Intel has released a Quick Start Kit for Linux in Asia, giving a leg-up to system builders offering Linux-based desktop PCs.

The kit is similar to those that Intel produces for Windows, said an Intel spokesman. "We are starting to extend what we've done in the Windows world to include the Linux space," he said.

Initially, the kit is only being made available in China and India, where demand for Linux is strong and growing among education and government customers. "What we're trying to do is provide a resource for the system integrator to be able to offer a validated solution to their customer with a minimal amount of work," the spokesman said. "They shouldn't have to worry about finding all of the drivers on their own."

The Quick Start Kit is available for free to Intel Channel Program members and supports Novell's Desktop 9, Red Hat's Desktop and Red Flag's Desktop 4.1. Support for China Standard Software's Linux distribution will be added in a future version.

It has been validated for use with several Intel desktop motherboards, including the D845 family of Celeron-based motherboards, and the D865 and D915 lines of Pentium 4-based motherboards, Intel said.

It also contains several software components. One is a range of Linux drivers that have been validated by Intel for each of the motherboards supported by the kit. Also, a management system to install device drivers with a single command, eliminating the need to understand make files, tar files and source code.

On top of this, Intel's Application Version Compliance tool, which helps ensure that applications installed on a desktop PC have been validated for various Linux distributions and motherboards, is included.

The kit will soon find its way into other markets, promised Intel. "We're actively looking to expand where the product is offered," the spokesman said.