Martin Fink, HP chief technology officer for business critical systems, said HP looked at the Linux market as it pertained to infrastructure servers, business application servers, and data and content servers.
"Where we actually see most of Linux deployed today is at the edge of the network, with firewall, DNS servers," and other components, Fink said. He added that some users were using it in datacentres.
"What HP is pushing is standards," Fink said. "We need to have them and there's some real traction coming around the Linux standards base."
Intel's Itanium 2 processor gives HP a high-volume 64-bit platform for Linux and other operating environments, Fink said. HP's Web site supports Linux on its Intel-based servers and Alpha servers and offers a porting kit to move Linux applications to its HP-UX Unix platform on PA-RISC chips.
Fink listed security, scalability and applications maturity as potential inhibitors to Linux growth. HP will work with the open-source community to ensure work gets done on Linux and will work on new features, he added.
Fink admitted the exact adoption levels of Linux remain muddled because of its open-source nature, making it harder to track. He cited industry figures stating there were about three million copies of Linux purchased in 1999, with the figure expected to grow to about 20 million in 2006.
HP figures indicate there were two million free copies of Linux for servers shipped in 1999 and there will be 17.5 million copies shipped in 2006. Only about 2% of desktops run Linux, according to HP.