More than a year and a half ago, HP made it public that they were considering shipping desktops and laptops pre-loaded with Linux, giving their customers a choice between that and Windows. HP's reasons for stalling were numerous, ranging from questions about implementing support to what distribution of Linux would make sense for them to offer. They have had support for use of Linux on their servers, to an extensive degree, but nothing on their single-user machines. More recently, they began offering it on Netbooks, starting with the 2133 Mini-Note. However, questions still remained as to how they'd get it done on the desktop.
Those questions and more have been answered, apparently, as HP will now begin offering Linux on their business desktops, or at least one of them. The Compaq dc5850 machine will be shipped with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, a Novell-supported product, and with their move they are the last large desktop vendor to begin offering Linux as a stock option on desktops. All the major desktop vendors are now offering Linux on their desktops. Even though the hardware profile for those desktops is somewhat slim, it's still a landmark and represents a huge change from a few years ago.