oooh, that is great news. HP is big enough to push this through, offering linux on their PCs, preinstalled.
This will boost the linux desktop movement and start it really.
Hopefully, they will not pull out again, like so many have done (like dell), due to M$ put pressure on them.
Due to many similar cases Microsoft told them that they should not carry linux, otherwise they might not get good mass-discount prices on windows anymore or not at all. If Dell had not be able to offer Windows on their PCs? They would have gone bankrupt from that.
HP is big, combined with Compaq very big, so they might have enough weight to do as they please.
M$ always makes these non disclosure agreements with their OEMs, so these companies cannot even talk about that they have this deal to not carry other OSs on their boxes. This nonsense needs to be stopped, it has gone too far.
I'll offer you a solution here and make you sign a Nondisclosure agreement in case it did not work. In case it worked, you can hurray, but otherwise you have to shut up, if asked, you have to be quiet.