Hewlett-Packard is closing custom deals for thousands of desktop PCs running Linux, which has the company assessing the possibility of offering factory-loaded Linux systems, an HP executive said. “We are involved in a number of massive deals for Linux desktops, and those are the kinds of things that are indicators of critical mass. So we are really looking at it very hard,” said Doug Small, worldwide director of open source and Linux marketing at HP. “We are in a massive deal right now for multi-thousands of units of a desktop opportunity for Linux. That’s an indicator.” He declined to give details about the deals.