HP markets home made Linux product

Hewlett-Packard is set to release an in-house version of Linux - named HP Secure OS Software for Linux - next week.

Hewlett-Packard is set to release an in-house version of Linux - named HP Secure OS Software for Linux - next week.

HP focused on creating an ultra-secure version of the operating system during the development of the new product. The release means that the company will no longer have to rely on partner distribution, a problem it has experienced in the past.

Linux has been incorporated into a large number of servers and workstations, leading to vendors such as Red Hat selling their own versions of the operating system. HP and other major hardware sellers often bundle a version of Linux with their products.

Roberto Medrano, the general manager of HP's Internet security division, said that while Linux is championed as a highly scalable operating system, HP customers were looking for a more secure version which could run on their own Web servers.

The new product will be available on HP's own servers and any non-HP hardware which passes certain qualification tests. HP will also offer a host of consulting services around the operating system in order to ensure that customers can take full advantage of the raft of built-in security features.

HP's version of Linux will come with a "virtual compartment" which helps to prevent unauthorised communication between programs, networks and files. This feature should lower security risks for users managing information with different sensitivity levels on the same server.

The new software will also come with a detection system for alerting administrators to hacking attempts and a containment feature which locks any hacked program, preventing it from damaging applications or launching other attacks.

While the core of HP's version of Linux will be released to the open source community, many of its security features, including the virtual compartment technology, will remain under HP's control.

Dan Kusnetzky, the vice-president of system software research at IDC, said: "HP has clearly taken a step ahead of some of its rivals. There is a chance that this will give it an advantage in government markets, but if it does, it will be momentary at best."

The new system, which is built around version 2.4 of the Linux kernel, will be priced at $3,000 (£2,074) per server.

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