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Lenovo Backtracks on Linux Support Statement

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the danke-sehr dept.


After a report that the company would not install or support the Linux operating system on any of its PCs, morcego writes "Looks like Lenovo decided Linux is a good idea after all. From the article: 'Lenovo executives Monday backtracked from remarks last week that the company would not support Linux on its PCs, saying it would continue to pre-load Linux onto ThinkPads on a custom-order basis for customers who purchase licenses on their own. In addition, they said, the Raleigh, N.C.-based company was working behind the scenes to boost its Linux support in conjunction with the expected July release of the next version of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.'"

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Their Logic (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494222)

According to IDC Research [] , there may be a rise in mobile operating system use and Linux will probably retain around 15% of the market share. Granted, this isn't for laptops but instead for things like phones or tablet PCs, it still probably holds some weight.

I doubt Lenovo would be changing their tune because it seems to be that (as of 2004), Linux runs on something like 2.4% of desktops [] and probably less laptops. Lenovo probably is imagining their products getting smaller and competing with cell phones & PDAs. In order to do that, they're going to need to support applications written for Linux or maybe even Symbian OSs so that they can steal users from the other side of the market.

Plain and simple: Laptops, PDAs, cell phones & tablet PCs are all about to vie for the "must have" device that does it all. Any manufacturer needs to be sure they can support the other side's applications if they want a piece of the market share. I think Lenovo knows the winds are changing and they are trying to support as much to satisfy their consumer. It's only natural that a buyer wants as many options as possible even though they have no intent whatsoever to utilize said options.

Re:Their Logic (2, Insightful)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494472)

I think you're over thinking this one, alot.

My guess to their logic is much simpler, even with their consumer lines Thinkpads are primarily business machines. Lenovo's comments probably raise a bit of a stink with a couple high dollar clients who said, if you're not going to support Linux on the 100 Linux laptops we order yearly we're going to stop ordering the 10,000 Window laptops from you as well and find another vendor. (Insert whatever numbers make it realistic to you)

But I'm just guessing... I didn't RTFA, I'm still on my first cup of coffee.

Re:Their Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494810)

looks more like a smart marketing idea

a) claim that we won't support linux
b) take on the flamewar
c) come out with the news that we still support linux
d) grab the happy linux fans as customers
e) profit.

Re:Their Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494495)

More likely their logic:

salesguy1: "Hey, this government bribed us to install spyware"
exec: "cool, let's do it."
salesguy2: "Hey, Microsoft bribed us to install spyware [] ", but we need to keep linux out.
exec: "cool, let's do it."
salesguy3: "uh, our biggest customer uses linux and's threatening to switch to HP or Dell"
exec: "hey, I know, let's talk to the media and say some nice things about linux like we love it - but not actually sell it and still keep saying ""Lenovo Recommends Windows XP Professional."' so we keep the Microsoft bribe"

Re:Their Logic (4, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494664)

I doubt Lenovo would be changing their tune because it seems to be that (as of 2004), Linux runs on something like 2.4% of desktops and probably less laptops. Lenovo probably is imagining their products getting smaller and competing with cell phones & PDAs. In order to do that, they're going to need to support applications written for Linux or maybe even Symbian OSs so that they can steal users from the other side of the market.

That's not very good logic. Dismissing that your link said 2.8% in 2002 and taking your stats as true, not only was 2004 a long time ago in the Linux world (it was before Ubuntu took off even) so probably the real figure would be even higher now but 2.4% itself is an amazing amount of desktops. There are, what, a few hundred million desktops in the world? At least tens of millions sold each year? 2.4% of this could be perhaps a million desktops each year, being conservative. As many people have said before, a million customers would be an entire market for most companies, so it's not something a sane corperation would shrug off lightly.

Re:Their Logic (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494936)

If I'm not mistaken, Power Users within IBM had the option of running a Linux laptop instead of the normal boring Microslop. I bet that part of the spinoff was an assurance that IBM would continue to use Linvo laptops for some period of time. Given those two tidbits, it may be that they just decided that if they have to support Linux anyway, might as well support it for anyone who wants to use it.

How much does Novell hate Lenovo right now??? (3, Interesting)

soren42 (700305) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494248)

After all these back-and-forth stories in the press, I imagine that Novell is pretty ticked at Lenovo around SLED 10. I mean, at the end of the day, it'll still be more sales - but not what it could have been. I think Linux-consumer confidence in Lenovo probably isn't very high now.

And that's sad, really, because Lenovo bundling/installing/supporting SLED would have been a big win for Novell and Linux on the desktop in general. Now it almost seems like an apology.

Re:How much does Novell hate Lenovo right now??? (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15500903)

More realistic. I would just be happy if they could get back to where the ThinkPad was, almost. Just make hardware and support Linux. Don't tie yourself into supporting only one flavor of Linux (RedHat, SuSE) because that's always going to piss off someone you don't support and it misses an opportunity for sales and support.

If they just made hardware with support, meaning the manufacturer would work willingly with the volunteer developers to create the GPL drivers necessary to distribute on any *NIX platform and keep Linux compatibility on their hardware selection requirements list it would mean worlds to the community. And the best part is, they wouldn't have to actually do anything to directly support the hardware. They just have to support the guy who wants to support the hardware and let their software product make it's own way into the distro packaging systems.

Oh good! (0, Redundant)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494250)

I've been looking for a Tablet PC, and the previous announcement forced me to mark the Thinkpad X41 tablet off my list (it was at the top). Now I can add it back, thankfully!

Re:Oh good! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494513)

I'd probably hold off on the X41. They are slow machines. Slow hard disks, slow CPU's, slow everything. The tablet function works great, but you'll get tired of waiting for things to respond.

The T60 and R60 are out, so the X60 shouldn't be far off. I believe there is a X60 tablet in the pipe as well.

If I were shopping for a tablet, I'd be looking for the X60 tablet.

Re:Oh good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494909)

The X41 is an IBM notebook/tablet. Although Lenovo now sells them, it was designed before IBM sold their mobile division to Lenovo. Newer models however, were designed by Lenovo engineers.

Lenovo's two stools (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494259)

On one hand, Microsoft, and their alleged "reluctance" to give you some neat price cuts for their OSs should you sell anything but their OSs.

On the other hand IBM, one of the heaviest pushers for alternative (read: Non-MS) OSs.

Dunno how cozy it is between Big Blue and Red Mond...

Re:Lenovo's two stools (1)

foamrotreturns (977576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494490)

Ummm... Hate to break it to you, but Lenovo is not IBM. IBM sold their Thinkpad division to Lenovo, which is a Chinese company. At this point in time, IBM has very little if anything at all to do with this.

Re:Lenovo's two stools (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495333)

Wrong. IBM has a lot to do with it at this time. First off, there will be a transition of employees. Second, Leveno NEEDS IBM to continue recommending thinkpads. While the contract may require IBM to push it, employees may decide to do otherwise (esp with encouragement by their managers). Finally, Leveno needs IBM just for the marketing.

Re:Lenovo's two stools (1)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495350)

RTF comment - He knows that. he is talking about the commercial arrangements with IBM as a major purchaser of Lenovo laptops and desktops.

In addition since IBM sets up deals with companies purchasing IBM servers and services, IBM is in a position to give recommendations on the sourcing of desktop and laptop purchasing.

Re:Lenovo's two stools (1)

CrimsonScythe (876496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494669)

By "stools", I assume you mean "turds"? And why do they have poo on their hands? I don't get it.

Re:Lenovo's two stools (2, Interesting)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495060)

Lenovo-not-IBM aside, is any discount offered for taking the Linux option instead of Windows? Chopping $300 off the price of a Thinkpad would make it much more affordable, especially when I don't intend to run Windows anyway.

Re:Lenovo's two stools (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495477)

It's most likely be far less than 300$. First of all, Lenovo will have to hammer out a way to create a fool-proof way to "reinstall" Linux, unattended and as easily as people are used from using IBM. I.e. CD in, turn on, wait 15 Minutes.

And second, I could imagine that MS has special deals with OEMs that sell a "few" licenses so they don't pay the 300$ we pay for the MS-OS.

Re:Lenovo's two stools (1)

Ruger (237212) | more than 8 years ago | (#15498269)

You get less then $100 back for M$ for the pre-load of Windows. The cost ot the OEM is very small.

Re:Lenovo's two stools (1)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15498420)

Thanks for the valuable information - a mere $100 actually makes it more worthwhile to buy the extra XP Pro product key.

Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (4, Insightful)

DoraLives (622001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494260)

pre-load Linux onto ThinkPads on a custom-order basis for customers who purchase licenses on their own.

Pretty tepid "support" if you ask me.

The Great Swarm isn't going to be doing much special requesting, which means there's not going to be all that many machines that actually wind up with linux on the hard drive.

Better than nothing, I guess. Sigh.

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (2)

TheOtherChimeraTwin (697085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494403)

But where can I purchase a Debian license? I've been trying to buy one, but no one will sell me one.

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (4, Funny)

flosofl (626809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494549)

But where can I purchase a Debian license? I've been trying to buy one, but no one will sell me one.
I'm sure SCO will sell you one that will cover all distributions. Cheap, too!

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494561)

I'll sell you one, for $699 USD.

-Daryl McBride

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15498705)

Here ya go [] . Just make sure to specify that you want it to go to "Debian."

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (1)

foleym (980890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494410)

Not what I'd call optimistic. sigh Put your shoes in the average Windows user. Would you want some alien OS you'll probably never use taking up precious storage space on your hard drive (assuming duel boot)?

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494486)

in a "duel boot" configuration between linux and windows, windows will probably win by replacing the MBR (and thereby your bootloader) with its own.

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (1)

SavoWood (650474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494512)

assuming duel boot

Is that like Gunfight at the OK Corral or Deliverance (Dueling Banjos)?

This conjures up images I can't even begin to describe adequately in the space given.

Sorry...couldn't resist that one. GRIN

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 8 years ago | (#15499878)

duel boot

Is that like Gunfight at the OK Corral or Deliverance (Dueling Banjos)?

Heh. It reminds me of the first time I tried building a dual-boot machine by installing linux on a Windows box. I ran linux for a few weeks, then one day had to do some testing against Windows, so I booted it up. When I tried going back to linux, I couldn't get it to boot. It turned out that Windows had made the linux partition non-bootable.

My investigation found a paragraph hidden in the machine's paperwork where they said that they did this, and that they had the right to write to any partition on the disk. When I got linux running again, the first thing I had it do was a mkfs on the Windows partition. That problem never happened again. I'd learned my lesson, and I've never allowed Windows on another of my machines. An OS that ruthlessly guns down others on sight (and brags about it in public) isn't welcome in these parts.

So Windows got in the first blow in the duel, but it died in the ensuing shootout.

Well, enough of that metaphor ...

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (3, Interesting)

writermike (57327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494593)

The Great Swarm isn't going to be doing much special requesting, which means there's not going to be all that many machines that actually wind up with linux on the hard drive.

Better than nothing, I guess. Sigh.

Yes, you're right, but I think it ultimately depends on what they wind up doing. If they offer a button during the customization phase of ordering, then that's progress. Yes, we would hope that, say, when the next Ubuntu came out they'd put a big flash banner on the front page announcing it's now available for all Lenovo laptops, but it's all still progress.

I think it's very interesting that they decided to backtrack at all. Clearly they've changed their minds and certainly that has to have come from some sort of outside pressure. In years past, I think any company such as this could have just as easily said, "Screw 'em." But Lenovo didn't. And for whatever reason they ultimately wound up announcing their backtrack, it's still progress.

Re:Not what I'd call enthusiastic.... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495451)

So are you encouraging a high return rate? Pushing Linux onto people that don't ask for it is a little disingenuous as the current standard is Windows. Most people don't consider that there are alternatives, but those alternatives don't have the apps that they want and they shouldn't have to relearn how to use a computer if they don't want to. Even if the alternative operating systems have equivalent apps, forcing them to relearn how to use all their apps and such is a bit much. It strikes me as disingenuous of a crowd to say they demand software choice when they are really demanding that people be forced onto a different platform from what they are expecting, against their will. You have the choice now, so I suggest not throwing it back in their face as not good enough.

My experience is that Configure to Order systems do offer Linux if it is supported, and it's easy to pick.

woo (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494262)

I knew it was a bad business decision to step away from a growing operating system. Way to stick it to the (M$) man! Go Lenovo, go Lenovo, go, go, go!

Re:woo.. and duck (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494343)

Steve Balmers going to be throwing chairs again ...

did I miss something here? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494269)

I thought Lenovo was based out of China, not Raleigh?

Re:did I miss something here? (2, Informative)

freshman_a (136603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494457)

I thought Lenovo was based out of China, not Raleigh?

That was always my impression as well. However, from their "About" page ( [] ):

Lenovo's executive headquarters are in Purchase, New York, USA with principal operations in Beijing, China, and Raleigh, North Carolina, USA and an enterprise sales organization worldwide. The company employs more than 19,000 people worldwide.

Re:did I miss something here? (1)

foleym (980890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494491)

Their corporate operations were in Purchase, N.Y, and recently moved to NC. Raleigh is where IBM's R&D campus was. Or something like that

Re:did I miss something here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494746)

They may "state" that they are based in Raleigh, but make no mistake about it, they are Chinese. A buddy of mine works for them in Raleigh, but loses his job in a couple of months as he is training his Chinese counterpart as a replacement.

I don't believe the quality will remain as it was under IBM. The Chinese worry too much about saving face, and have trouble when a problem doesn't fit the A-B-C repair flowchart.

Re:did I miss something here? (3, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494777)

Lenovo has always been based in Beijing, although much of their business operation moved to Hong Kong. The company was founded to make Chinese language expansion cards for the IBM PC and eventually became the largest PC manufacturer in China, under their own brands. When IBM went looking for someone to manufacture overseas Lenovo was a natural choice. They were called Legend then, but early in the century decided to move on their own into the international market, changed the name to Lenovo and established a corporate headquarters in NY.

Raliegh was the base of IBM's Personal Computer Division which Lenovo acquired when IBM sold it out. It's fairly natural for old timers in the trade to think of Raliegh as the base of operations when discussing the laptops and Lenovo is centralizing its nonasian operations there.

And it is good western business for them to foster the continuing impression that the company actually resides in Raliegh and is some sort of spinoff of IBM. In "west facing" press you will always hear about their American bases of operation and never about the Chinese.

I was researching a new brand of guitar (Walden) the other day. I wanted to know where they were based, and where the guitars were made. On their company website I couldn't find any clue as to where they are based and in only one place the mention that the guitars were made in the "small town of Lilan."

It turns out that the "small town of Lilan" is so small and obscure that it took a bit to track it down to China.

This is how the Chinese will be doing business here for awhile. Under American sounding brand names and either obscuring their base of operations or establishing/acquiring American bases and directing all press to that base. And so Lenovo becomes based in Raliegh, even though their "home" stock exchange is Hong Kong.


Re:did I miss something here? (1)

G Morgan (979144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495126)

You speak of this as if its a new thing. I laughed the other day when some site was discussing the quality of the new American Chevvys, the fact that they're a Korean car based heavily upon European technology seemed to escape them completely. It been the norm for some time to establish a company and declare the technology as American and thus patriotic when the reality is somewhat different.

Re:did I miss something here? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495474)

You speak of this as if its a new thing.

For me it is. I am now "middle aged," i.e. I have expended more than two thirds of my alloted three score and ten. In my youth countries of origin were brandished with a good deal of pride by manufacturers. There was a form of patriotism both in business and in consumption. The People often ignored brand names and refered to their possessions by country of origin. You owned a Japanese radio, not a Sony.

The example you give is entirely unlike what is going on now. You refer to a truely American company seeking to hide the foreign origin of their products, implying they are patriotically American. What the Chinese are doing is hiding the origins of their own products, failing to patriotically claim them as they used to. My violin was made in Beijing, but its brand name is one of the hills of Rome. Back in the day most inexpensive violins didn't even have brand names. They simply had countries of origin.

Historically if one wanted to obscure the origin of a product sold in America one would seek to give it a false foreign one, because certain import items were more valuable than the domestic product (like, oooh, china).


I guess this means... (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494314)

I guess this just means that there aren't Linux drivers for all those snazzy spytools that Lenovo's been putting in their machines...

It may have gone like this... (5, Funny)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494325)

Lenovo: "We will not support Linux."

IBM: "We won't let you keep using the names and trademarks we made famous if you do not support Linux."

Lenovo: "We will support Linux."

The only thing missing is a little ass kissing...

Re:It may have gone like this... (4, Interesting)

vrwarp (624266) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494394)

I thought the announcement that Lenovo was going to drop linux support was odd since they are a China based company after all. The last time I checked, the chinese government wanted to move away from windows and instead, back linux.

Re:It may have gone like this... (2, Interesting)

lxt518052 (720422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495226)

I'd rather view the decisions purely from a business perspective.

Unlike in the 70s, there're more and more things over which the government has no control, Lenovo being one. A lot of people think Lenovo is a government controlled company and that's why they bought IBM's PC business. The truth is, however, if Lenovo had been such a company, it wouldn't have stood a chance in competition against rivals such as Dell and HP. The bureaucracy alone would have killed it. They've got to have a hell of business sense to become what they are today.

On the issue of Linux on their PCs, I don't think that's IBM's influence either. They might have been the first major (local) brand to sell PCs preloaded with Linux in the world. Here's a news page in Chinese. [] Note the date was 20/06/2000.

But again, they've probably been the largest OEM customer of Microsoft in China and hence contributes to MS China's revenue more than anyone else. There must have been a lot of pressure from MS to keep them away from Linux (Hint: pricing of their OEM Windows).

Sure, IBM gives a big push behind Linux. But they've SOLD the PC business to Lenovo anyway. They don't pay Lenovo executives wages. The previleges and responsibilities in regard to the IBM PC brand have been written on the contracts, memos and leagal documents on the day of acqusition. What influence does IBM still have over Lenovo?

Whether Lenovo is pro-linux or against it, that's Lenovo's own decision, and they make that decision purely on a business basis.

Re:It may have gone like this... (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495314)

Actually when China's head of state visited the U.S. a few weeks back the first person he visited was Bill Gates and not George W. They cut a deal where China was going to work harder to stop Windows piracy and Microsoft was going to invest a billion or two more in China.

I wager Lenovo's announcement dropping Linux might have been due to government pressure to only sell Windows on their machines to keep Uncle Bill happy. You see Uncle Bill is of the opinion that any PC that ships without Windows and without paying the Windows tax is probably going to have Linux wiped off the disk when it gets home, and pirated Windows installed, therefor in his view Linux PC's equal Windows piracy.

I'm not sure China has a real preference in the OS wars beyond the fact that they don't want to pay royalties to a Western company like Microsoft for the privilege of running one. It cuts in to the hundreds of billions in trade surplus with the West, and we cant have that. So the Chinese government pushes Linux because its free but they will push Windows as long as Uncle Bill sends them billions in investment to make up for it. Its a win-win for Uncle Bill since he gets more Windows tax money, snuffs out some Linux competition, and then he just send the Windows tax money back to China and gets a stake in Chinese hardware and software companies for it. China gets an industry heavyweight investing in the China instead of the U.S. and the money Uncle Bill sends to them cancels out the Windows tax they send to him.

month or so ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15498844)

chinese el supremo fatcat wu or hu or whatever comes to the US for the big official visit. He does NOT go to washington DC first to see "chimp -king of drunken redneck liars", he DID go to billy g gates armored island for a banquet.

I think it is safe to say that china willl be "supporting" MS software products. A major part of the deal for china in the WTO is to at least make a stab at ending piracy. to that end they passed a law, no computer ships bare, all computers MUST have a LEGIT operating system on them to leave4 the factory.

Like the other asian nations, they are play acting at linux and open source, but deep down they are MS fanboys because they are juvenile video game addicts for the most part. If it gets to the point they can't pirate, MS will just keep cutting them deals until it is cheap enough, afterall, a "copy" of his products cost TWO FREEKING CENTS at the most. He could sell XP for one dollar download or three delivered on disk and *still* make a profit.

Re:It may have gone like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494479)

Indeed. Wait till IBM pull a CocaCola on everyone... and start marketing ThinkPad Classic. I'd imagine that would be a pretty popular laptop---likely more popular than the original (currently lenovo) ThinkPads.

That will happen in about 4 or so years, when Lenovo can no longer use the IBM brand.

Re:It may have gone like this... (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495351)

IBM: "We won't let you keep using the names and trademarks we made famous if you do not support Linux."

I really doubt Lenovo would have been stupid enough to sign a deal with IBM that let IBM unilaterally take back its brands and trademarks. When it comes to blackmail its almost 100% the Chinese who are blackmailing the Western companies and not the other way around as in, "if you want access to our markets you do what we say". In IBM's case it was "if you want access to our markets you are going to sell your flagship consumer brand to a Chinese company" and IBM did what they were told (though they probably wanted to ditch their PC division anyway since its a saturated market).

Re:It may have gone like this... (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495939)

From Lenovo's site:

Lenovo and IBM have a strategic alliance designed to provide a best-in-class experience for enterprise customers. The companies have entered into significant, long-term agreements that give customers preferred access to IBM's world-class customer service organization and global financing offerings, and that enable Lenovo to take advantage of IBM's powerful worldwide distribution and sales network. Lenovo's customers are able to count on the entire IBM team - including sales, services and financing - for access to IBM's legendary end-to-end IT solutions. As part of a five-year commitment, IBM will also provide Lenovo with warranty services and offer Lenovo customers leasing and financing arrangements. Through this long-term relationship, customers will receive the best products with the lowest total-cost-of-ownership.

I think IBM still has some influence in this relationship. Their reputations are somewhat linked in this regard and they would defend their interests.

Re:It may have gone like this... (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496663)

It may not have gone exactly like that, but it probably was similar. The day the announcement hit, I emailed my Lenovo rep to confirm the news. I also emailed my IBM rep separately, saying something along the lines of "at our work, we view Lenovo and IBM as being pretty much tied together - there's an IBM logo on the Lenovo ThinkPads we just bought, for example." And then asking IBM to confirm their continued support of Linux, as my part of the business runs a lot of IBM servers to run Linux.

IBM responded with a statement to the effect of "IBM and Lenovo are definitely not tied together; Lenovo does their own thing, and IBM still supports Linux."

Lenovo responded with a "hold on, I'm verifying this upstream." The next email I got was a pre-announcement that Lenovo was reversing course and will support Linux.

I did wonder at the time if IBM put any pressure on Lenovo. I'm sure my one email didn't have much impact, but I'm positive that other IBM reps received similar email correspondence from their customers. :-)

Excellent (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494331)

They know what's good for them.

WOW (0, Offtopic)

infosec_spaz (968690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494461)

What a bunch of pussies!!

Linux Crowd (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494507)

Perhaps if the Linux crowd would voice their opinions about Linux, and other topics as well, instead of acting so timid and polite, in fear of offending others, perhaps Lenovo would learn that there's a large group of people that have strong feelings, deep, down inside, about Linux.

Cool way do get a few quants of publicity... (1)

Sheltem The Guardian (940038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494558)

I mean, first we tell we'll remove something and then we tell we'll keep. Both times - a lot of articles and blog posts...

Backtrack on what statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494632)

They said they denied cutting Linux support.

Non-Story (2, Interesting)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15494678)

This entire thing is non-news. IBM was not shipping Linux on PCs and ThinkPads. Now Levano is not shipping Linux on PCs and ThinkPads. There's been no change in policy or "backtracking".

Apparently a lot of you saw an IBM Linux commercial and then invented a fantasy world where IBM was selling Linux to desktop users. They weren't, and they've been consistant in saying that there is no real demand for such outside of particular consulting opportunitites.

Re:Non-Story (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496112)

Kudos to you. I'm not sure what kind of kool-aid some of the slashdotters (and me) are drinking. Initially I was wondering, but after reading a few of their comments even makes me think as if IBM sells tons of Linux laptop/desktop before.

This is worse than non-news, esp. given the kind of titles are so misleading (backtracking). Everybody, including /. wants to be their audiences fox news.

Stuff Leonovo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15494688)

Speaking as a Brit, I couldn't give a stuff if Leonovo were the only company in the world offering preinstalled Linux.

They just today announced the closure of their Scottish factory, so I'll be buying from their competitors in future and I'll install Linux myself.

Re:Stuff Leonovo (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496280)

You have to consider that Lenovo has been under a lot of international pressure, including concerted campaigns from Human Rights groups, to close their operations in Scotland, a country infamous for its low wages, and poor treatment of prisoners, many of whom are subjected to various inhumane tortures such as bagpipe music, and being fed only haggis washed down with "Special Brew".

It's not surprising they closed the plant and moved operations back to China.

Re:Stuff Leonovo (1)

lxt518052 (720422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15497711)

What car do you drive? Will you boycott GM too? They recently laid off a lot of workers at their Vauxhaul factory near Liverpool. And perhaps Peogeut too. They are doing what Lenovo is doing.

As a consumer, you are free to vote with your money. But this is globalization, I'm afraid. Individual companies are not the one to blame. They have to make a profit for their shareholders. It is the government's job to keep the competitive edge of UK industries.

BTW, by choosing Lenovo's competitors, you probably don't mind paying Windows tax, do you? Even though you're using Linux, right?

you know what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15498965)

I am just sick and tired of "shareholders" and their freeking something for basically nothing mindset. It doesn't matter to "shareholders" where their money comes from or who it hurts or helps as long as they get their's.

I'm gonna start rooting for a stock market crash and currency collapse, anything to stop this lowest common denominator "money is the almighty" madness. And when it happens, when desitute straglers come by seeking some food, first question I am going to ask them is what they "lost" what company they "invested" in. If they say "blah blah blah transnational corporation" that shipped everything to china or elsewhere, then tough titty no food for them. If they say "naw, not an investor, just went broke when the plant closed/or job got shipped to asia", then they get some food. The "investors" can go to a public terminal someplace and "download" some jpegs of food for all I care at this point.

Every other story around here it is the same, the "investors" demand profits, "investors" in blood profits companies like halliburton, or scum bag gougers like exxon, or pharmco misery profiteers--I just don't care about those "investors" any longer, I think they are leeches and need to renounce their US citizenship and declare themselves citizens of their bleeding for-profit corporations. Maybe china will take them in, good riddance.

You know what, part two? As I was growing up I called myself a "capitalist", then as I got older I finally realised exactly what that meant, it means greedy, don't care about anyone else "predator". No other word for it, parasitic predators now.

I work for a living, own no stock, and never will now, that system is broken and is inhuman. It "makes money" for some people, but it is close to being demonic in nature, pandering to the lowest common denominator of avarice and universal global exploitation. That's all globalism is, go around the world once you are rich enough and take advantage of near slave wage potential, then dump those folks and move on to go exploit someone else. Screw 'em, I have no truck with those sorts of scumbags.

Buy? (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495017)

... said they would continue to work with customers who wanted Linux on ThinkPads - under a process that allows customers to buy the Linux license themselves ...

BUY a linux license? That just shows how far out of touch with the real world most 'executives' are.

Re:Buy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15495426)

You do realize that enterprise versions of linux are usually not free

Re:Buy? (1)

heybo (667563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508858)

I am sure that the person is. I think his point is as with me I perfer RedHat FC4. How do you buy that licenses? You don't. Last year I bought a laptop from (GREAT LAPTOP!) The offered FC3 for free but would load RHL3 or SuSE for the price on the licenses. Your choice. Isn't that what you should have a choice?

Doesn't Change MY Position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15495465)

I've been an interested watcher of this entire debacle by Lenova and they've said absolutely nothing to change my position of not considering their products and the funny thing is that when they Lenova Account Manager finally got back to me after I cancelled the 50 laptop order due to their policy, I told him, they've not stated any real change in policy and because of that, I will no longer do any business with them. Sorry but you've still lost any possibility of my ordering hardware from you as I prefer to keep my options open as much as possible and based on You're employers stated support for Linux, it aint happening.

Purchse Linux license on their own?? (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495492)

"[...] it would continue to pre-load Linux onto ThinkPads on a custom-order basis for customers who purchase licenses on their own."

Oh well, if only Linux licenses were a little cheaper this would be a nice outcome.

I imagine (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495648)

They got a call from their largest customer, Big Blue.

Lenova corporate accounts, hello.

Yeah, uh I was just about to place an order for next years sales force laptops and I came across this article...Is it this true?..

Yes sir, our company strategy is to support Microsoft Windows only.

Hmmm.. Our corporate Stratagy is to Bury Microsoft Windows, payback is a bitch. I guess we will be placing orders for fewer laptops this year.

How Fewer?



Lenovo Phone support (1)

Jumpy (24568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15495890)

Recently, my employer bought me a Lenovo T43 thinkpad. As soon as the
product recovery CDS were burned I started putting fedora on it.

Later I had some problems on the windows install (I left it on as a dual boot machine)
So I ended up calling tech support about it. (IBM's thinkvantage software installer
updater was trippin and I didn't know why)

Once they had me straitened out on the windows side I mentioned that 95% of the time I
just used Linux on their thinkpad `cause I have little use for Windows. (My job is in
Linux support) The phone support person from Lenovo said they heard that a lot of
their customers use Linux on their products and that I wasn't alone in that respect.

I never got much in the way of support on the phone for Linux. (Not that I tried) But I
did find a lot of helpful information on various web pages people have set up. I think
I've got everything working now. (Though its prolly illigal for us to watch our DVD's in
totem on these things, eh?)

N.ew C.hina (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15496002)

"Raleigh, N.C.-based company"

Lenovo is a Chinese company. Raleigh is not (yet) Chinese territory.

Who would trust anything coming from the two sides of the mouth [] of this company based on two sides of the world, depending on to whom they're talking?

Title misleading (as usual) (1)

argel (83930) | more than 8 years ago | (#15497317)

Based on this CNET article [] it looks like Frank Kardonski was talking about selling licensed copies of Linux (which I assume means a paid for support copy of SuSE, Red Hat, etc.). Basically, just a mis-communication. Yawn.

It doesn't smell of enthusiasm... (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15498120) smells of lawyers and broken contracts. Will Novell's SuSE Desktop really be that groundbreaking?

I think not.

Red Star Linux (1)

Biff Stu (654099) | more than 8 years ago | (#15498654)

I wonder if there might have been some pressure to support Red Star Linux at home?
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