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On Wednesday, Mandriva announced that it was partnering with Hewlett-Packard Co. to distribute HP desktop computers pre-loaded with Mandriva Linux 2006 to 37 countries in Latin America.

As part of the agreement, Mandriva was also named the “Preferred Linux Partner for Latin America” and Mandriva Linux 2006 has been optimized and certified for HP machines. The companies will work together on sales, support, and marketing in all Latin American territories, including Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.

Mandriva 2006 was released in November 2005. It was the first Linux distribution from Mandriva—formerly Mandrakesoft—to merge improvements from Conectiva and Lycoris, two companies that Mandriva had earlier acquired.

The first pre-loaded machines, one for the consumer market and other for the enterprise, are already shipping in Brazil.

HP appoints new VP for open source, Linux. Click here to read more.

Before this deal was announced, HP and Mandriva had been working for several months on certifying HP system configurations and optimizing performance for Mandriva Linux 2006. In addition, Mandriva and HP expanded the operating system’s Spanish and Portuguese language support.

“Mandriva’s partnership with a leading OEM like HP is a testament to the quality of the Mandriva Linux operating system,” said Mandriva CEO François Bancilhon, in a statement.

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