Hewlett-Packard has begun shipping its first ever notebook computer to come pre-installed with Linux.

The Compaq nx5000 was unveiled at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo during a keynote by HP Vice President of Linux, Martin Fink.

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

One analyst at IDC believes that this has already happened. "Linux captured the number two spot as desktop operating system in 2003," said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky in a recent interview.

By 2007 IDC estimates that Linux will have 6 per cent of the desktop market in terms of units, Kusnetzky said.

Starting at $1,140, the nx5000 ships with either Intel's Celeron or Pentium processors, a 15-inch screen, and between 30GB and 60GB of storage. The Linux version ships with Novell Inc.'s Suse Linux 9.1 and the OpenOffice productivity suite.