Asustek is preinstalling Canonical's Ubuntu operating system for the first time in some netbooks to target the Linux market, Canonical said Thursday.
Dell is the only other major PC vendor to pre-load Ubuntu on its netbooks.
Canonical said that Asus has started shipping from June 1 three Eee PC models, the 1001PXD, 1011PX and 1015PX, with Ubuntu 10.10 pre-installed. The OS has been configured to work with the processor and networking hardware on the netbooks.
Asus was one of the first PC makers to ship netbooks, offering the Eee PC with multiple versions of the Linux OS including Xandros starting in 2007. Asus then released Windows XP netbooks starting in 2008 after Microsoft started offering Windows XP Starter, a stripped down version of Windows XP. Asus now preloads Windows on a majority of its netbooks with Linux playing second fiddle.
Ubuntu 10.10, code-named Maverick Meerkat, has editions targeted at PCs and netbooks, but Canonical didn't say which edition would be preinstalled on the Eee PCs. The netbook edition, called Netbook Remix, has a specialized user interface for smaller screens. The latest version of Ubuntu, version 11.04, does away with the Netbook Remix edition, integrating the code into the main OS base.
The OS on the Eee PCs will come with a full productivity suite and support for Adobe's Flash, Canonical said.
More Asus netbooks in the future will ship with Ubuntu preinstalled, Canonical said. Multiple versions of Ubuntu have been certified previously to work with certain Asus Eee PC models.