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HP sets up separate Linux unit

The new unit will house Hewlett-Packard's business interests in the open-source operating system, CNET has learned.

Hewlett-Packard has broadened its Linux effort, establishing a separate division to house its business interests in the open-source operating system, CNET has learned.

The new unit, headed by Martin Fink, is a part of the company's Enterprise Servers and Storage (ESS) group. Previously, HP's Linux effort had been concentrated within its Industry Standard Server organization, which sells the ProLiant line of servers based on Intel's x86 chips.

The move reflects an expanding role for Linux within HP, particularly as HP begins shipping more servers based on Intel's Itanium 2 processors. It also follows the broader reshuffling of HP's overall enterprise unit in May, which created the ESS group out of HP's server and storage units.

The new unit, tentatively called the Linux organization, was established last month and will oversee "all things Linux," according to an HP representative.

"Linux is a corporate priority for HP," said HP spokeswoman Elizabeth Phillips. "This is just a way to make it more prominent both within HP and in the industry."

In addition to selling Linux-based servers, HP sells workstations running the operating system as well as business PCs.

In his new role as vice president of Linux, Martin Fink will report to both ESS boss Scott Stallard and HP's chief technology officer, Shane Robison. Fink had been a vice president in the company's Business Critical Systems unit before the last reorganization. Within the Linux organization, HP plans to add a director of marketing, director of strategy and a director of engineering, although those positions have not been formally named.

One of HP's most notable open-source employees, Bruce Perens, left HP in September 2002 after about two years with the company.