Hewlett-Packard and Red Hat have started selling a new Linux-based desktop PC targeting small and medium businesses.

The dx2250 HP desktop ships with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Desktop pre-loaded, which includes Firefox, OpenOffice and the Evolution e-mail client. Red Hat will handle technical support for the system.

Pricing starts at AU$600 with HP citing the rising cost of proprietary solutions as a reason to collaborate with RedHat.

This is the latest in a series of pro-open source announcements by HP. In July, the company started supporting the DSpace foundation.

HP also trumps Dell, which has yet to announce plans for a pre-installed desktop Linux in Australia, which would achieve product parity with the US, parts of Europe and Asia.

Red Hat is expected to beef up its desktop offering in the coming weeks with the release of Global Desktop.