Asus to ship Ubuntu netbooks

Asus 1001PXD

Asus to sell Eee PC netbooks preloaded with Ubuntu

Asus has started selling its Eee PC netbooks preloaded with Ubuntu 10.10.

Asus will initially sell the 1001PXD, 1011PX and 1015PX, with more models added through the year.

The original Asus Eee PC 701 - which kickstarted the netbook craze in 2007 - ran on a version of Xandros Linux, prompting speculation that Linux was on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough. It was quickly superseded by Windows XP, however, with tales of high return rates of Linux-based netbooks.

The netbook market was eventually quickly dominated by Windows, and sales of the mini-notebooks are thought to be on the decline as consumers turn to tablets.

Canonical has "learned a lot" about how to best integrate the software onto netbooks, Chris Kenyon, vice president of OEM services at the Ubuntu supporter, told PC Pro.

"The netbooks previously sold with Linux, people hadn't pre-installed all the right media codecs - it wasn't necessarily a fantastic web experience," he said. "That has fundamentally changed."

He denied that Ubuntu has failed to grab much of the netbook market, saying Dell, Lenovo and Acer devices with the open-source OS preinstalled were "shipping in volume" in different markets around the world. Last year, Dell stopped selling laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed via its UK website.

"We will ship more units this year than we ever have, even at the height of the netbook boom," Kenyon said. "We're on track to be well over 10m units preinstalled with Ubuntu this year."

"I think the demand for Linux and the suitability of Linux and Ubuntu for consumers and small businesses is actually going up," Kenyon added

The Asus devices will come preloaded with Adobe Flash and Mozilla Firefox, as well as LibreOffice.

Pricing details weren't yet available, but Asus is expected to reveal more information later this afternoon. The Ubuntu netbooks are expected to be available across Europe.

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