Intel, IBM Make Workstation Push with Linux Laptop

With the workstation class of laptops carrying strong margins, the companies hope their Linux-based IBM T42-series laptop on steroids will appeal to the engineering community, Rob Enderle writes.

Disclaimer: Intel, AMD, Dell, Microsoft and HP are all clients of mine.

For years, true workstation users—folks tied at the hip to Unix—really didnt have an acceptable mobile solution.

They had the option of buying huge, luggable products from companies such as Dolch. In weight and size, they were more like the original suitcase class of portable computers of the late 80s, but regular laptops were simply too underpowered for their use.

Performance has made great gains over the past couple of years, and engineers were increasingly found using high-performance laptop computers, which took Dolch out of the business and found high-performance consumer companies such as AlienWare and Apple creeping in.

Interestingly enough, engineers using Apple laptops comprised one of the fastest-growing groups, because those laptops ran a version of FreeBSD Unix.

Clearly, this didnt sit well with either IBM or Intel, particularly since both companies have extremely high concentrations of engineers who would likely be shot on sight if they were found using an Apple computer for company business.

As a result, the two companies announced Monday that they have collaborated to build a Linux-based IBM T42-series laptop on steroids.

They say it will meet the engineering communitys need for a truly "laptop class" portable computer that will adequately run the necessary engineering applications and will be supported by a company that truly understands engineers. They also announced that Intel is in broad trials with these laptops internally.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here for a review of IBMs T42.

IBM is one of the market leaders for workstations, and Intel has been slowly working its way into the workstation market for some time, so its not surprising that both teamed up to make this happen.

Next Page: Linux is not ready for the desktop yet.