The move towards open source has received a small boost with the arrival of Tadpole laptops pre-installed with Linux and Sun Solaris.
Alstom IT has already made its first sales and the US-made machines are now available from its 700 reseller network.
Both the distributor and the first of its suppliers, Melbourne-based systems integrator, Remora Technologies, claim a first by saying that since the laptops come with Linux pre-installed, the devices are the first Linux-based laptops to be fully supported.
They also claim cost savings for end-users because the laptops don't need software licenses from Microsoft.
Alstom IT national sales manager for Sun CDP, Daniel Harwood, said the distribution agreement with Tadpole, a California-based Unix notebook developer, was signed a month ago. The first sales have been made to Invensys in Queensland and Thomas Moore College in Melbourne. Sun Microsystems has also bought a demonstration model.
Three separate models are on offer. Talin is an Intel-based business notebook that runs on SuSE Linux and Sun Java Desktop System on a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 Processor. The notebook comes pre-installed with Star Office from Sun Microsystems, Ximian Evolution for email and a Mozilla browser. Prices start at $2710.
The Sparcle range comes pre-loaded with Solaris, Sun’s Unix-based operating system. The laptop can act as a portable server and promises workstation performance. It costs from $6800.
Finally, there is Comet, which claims to be the only wireless Sun Ray ultra-thin client device around.
With Linux available pre-installed in these laptops, Remora Technologies CEO, Robert Silver, expected a further shift towards Linux in desktops and servers as businesses move towards having a standard operating environment.
“It’s a big push towards open source," he said. "We have always supported open source. It’s becoming a much more mature environment. We are seeing an increasing number of Web servers in Linux. We find open source a stable environment, cost effective and also very secure."