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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Supermarket giant promotes Linux
Screengrab of Walmart online store, Walmart
The Linux PCs are only sold online
US retail giant Walmart has expanded the range of PCs running Linux it sells through its online store.

The supermarket chain has begun selling PCs running Sun's version of Linux, called Java Desktop, for about $300.

This is the first time that Sun's version of Linux has been sold on consumer machines though Walmart has sold open source PCs since 2002.

The machines are only available via the Walmart's net store and will not be on the shelves of any of its supermarkets.

System specs

Before now Sun's Java Desktop has been sold only to corporations and schools.

A spokesman for Sun said the deal with Walmart was driven by demand from consumers for PCs that do not attract the range of viruses and worms that Windows does.

Microtel Linux PC on Walmart's site
Walmart started selling Microtel Linux PCs in 2002
The basic PC comes with up to 256MB of memory, CD or rewritable CD/DVD drive and a hard drive with up to 80GB capacity.

Bundled in with the Linux operating system is Sun's StarOffice, a rival to Microsoft Office, plus image editing software and a media player.

Other programs that consumers might need can be downloaded through an online portal.

Sun will offer free customer support for 60 days after service via a deal with another unnamed firm. After that customers will have to pay to have queries answered.

The cheapest system Walmart offers, at $298 (162), runs Sun's Java desktop on a 1.6Ghz Duron processor from AMD and comes without a monitor.

Walmart started selling PCs pre-loaded with Linux from Microtel in 2002 and offers several different versions of the open source operating system on these machines.

Other PC makers, such as Dell and HP, have typically shied away from offering Linux on machines saying there was little demand.

A spokesman for Walmart said that Windows systems are still the biggest sellers in its store.

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