this laptop. What
were the strong points for offering a KDE desktop to your customers?
We used the standard configuration which comes with SUSE Linux which is KDE.
We believe that KDE is a good choice as it offers basically everything needed on a today's desktop.
Do you give support for the nx5000 configured with a KDE/Linux configuration?
Yes, there is a 90 days support for the pre-installed Linux software shipped on
that laptop which is similar to Windows where we offer the same support.
Are there any plans for more models supporting Linux?
It depends on the market response to the nx5000 offer. If there is a need for Linux pre-installed
Laptops we will discuss how to support that. Currently we are also thinking to offer better support
for Linux in the first place.
Right now the nx5000 is not available in Europe. Do you have any plans to sell them anywhere other than the US?
It is true; right now the nx5000 is only available in USA. It would have been too much effort to offer it
for Europe as well as there are so many languages and localization options to take care of. But European
customers are welcome to buy it in the USA if they want. It can be ordered on the
Just choose Linux as OS and the Integrated HP W500 wireless option.
Drivers for that device are pre-installed. The Intel 2200BG driver was not available at the
time we released the pre-installation.
Will you support people who build device drivers and will you be giving them hardware information?
Yes, we already work with the open source community. As an example have a look at HP & Open Source where several Open Source projects are hosted.
Does power management and the winmodem work on the nx5000 as they do under Microsoft Windows?
Yes, basically all hardware is working. ACPI is fully supported, so hibernating your Linux laptop is
possible and also the winmodem works on this model. I also want to stress the fact that we welcome any feedback
as we are eager to hear people's experiences with our product.
Did you have some problems of getting hardware components to work?
We carefully choose the target platform for that project. We wanted to make sure everything just works.
The only problems we had during development were caused by pieces of hardware where detailed specs were not available to us.
Will this only work on SUSE or do you have any plans to support more distributions.
Does HP have any plans to better support Linux in general?
Of course other distributions are free to benefit from the work we did. There are plans to distribute BIOS in a Linux-friendly format for selected Models. For the nx5000 this kind of BIOS is still available:
ROMPaq for HP Notebook System BIOS (68BCU ROM) Linux-Based.
You can just download it onto your Linux desktop, unpack it and run a script which will ask, if you want to create
a bootable diskette or a bootable CD. Then you only need to reboot with the bootable media and can flash your BIOS easily.
Plans to collect and offer Linux pre-installation instructions and white papers on an open source basis are discussed as well.
Did you write any additional software for the nx5000 project? Any plans maybe on doing that?
Well any needed software we were looking for was already provided by the SUSE Linux distribution like
for example the power management applet. So we did not need to write additional software.
Any ideas of working together with KDE developers with this. How about a KControl module
for usage in KControl?
HP will support initiatives which will enrich the desktop experience on our laptops. If you or
your project has an interesting piece of software please let us know.
Can you tell us about any experiences your customers have with the KDE desktop on these laptops?
Currently it is still a bit early but we are busy collecting feedback from all people who are using these
Linux laptops. We have a feedback loop installed for this. But at least the experience of testers are telling us,
we are on the right way.
You sponsored the KDE Conference with these laptops and you even decided to sell some of those laptops at a lower price
to our developers. What's the gain for HP for doing all of this?
HP was an official sponsor of the KDE Conference as we are sponsoring open source events in general. Also we hope
that by selling these laptops at a nice price that some KDE people will provide us some feedback. We as HP want to
improve Linux support for selected models and to do so, we need to understand the issues. We appreciate your feedback,
please don't hesitate to send us any problem you're having with the nx5000 you bought.
Is there anything else you want to mention?
Yes. Please post your comments below the article. I will read through them and answer any question appearing.
Thank you for answering these questions and also a big thank you for the support HP has given to KDE.