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Mandriva, HP launch Latin American Linux partnership
Jan. 18, 2006

On Wednesday, Mandriva announced that it was partnering with Hewlett-Packard Co. to distribute HP desktop computers pre-loaded with Mandriva Linux 2006 to 37 countries in Latin America. As part of the agreement, Mandriva was also named the "Preferred Linux Partner for Latin America" and Mandriva Linux 2006 has been optimized and certified for HP machines. The companies will work together on sales, support, and marketing in all Latin American territories, including Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.

Mandriva 2006 was released in November 2005. It was the first Linux distribution from Mandriva -- formerly Mandrakesoft -- to merge improvements from Conectiva and Lycoris, two companies that Mandriva had earlier acquired.

The first pre-loaded machines, one for the consumer market and other for the enterprise, are already shipping in Brazil.

Before this deal was announced, HP and Mandriva had been working for several months on certifying HP system configurations and optimizing performance for Mandriva Linux 2006. In addition, Mandriva and HP expanded the operating system's Spanish and Portuguese language support.

"Mandriva's partnership with a leading OEM like HP is a testament to the quality of the Mandriva Linux operating system," said Mandriva CEO François Bancilhon, in a statement.

"The new agreement for Latin America validates Mandriva's strategic investment in Brazil, through the acquisition of Conectiva, Bancilhon added. "Latin America will be an area of growth for Mandriva moving forward."

This deal worked because Mandriva and HP have a history of collaboration, Bancilhon told in an email.

"We had a global agreement with HP focused on emerging markets; this agreement lasted for quite a while (about 3 years) but was not renewed due to Mandrakesoft (our name at the time) being in Chapter 11 [bankruptcy]," Bancilhon said. "So we started again working with HP locally in France to show we could do a good job, and worked with them to extend the agreement."

Bancilhon said this deal is significant to the Linux world market for several reasons.

"It shows that a leading player such as HP is: (1) betting on Linux; (2) betting on Linux on the desktop; (3) and betting on the BRIC market (Brazil, Russia, India, China)," Bancilhon said. "We believe desktop migrations and the BRIC market are two of the key driving forces for the worldwide Linux market."

It also demonstrates Mandriva's continued drive to become a Linux desktop power. In an earlier interview, Bancilhon said, "Mandriva is finding that companies that have committed to Linux on its servers are now moving to Linux on the desktop to cut costs."

According to a Mandriva spokesperson, this current deal only covers desktops. But, in that arena, it covers every HP Linux sale in Latin America."

Unlike previous Linux hardware offerings, such as Dell's Dimension E510n PC, according to the Mandriva representative, " many different models will be sold in those 37 countries."

At this time, HP has certified seven HP notebooks and six desktops with Mandriva 2006.

In addition, unlike Dell, HP will not only support Linux on these systems, it will offer technical support in both Spanish and Portuguese for all of Latin America.

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