HP has begun shipping its first-ever domestic notebook computer to come pre-installed with the Linux operating system.

The Compaq nx5000 was unveiled at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Fransisco this week. It was highlighted at a keynote address Martin Fink, HP vice president of Linux.

It is not HP's first-ever Linux laptop, however; the company released Linux laptops in Thailand in 2003.

The nx5000 ships with either an Intel Celeron or Pentium processor, a 15-inch screen and between 30GB and 60GB of storage. The Linux version ships with Novell's Suse Linux 9.1 and the OpenOffice productivity suite. The product can also be purchased with Windows XP, according to HP's website.

"This is the year that Linux overtakes the Mac on the desktop, and maybe my laptop will help accelerate that," Fink said.

In fact, industry research firm IDC believes that this has already happened.

"Linux captured the number two spot as desktop operating system in 2003," says Dan Kusnetzky, an IDC analyst.

Though Linux has proved popular as a server operating system, it has had less success on the desktop. In late 2000, IBM began offering Linux preinstalled on its A20 and T20 notebooks, but it eventually withdrew the Linux offering.

Several other smaller vendors, including Elitegroup and, more recently, Tadpole have also released notebooks preloaded with Linux.

IDC estimates that by 2007, Linux will have 6 percent of the desktop market in terms of units, Kusnetzky says.