HP's ambition to build the "next-generation datacentre" depends on Linux and open source, according to a leading HP executive.

"We believe there is a tremendous need for contributions from the open-source community combined with the technology and innovation of companies like HP," said Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the Technology Solutions Group within HP, speaking at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo.

The company's strategy is to develop products and services that will make datacentres more secure and reliable, and help them run effectively. HP ships one Linux-based server every minute, Livermore noted, and has been shipping them for nine years.

The energy efficiency of all servers has become the issue "every customer wants to talk about," she said, and applauded the new functionality added to the Linux kernel that improves energy efficiency by putting Linux systems into low-power states when there's a pause in computing.

HP is a member of the Linux Foundation, a non-profit group supporting Linux, and has made its own contributions to Linux with the common operating environment (COE) software for datacentre management. LinuxCOE 4.0 was released by HP earlier this year under the general public license governing open-source software. LinuxCOE helps automate the lifecycle management of software, including provisioning, configuration, compliance, patch management and delivery to a desktop computer.

For one longtime Linux believer though, the notion of Fortune 500 companies such as HP investing in Linux is something that's hard to believe.

"Ten years ago, this would be unthinkable," said David Ames, IT manager for the Linux Foundation. "It's nice to see that Linux is an enterprise-class system, that people are embracing it and that it generates this kind of money flow," said Ames. "It's an amazing thing."