Consumers may see a few more Linux applications and better hardware compatibility - the fruits of a development lab that has drawn endorsement from several major PC players.

Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and NEC plan to open the Open Source Development Lab, an independent, nonprofit lab for developers who are adding capabilities to Linux, the companies say.

Proponents of the lab, which will be sited in the US state of Oregon, say this will propel Linux by giving developers access to high-end hardware that is often needed to test new programs.

"We are hoping that the open source community will embrace this and that the Linux community will build a better Linux," said Lisa Lanspery, an IBM spokesperson.

Linux and the open source community, which releases source code for free collaboration among all interested programmers, has drawn increased interest.

Some especially look to it as a possible challenger to Microsoft's operating system monopoly. Microsoft continues to refuse to participate in the open source movement.

The companies said they plan to provide significant resources and equipment to the lab, which will help nurture existing open source projects. They did not offer details about its size or the amount of resources.