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Lenovo to Sell, Support Linux on ThinkPads

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the march-of-the-distributions dept.

Portables 243

Pengo writes "Lenovo has announced that they will begin selling T-series ThinkPads with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 pre-installed beginning sometime during the fourth quarter. In addition to supplying the hardware support, Lenovo will also handle OS support for ThinkPad customers, with Novell providing software updates. 'Unlike Dell, which has targeted its Linux offering primarily at the enthusiast community, Lenovo's SLED laptops are targeted at the enterprise. Whether they are running Ubuntu, SLED, or some other distribution, the availability of Linux pre-installation from mainstream vendors increases the visibility of the operating system and gives component makers an incentive to provide better Linux drivers and hardware support. If Lenovo is willing to collaborate with the Linux development community to improve the Linux laptop user experience, it will be a big win for all Linux users, not just the ones who buy laptops from Lenovo.'"

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Finally! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133089)

2007 is the year of Linux on the desktop!

Re:Finally! (5, Funny)

Mac_D83 (616934) | about 7 years ago | (#20133135)

Nope RTFA :-) 2007 is the year of Linux on the laptop!

Re:Finally! (1)

solevita (967690) | about 7 years ago | (#20133173)

And we're just about three quarters of the way through 2007, so the most optimistic prediction we can make is that 2008 will be the year for Linux on the laptop. I think that this is a great move, but it's not going to change much overnight.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20134175)

And we're just about three quarters of the way through 2007

I dunno what timezone you're in, but I've still got just about two months before October starts.

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

Seismologist (617169) | about 7 years ago | (#20133243)

I'm eating lunch (in left hand) and typing (with right hand), how is that for an insightful response to this for insightful posting.

Note to moderator, I recommend the "insightful" tag for this response.

Stinkpads (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133227)

They now come full of shit.

Worf is NOT a Ferengi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133757)


Yes it is the Year of Linux. (3, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20134011)

2007 is much more the year of gnu/linux than it is the year of Vista [] . First Dell, now Lenovo. Acer might soon decide their Singapore gnu/linux laptop has a market in the UK and US after all. That would leave HP as the only one of the big four desktop makers who don't sell models with gnu/linux. Driver support for Linux is already good but vendor demand is going to make it better, which is why M$ has done everyting in their power to keep vendors from doing this. Vista is a flop and no one is making money off the upgrade train anymore, so M$ has nothing to offer, vendors have nothing to lose and the M$ death spiral is on.

Death spiral? Yep. They did not have the resources to make Vista modern or even functional. Low sales of Vista have flatlined their revenue, so they will never have the resources to recover. Vendors are defecting and that lowers the likely hood that Vista will ever be ready and reduces their ability to sabotage free software with bogus non standards.

The non free way has finally failed. This will be good for everyone but M$.

Re:Yes it is the Year of Linux. (-1, Flamebait)

Macthorpe (960048) | about 7 years ago | (#20134135)

2007 is much more the year of gnu/linux than it is the year of Vista.
Did you deduce that from the statistics that show that Vista is already being used on more than seven times [] the number of Linux machines? Despite the fact that Linux has been going for years and Vista has barely been going for nine months?

You never disproved my assertion that selling a wider range of products leads to less sales of the products being sold, either. That's probably because you can't.

Re:Yes it is the Year of Linux. (2, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20134443)

M$ Fanboy, Macthorpe [] thinks that Vista has captured seven times the market share of gnu/linux:

2007 is much more the year of gnu/linux than it is the year of Vista. Did you deduce that from the statistics that show that Vista is already being used on more than seven times the number of Linux machines?

No, I based it on low sales of Vista and industry disappointment [] . That's not suprising, given the 12% interest in Vista in polls of both business and home users. If those polls are correct, a 5% market share for Vista could only happen if something between 25 and 50% of all computers were replaced in the last six months. That's unlikely, so something is clearly wrong with your little market share boast.

Not even M$'s wildest boasts put Vista on that kind of footing. There are some one billion on internet connected computers in the world. M$ would like people to believe their channel stuffing has sold 20 million copies of Vista, a paltry 2%. Converting that to real users is something I'll let you bother with.

WRONG (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20134721)

Windows Vista is best OS in the history of mankind and is the fastest selling OS ever as well. The only thing that stands in the way of complete Vista domination is how excellent XP is. Most Windows XP users are so happy, they don't even want to switch to Vista. Put that in your pipe, cocksmoker.

Linux?? Hahahahahha!! You are a failure.

Re:WRONG (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 years ago | (#20134815)

That's all just market inertia.

Take a stream of Dells, remove the XP OEM installs from them and insert Vista OEM installs.

That's just more of the same.

Linux and BeOS (2, Insightful)

MechaBlue (1068636) | about 7 years ago | (#20134705)

At the least, it looks like Linux is becoming viable for the desktop. One of the challenges that Be Inc. faced with their BeOS was that they could not get any mainstream distributor to ship it (this was largely due to the secret contract that Microsoft forced OEMs to sign). Linux appears to have cleared this hurdle with multiple vendors supporting it and even more on the way. It probably won't see the popularity of Mac OS X any time soon, let alone compete with Windows, but it now has the potential to do so.

Areas where there needs to be improvement:
- Advanced file system (i.e., better than FAT32) that Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux understand.
- Major vendors shipping and supporting multi-boot systems. Even better if each OS can run the other(s) in a VM out of the box.

The easier it is for Linux and Windows to interoperate, the faster Linux's market share will grow.

Phooey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133099)

That really undercuts the "but does it run Linux" question.

Big mistake (0, Troll)

The_Abortionist (930834) | about 7 years ago | (#20133143)

Its support center will be flooding with calls about printers and wireless network not working...

Does Lenovo have a plan to deal with all the returned laptops caused by the defective OS? At least Microsoft dealt promptly with the XBOX 360 issues.

Re:Big mistake (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133655)

You know, my old Apple laser printer doesn't work with my Windows XP Thinkpad. Should I call Lenovo and complain? Also, my Atari 2600 Joystick doesn't work either. What a defect!

Or maybe printers that require Windows XP... require Windows XP. There's no reason for this to be a problem. If you're too dumb to figure out what's not compatible before purchase, then buy a Mac or WebTV or something easy like that.

I'm pretty sure the wifi adaptor built in to the laptop will work, though.

Re:Big mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20134009)

If you're too dumb to figure out what's not compatible before purchase, then buy a Mac or WebTV or something easy like that.
Then they'd complain that the .exe attachments they get from emails won't run on their Mac.

Re:Big mistake (0, Troll)

tadd (51292) | about 7 years ago | (#20133827)

You might be trying to be funny, but you're a fucking moron, please for the good of humanity, kill yourself... now!

Re:Big mistake (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 7 years ago | (#20134173)

Linux has been running flawlessly (as far as I can tell) on my Thinkpad T40 ever since I got it, and also on my 600E before that. Go figure.

Re:Big mistake (1)

rimugu (701444) | about 7 years ago | (#20134415)

In my old 600E (now property of my father in law) linux ran well. But without energy saving functions.

about time! (5, Interesting)

ianare (1132971) | about 7 years ago | (#20133149)

They announced this exactly a year ago [] !

Re:about time! (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 7 years ago | (#20133453)

That's why this is a completely different announcement, that actually references last year's decision:
"We have seen more customers utilizing and requesting open source notebook solutions in education, government, and the enterprise since our ThinkPad T60p Linux announcement, and today's announcement expands upon our efforts by offering customers more Linux options," said Lenovo VP Sam Dusi in a statement.

(That's from the article, which you clearly did not read)

Re:about time! (1)

dm0527 (975468) | about 7 years ago | (#20134167)

I think you may have misread the title to the parent post and therefore misunderstood the intention of the post. His post said "about time", as in "yay! finally they're doing what they said [here]".

Then again, he could have been trying to be a jerk...

Re:about time! (4, Funny)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | about 7 years ago | (#20133455)

They announced this exactly a year ago!

and they'll announce it again exactly a year from now! it's like festivus... we do it every year!

Like Dell? (1)

Chikenistheman (992447) | about 7 years ago | (#20133151)

Maybe they won't make it specifically for the enthusiast, but will they include the bells/whistles/extra memory that Windows users get for free/reduced cost?

This is great, if... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133153)

you want to support Microsoft and their deal with Novell. May I suggest a boycott?

Re:This is great, if... (2, Interesting)

nofrak (889021) | about 7 years ago | (#20133283)

No you may not. We (the community) are losing right now. Doing better and better, but still losing and losing pretty hard. We need to take what we can get. Baby steps, man, baby steps.

Re:This is great, if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133569)

>We (the community) are losing right now.

That doesn't make the least bit of sense. Losing what?

Microsoft is a bully, they should just stick to developing their software and stay out of the business of others, but noooo... You don't submit to a bully with the hope that "Gee, if I let him kick me around this year, maybe he'll kick less next year..."

>We need to take what we can get.

You can get pretty much anything but Novell's SUSE. Not really that much of a sacrifice. Maybe some Microsoft-untainted Ubuntu?

There's this idea that if we boycott business that get in bed with MS, then MS win. It's rubbish. If I may go a bit melodramatic; As long as there is a resistance, there is hope, and that hope is with them, not collaborators like Novell.

"Our children need to know that, some people fought back, and others collaborated." To quote a certain fictional President.

Re:This is great, if... (2, Interesting)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | about 7 years ago | (#20133745)

YES, why should we support a company that is spending lots of time and money in making the things you use (Linux/FOSS)better. We should definitely not use ANYTHING from Novell..... /sarcasm.

Re:This is great, if... (3, Insightful)

Mistlefoot (636417) | about 7 years ago | (#20133639)

I have mod points right now and small part of me wanted to Mod you down. I really do try not to mod people down because their opinions differ from mine though so here I am posting.

Small steps in the wrong direction aren't good steps. They actually get you further from your goal.
While I am not certain that this is actually in the wrong direction - I do know that the Novell - Microsoft agreement is NOT THE RIGHT direction.

Losing does not justify making bad decisions.

Note as well that losing is your word. I did not realize that have a plethora of available software packages and alternatives meant losing. If you mean that the OS community is smaller then Microsoft then I'll agree. But when I want to run a LAMP server or toss Ubuntu on my new box I can do that.

I do have the freedom to choose. Agreements like the Novell - Microsoft agreement lead towards losing many of those freedoms.

Re:This is great, if... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 7 years ago | (#20134275)

Linux on a Laptop or not? That is the choice CONSUMERS have.

The vendor's choice is "which distro" and that just leads to a Distro War, and a lose/lose result in the eyes of the consumer.

While I agree that we shouldn't want to reward SuSE/Novell for their boneheaded mistake. That mistake however has no bearing upon Linux what-so-ever. It only bears upon MS and Novell. Linux is largely immune (due to copyright/license type) to what MS thought they were buying. (IMHO)

So, again the choice is "Linux on your laptop" or "Vista on your laptop", which choice do you want???

Never mind the increased (Hopefully) driver support within Linux, which will have to be a large part of a successful Linux story.

Re:This is great, if... (1)

masdog (794316) | about 7 years ago | (#20134759)

Maybe Novell-Microsoft is a bad move. Maybe it was an attempt to trap Microsoft under GPL v.3 that backfired. Maybe it was Novell trying to bring the Windows and Linux worlds closer together with some attempt at easing patent concerns for some businesses.

Regardless of that, isn't getting users some exposure to linux, even if it is from someone attached to Microsoft, a good thing?

Re:This is great, if... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133473)

No. But you can shut the hell up.

Easier to install your own. (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20134237)

This is great if you want to support Microsoft and their deal with Novell. May I suggest a boycott?

It would be more productive to ask for the distribution of your choice and purchase only models known to work with that distro. I've yet to go wrong with a used Thinkpad but I would not trust a vendor supplied distro anyway. If it came with nifty tweaks, I would look at them and duplicate the setting, but change the binaries out.

The choice corporate customers have is Novel or Vista. If they chose Novel, it won't be long before vendors get smart and cut M$ out of the deal. GPL 3 has extinguished the patent threat, so the Novel deal is dead in the water anyway. It's not like it really provided and of the promised compatibility, so the extra cost is all waste and not even Novel will like it.

Well (2, Informative)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20133157)

I may be dense but why should I care about what OS a company is putting on their machines? Leaving the ideological reasons out, an OS is no more thatn a tool and only I should care about it. I will never understand people that get an orgasm because Linuzzz OSX, Solaris or whatever object of their desire is getting more exposure. Just use it and if you dont like it, uninstall it and istall whatever does it for yoy.

After 10 years of driving an Open I am now driving a Nissan. I am pleasing with it, but I be damned if i care if Nissan is worldwide being adopted as the cure of cancer or not. I just drive my damn Nissan and don't care if my neighbor drive a Volvo or hate japanese cars....

Re:Well (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20133223)

Driver support for Free Software operating systems on laptops is traditionally somewhat hit and miss. If a large manufacturer is providing Linux pre-installed, then this means that they are going to be building laptops out of components that have Linux drivers. This makes shopping for a laptop much easier for anyone planning on running Linux (or *BSD, for that matter).

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

Eddi3 (1046882) | about 7 years ago | (#20133305)

Not only that; If more people run Linux, more hardware vendors will be willing to make drivers for their products. This is a Good Thing.

Re:Well (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | about 7 years ago | (#20133629)

Even better if they release the hardware specs and let the community write the drivers for them!

Re:Well (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | about 7 years ago | (#20133641)

Or open source their own drivers ;-)

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) | about 7 years ago | (#20134033)

Driver support for Free Software operating systems on laptops is traditionally somewhat hit and miss. If a large manufacturer is providing Linux pre-installed, then this means that they are going to be building laptops out of components that have Linux drivers.

The best part about this is you've got two separate companies (Lenovo and Dell), two different product lines (Thinkpads and Inspirons), and two different distributions of Linux (SUSE and Ubuntu). This means that both companies and both distros will be pushing to get laptop hardware support working well with Linux.

If you've just got Dell trying to buy compatible hardware for a single product line, then good Linux support for each laptop component might only come from a single manufacturer. Now that Lenovo's in the game, they'll be looking for Linux compatibility from their hardware manufacturers' as well; manufacturers which are bound to be different in many cases from Dell's. Let's also not forget software configuration, how many times have you been using one distro and just can't get some piece of hardware to work, you find a solution online, but come to find out it's only if you're using a certain distro with a certain kernel version.

This situation means better hardware support for everyone no matter the distro or company (or lack there of).

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

hackus (159037) | about 7 years ago | (#20134227)

Mmmm.....well almost.

Driver support isn't a question of well, Lenovo is selling laptops with linux preinstalled, maybe we should make a driver!

Historically, the open source community has been very resourceful at making their own drivers, very good ones too.

My response to this would be, "So what!".

What has to change, is patent law before we get great linux drivers for video cards say.

That way, Nvidia and ATI can't sue each other when they find out both are using the others patents.

That won't ever happen, because they have everything locked up tighter than a drum.

My point is, all the manufacturers have to do is open up their hardware.

The open source community can do the rest.

Really we can.


Re:Well (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | about 7 years ago | (#20133259)

The quote at the bottom of the page currently is:

'When choosing between two evils, I always like to take the one I've never tried before. -- Mae West, "Klondike Annie"'

That pretty much sums it up. Microsoft is inherently evil, and the sooner they fall, the better, IMHO. So when I tell someone to use Linux, I'm helping that purpose, and besides, Windows isn't any better Linux, and Linux is free, so why not?

Re:Well (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 7 years ago | (#20133291)

Maybe you don't really care if you can get cheaper after market parts for your car due to its wide usage, but I do. I also like the perk of being able to get parts at a junkyard. Both of these options make it far cheaper for me to get my car worked on than if the manufacturer was the only source.

Similarly with Linux, if IBM and Dell mass produce and spread awareness compatible third party hardware will be more available. I am happy to see this news because I felt like things were slowly creeping in the wrong direction regarding hardware support, and already Dell is pushing to make things better.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133339)

You care because what you need for your work to get done depends on many factors, one is the OS. I am surprised you needed this reminder.

Re:Well (1)

ericrost (1049312) | about 7 years ago | (#20133371)

Please stop with the Linuzzz trollzzz. It is pretty stupid. If you "don't care" so much, why do you make Linuzzz trollzzz every time there's an article about Linux getting some exposure? Makes it seem like you care.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133787)

because you people are fun to dick on? that's my guess. that's why i troll the linsux users.

It's about choice. (1)

dclozier (1002772) | about 7 years ago | (#20133707)

Not that we need another car analogy but since you brought up... You have to admit it is nice that you can purchase tires for your Nissan or your neighbor's Volvo from multiple tire companies. If one of these companies is having quality issues you can switch to a different brand. Isn't that special? Now if the operating system on your laptop runs into quality issues wouldn't it also be nice to switch to a different company? Choice is always in the best interest of the consumer.

Why SuSE and not Red Star linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133177)

You know, China's house blend

Re:Why SuSE and not Red Star linux? (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | about 7 years ago | (#20133781)

You mean Red Flag Linux, perhaps? I would venture to guess it comes from the fact that they plan on selling these in the US and the EU.

linux FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133191)

I sense another 600 "year of the linux desktop" articles in the works.

Customer service (4, Interesting)

toppavak (943659) | about 7 years ago | (#20133197)

I'm particularly excited about Lenovo handling the OS support themselves, I've owned a thinkpad for several years now and have always had amazingly prompt and effective support from them... My optical drive's tray broke a couple weeks ago, and it took them exactly 4 days to get it fixed from picking up the phone to getting the laptop back in full working order.

Re:Customer service (3, Interesting)

Provocateur (133110) | about 7 years ago | (#20133425)

How has the built-in wifi support fared on Linux on Lenovos lately? Were you able to use Linux/OSS drivers, and steered clear of ndiswrapper?

Just curious.

Re:Customer service (1)

JonLatane (750195) | about 7 years ago | (#20134045)

I don't know about current Lenovo Thinkpads, but my old T43 uses an Atheros chipset, so it requires MadWifi. It's got non-free components, but it works pretty well (although Ubuntu's NetworkManager always had trouble with the driver and non-broadcast networks).

Re:Customer service (1)

toppavak (943659) | about 7 years ago | (#20134449)

Ubuntu- from breezy till edgy all work out of the box (i have the intel built-in) FC4 & 5- worked out of the box Gentoo- dont even ask.

System Administration in the Rabbit's Warren. (1)

delire (809063) | about 7 years ago | (#20133245)

Let's hope they can de-complexify SUSE's YAST [] . Few things could make Linux look more complex to fresh eyes.

Re:System Administration in the Rabbit's Warren. (3, Interesting)

Constantine XVI (880691) | about 7 years ago | (#20133315)

According to TFS, these machines are targeted at the enteprise. And from the word on the street, YAST is a godsend for networked system management (since YAST handles way more than packages if you haven't noticed).
However, I would appreciate it if someome were to work on a similar product (or a port) to Ubuntu.

Re:System Administration in the Rabbit's Warren. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#20133725)

However, I would appreciate it if someome were to work on a similar product (or a port) to Ubuntu.

I toyed with the idea, but with YaST and Anaconda/Kickstart being open source, why not just port YaST or Anaconda to Ubuntu? Heck, anaconda is already ported to Debian, right? Should be a piece of cake, no?

Re:System Administration in the Rabbit's Warren. (3, Informative)

krgallagher (743575) | about 7 years ago | (#20133497)

"Let's hope they can de-complexify SUSE's YAST. Few things could make Linux look more complex to fresh eyes."

I find that very interesting. I have been running Suse for many years now, and one of the reasons is YAST. I like the fact that I can use it in text mode and do remote administration without running X. I have always found it to be a very user friendly application. I was also very pleased that when Novel bought Suse, one of the first things they did was open YAST. I would like to see it included with more distributions.

Re:System Administration in the Rabbit's Warren. (1)

locus_standi (631116) | about 7 years ago | (#20134283)

What are you talking about? YAST is one the big reasons I use SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. It is quite feature-rich when it comes to administrative tasks and as someone mentioned, the ability to run YAST through a ssh console session is extremely handy.

Flip Flop (5, Interesting)

head_dunce (828262) | about 7 years ago | (#20133265)

Well I remember not too long ago about how Lenovo would not install or support Linux [] . And the first comment on that page, "They'll come crawling back to us when Vista turns out to be a flop."


Vista? (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 7 years ago | (#20133307)

My gut reaction is that Vista's poor reception helped make this happen. Partly because of poor customer demand, and partly because it forced Lenovo and Dell to look elsewhere for product differentiation.

Am I right?

Offering XP is product differentiation (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#20133439)

Flop or not, most places are still pushing Vista because that is what Microsoft tells them to do. Those that also offer XP have a differentiator.

Re:Vista? (0)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#20133699)

>>Am I right?

No. Vista is pretty irrelevant to Linux.

Re:Vista? (2, Insightful)

Eddi3 (1046882) | about 7 years ago | (#20133759)

No. But Vista is relevant to alienation. This has been driving people away from Windows, and in some cases, into Linux.

One caveat (0)

HangingChad (677530) | about 7 years ago | (#20133321)

the availability of Linux pre-installation from mainstream vendors increases the visibility of the operating system and gives component makers an incentive to provide better Linux drivers and hardware support.

That only holds true if vendors can write a single driver for Linux. If they have to write five different Linux drivers, they're going to scoff.

But it's okay that they have to support drivers for five different versions of Windows, that's no problem. But I guarantee they'll get all pissy pants if they have to support more than one distro of Linux.

I actually thinks this plays into MSFT's hand.

Re:One caveat (1)

toppavak (943659) | about 7 years ago | (#20133357)

Correct my if Im mistaken, but I was under the impression that afaik all hradware drivers are distribution agnostic.

Re:One caveat (1)

ianare (1132971) | about 7 years ago | (#20133397)

I thought all distros used the same drivers, with maybe a few patches added by the distro maker. Could you give an example of a linux driver that is significantly different between distros? Not trying to be an ass, genuinely curious.

Re:One caveat (1)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 7 years ago | (#20134381)

I believe the binary for each kernel version is unique, keeping one from willy-nilly mixing and matching.

The OP may have misspoke a little, but unless two distributions use identical kernel versions, I believe they will require different binaries.

The source code, of course, could be identical. This situation usually requires a module or driver be compiled to suit the kernel in use, traditionally by the Linux user.

I do not mind being corrected when I am wrong.

Re:One caveat (1)

edwdig (47888) | about 7 years ago | (#20134387)

The custom patches sometimes make a big difference. One example that stands out was a few years ago RedHat (I think) started applying a patch to the kernel that reduced the stack size drivers had to work with. It broke a lot of drivers, including nVidia's. I think that patch eventually made its way across all the distros, but RedHat applied it significantly before anyone else did.

Re:One caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133451)

Actually, hardware vendors don't even need to write nor maintain a single Linux flavor of their driver, much less multiple versions of it. All they need to do is provide specifications for their hardware and the community will take care of all of that [] for them. Of course, if they want to help by providing hardware or additional developers they would be most welcome to do so.

Re:One caveat (2, Interesting)

bmcage (785177) | about 7 years ago | (#20133693)

Drivers are for kernels, so it might be for every kernel version but not for every distro.
The only thing that can influence the behavior between distro's is if they make a GUI to control the driver (GTK, X, QT, ...), but that stinks in Windows too, so here's to hoping they just give the kernel guys the API, and KDE/Gnome write their own controller in the settings panels.

allow me to troll here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133347)

too bad it's Suse, I would've preferred Ubuntu or Debian, at least it allows for easy upgrades and I think it would leave a better impression of Linux to newbies.

but I guess it doesn't really matter to me, I'm just happy if I can avoid the MS tax and get better hardware support, I'll reinstall it anyway.
The only question left to me now is whether I buy a macbook or a thinkpad, tough choice!

Re:allow me to troll here (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 7 years ago | (#20133913)

Rather than go through the hassle of installing all sorts of programs after installing the Ubuntu CD, why not grab a dvd? [] ubuntu
hhttp:nginyanguvtnlkubuntufeisty [hhttp] kbuntu

One of the things I like about openSUSE is that I get 8 gigs of apps on a single DVD. An Ubuntu CD doesn't cut it if I have to then download a web server, all sorts of libraries, header files, utilities, etc.

Plus (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | about 7 years ago | (#20133373)

If Lenovo is willing to collaborate with the Linux development community to improve the Linux laptop user experience, it will be a big win for all Linux users, not just the ones who buy laptops from Lenovo.
And not just for Suse users, but of any distro in general.

Nice gesture, but Novell is Not Welcome (2, Interesting)

Outland Traveller (12138) | about 7 years ago | (#20133479)

No one should support those particular Linux vendors who assist Microsoft in their efforts to deceptively and in bad faith portray Free Software as illegal. Lenovo - How about some Red Hat or Ubuntu offerings?

On the positive side, one can argue that for a Free Software user it's better to pay for Novell's product than Microsoft's, because at least the hardware is more likely going to be compatible with other, more respectable Linux distributions.

A good step forward, but there is much room for improvement.

Re:Nice gesture, but Novell is Not Welcome (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | about 7 years ago | (#20134043)

Your average big-business has license compliance overhead already and fully expects to pay for software that comes with a complex use license and most likely an equally complex service contract.

The same companies probably have a huge number of undocumented Linux servers doing mundane tasks, but they are outside the scope of getting Legal involved in most instances.

The kind of sale Lenovo is targeting will have Legal expecting to review a complex license and support agreements with the pc purchase a (likely) small part of a larger deal.

Improved sensor support? (3, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | about 7 years ago | (#20133493)

I wonder if improved support under Linux for the sensors in IBM/Lenovo laptops will come from this?

Cheers (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 7 years ago | (#20133513)

Three cheers for Lenovo!

That's all I have to say.

Re:Cheers (4, Informative)

jc42 (318812) | about 7 years ago | (#20134451)

Three cheers for Lenovo!

Well, maybe one cheer.

I did the obvious test, that I've done for a number of other such "Linux is available on FOO" announcements: I went to, and tried to configure a laptop that ran linux.

I failed.

Nowhere on any of the couple dozen pages that I looked at did the "linux" string appear. Nowhere was I even given a choice of operating system. The choice was "Windows Vista".

I'll give three cheers when someone who wants a linux machine can easily configure it and order it. Until then, I'll consider such announcements to be PR aimed at quieting the linux crowd without intending to sell anything to them.

It is sorta curious that a company would so blatantly violate the old "Give the customer what they want" rule. They don't have to force linux on Microsoft fans; all they have to do is make it available. That's not difficult. So why don't they do it?

(I recently checked at, and I still couldn't figure out how to order a linux laptop from them, either. ;-)

Hows this bode for MS (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 7 years ago | (#20133537)

With all this Linux support lately I wonder what MS is thinking. What will they do for the next OS. Update the the NT system W2k/XP? Which would be nice. They could be building a Linux based system and introduce it just when Linux is supported by a few more big manufacturers.

This could get them quite a few customers who want to switch to Linux because they have been hearing about how good it is from their friends/co-workers but are too afraid to go away from Windows. Now here comes a MS Linux distro with full MS support to put away those OS switch fears and still manage to keep the customer on the MS side.

Re:Hows this bode for MS (1)

ItsLenny (1132387) | about 7 years ago | (#20133649)

it wouldn't shock me if they put out their own version of Linux... a really stripped down customized distro (which they'd have no problem redistributing) then add a bunch of features but have them packaged separate as proprietary executables that way they can sell it and not have to redistribute the core of their code... that's what I'd do if I were M$ (although I'll say I hope that never happens)

Re:Hows this bode for MS (1)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 7 years ago | (#20134243)

Microsoft *may* have already tried to evolve a Windows-like Linux Desktop OS -- with the help of Caldera (now SCO). Anyone remember Redmond Linux? []
It debuted just after IIRC Caldera got a whole lot of unspecified MS money from the settlement of a long-standing suit over DR-DOS, which Caldera inherited from Ransom Love, who got it from his friends at Novell when he left that company to start Caldera. Caldera used the MS settlement money to purchase SCO's business and some licenses over which SCO and IBM, Novell, and others are in court at this moment.

The question I would like answered, however, is not whether they will build or support the building of a Linux Windows (whatever that might be) but whether they are after agreements that would allow MS to use Novell's Unix patents and licenses. Perhaps they bought SCO's story of owning that IP and funded work with that company (including the threat of suit against Linux users and actual suit against Daimler-Chrysler for IP infingement) in order to secure full legal rights to use Unix patents and licenses and other Novell IP (networking, for example) to make a Linux-like Windows clone that gets around the GPL and is functionally similar, that is, Posix compliant but with embracement and extension?

That would make Linux a much harder sell than it seems to be right now.

One final question: has the tipping point been reached, with respect to Linux being used by top-tier manufacturers, and is it too late for MS to counter the Linux/GNU/GPL combination?

A sign of better times? (3, Interesting)

drspliff (652992) | about 7 years ago | (#20133565)

Ok so we've all been saying... this year is time for Linux on the desktop, maybe we're finally here.

A combination of Windows Vista flunking and not meeting the needs of consumers (compared to Windows XP), the business requirement to bring down prices (no Windows tax) so their range of laptops can be more competitive with in the market their targeting (basically small businesses and students) means that Linux is starting to become a possibility, considering Ubuntu is often said to be easier to use than Windows XP.

Now, can you seriously consider hardware vendors like Lenovo pushing laptops with Vista pre-installed when they know battery life descreased and the minimum required specs will be seriously increased, driving up the base cost of the machine.

Yeah, I can see where these people are coming from, it's a pure business decision with the side effect of getting the Linux geeks on your side.

Re:A sign of better times? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 7 years ago | (#20134455)

``no Windows tax''

But is the Windows tax actually positive or negative? Some people have asserted that PC vendors actually get paid to put Windows+crapware on their systems. Dell's computers are apparently cheaper with Windows than without. Food for thought...

This is a Good Thing (tm) (2, Insightful)

Ngarrang (1023425) | about 7 years ago | (#20133633)

Some may deride Novell for their deal with Microsoft, but Lenovo is targeting the corporate world, not OS Holy War advocates. In the corporate world, big businesses want certainty, even in the face of possibly-baseless claims. IMHO, the two most important places to target with Linux are businesses and schools. People will tend to use at home what they are around at school or work. Not all, but most. Familiarity breeds sales. Regarding schools, target the K-12 school systems.

Dell, HP/Compaq, Lenovo/IBM...these are the big three that the Linux community needs to really push the off-the-shelf sale. The sales of these three dwarf all of the rest of the competition.

Thus, I say bring it on, Lenovo! Soon, all of the other 1st and 2nd tier vendors will fall into the new order of the world or risk being left behind.

Re:This is a Good Thing (tm) (5, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | about 7 years ago | (#20133903)

IMHO, the two most important places to target with Linux are businesses and schools.
...and you shouldn't bother with schools.

No, really.

Apple tried that (might still be trying it, for all I know), and it didn't make any difference. When I was in K-8 (eighties), you would have been hard-pressed to find a non-Apple product in any of the classrooms. When I was in HS (90-94), the school computer lab had only Macs. Our two semesters of programming were taught in Pascal on Macs. It wasn't until college that I had a PC computer lab available to me. Didn't make any difference at all.

Why not? Because I didn't make the purchasing decisions for my family. My parents did. And my dad had to use PCs at work. This had nothing to do with what he had grown up using - PCs were thin on the ground when he graduated HS in '67 - but with what his office had purchased. Which means, despite Apple's best efforts at co-opting the brains of America's youth, I learned to use the PC.

Which is why, once the PC was entrenched on the office desktop, that was it. If we want Linux/BSD/HURD/what-have-you to gain widespread adoption, it's the business desktop that we need to target.

Re:This is a Good Thing (tm) (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 7 years ago | (#20134401)

Please explain to me how what big business wants is good for you as an individual, I am curious.

Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133637)

I've been looking forward to this!

Way to go Lenovo!

w00t (1, Flamebait)

OriginalArlen (726444) | about 7 years ago | (#20133797)

This comment comes from a GNU-powered Lenovo R60, and apart from the quality of the plastic being a teensy bit less satisfying texture (to me at least) and the R40 I had before, which got lovely smooth palm-prints worn in slab in front of the keyboard, it's great - but I wish I could make the wifi work without recompiling the kernel, which admittedly is Intel's fault for not releasing the schematics, but... hey, use another on-board wifi supplier. *shrug*

What would be really fabulous -- and I've been waiting for this day for five years or more,m now - is the day the first mainstream vendor starts selling OpenBSD-powered machines. That will show a genuine commitment to open standards and Freedom. Too many corporates are jumping on the Linux bandwagon thinking they can happily sell black-box software (or hardware) that they write Linux drivers or kernel modules for, and just take the money -- indeed that doesn't look like a bad strategey -- but supporting OpenBSD will reveal an actual interest in Freedom, as opposted to just making as much money as possible. (yes, yes, I know what you're thinking, spare me ok... )

Re:w00t (2, Interesting)

iabervon (1971) | about 7 years ago | (#20134625)

Actually, Intel's fault in wifi is looking too far forward. They've got great drivers for their wifi chipsets, which will be in 2.6.23 when it comes out this fall. They're based on the 80211 stack which got into mainline in 2.6.22 (without any of the drivers that use it yet). There's been nothing stopping people from writing great Intel wifi drivers, except that there's been a great driver on the horizon from Intel, and nobody really wanted to tackle writing an obsolete one that could have been merged for a year before being replaced with a better-designed one. (Yes, I have been waiting for a year to be able to use nice all-open-source drivers on my Lenovo laptop with Intel wifi; how could you tell? At least the graphics drivers have actually arrived...)

Linux on my Thinkpad (X61) (2, Informative)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 7 years ago | (#20133863)

I recently purchased an X61 and I've been happy running Linux on it. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who isn't very familiar with Linux already.

First of all, Thinkpads don't come with install media. You can make your own, but that's sort of hard if you bought a slimline model like the X61 without a CD drive. The tech support people were ultimately not helpful. They were willing to waive the $40 media fee (Lenovo, WTF?) because my computer doesn't have a disk drive, but it was "too new" for my warranty to be in their database (WTF?) and they couldn't send me the disks.

Still, as long as I didn't touch their initial partition, I reasoned, I could still get back to a factory install. Windows was only a last resort if I couldn't get Linux on there anyway.

The SATA controller had to be put in compatibility mode, unsurprisingly. The wireless worked in Ubuntu when I backported the Gutsy kernel, but the screen brightness control stoped working with the Gutsy kernel. So I tried Fedora 7.

In Fedora 7 (32 bit version), wireless worked out of the box once all the kernel updates were installed (mostly worked that is -- reboot and "modprobe -r iwl4965; modprobe iwl4965" often).

I can't get sound working even with the CVS copy of the "patch_analog.c" from alsa cvs copied into the alsa driver source. Others have had more success with this.

Suspend (often) works after following the instructions for a T61 linked from here [] . Of course, 50% of the time the machine will crash coming out of suspend, so I'm going to try the instructions here [] and see how it goes.

I haven't even tried to get all the keyboard function buttons working.

Can I get a Thinkpad with NO OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20133889)

I don't want to pay the Novell tax any more than I want to pay the Microsoft tax, ESPECIALLY since they are bedfellows. I have been running Fedora on my Thinkpad for years and would love to get a new one but I am not going to run Microsoft OR Novell OSs on it. They don't have to support it either so take that support cost off the price as well and we'll both be happy.

why no kde? (2, Insightful)

SolusSD (680489) | about 7 years ago | (#20133937)

seriously--- kde was a lot of features that are perfect for desktop users. It is a *very* powerful desktop environment. kparts, widgets, dcop scripting, etc allow programs to work together in ways they simply can't in a gnome/windows/osx environment. konqueror with its kioslaves, allowing you to ftp, sftp, ssh, http, nfs, smb, etc all from one application is a damn powerful application. Its disappointing that dell, and now lenovo are standardizing on a gnome desktop. :(

Re:why no kde? (1)

verbatim_verbose (411803) | about 7 years ago | (#20134565)

What, of those features, can Gnome not do in an equivalent way?

Re:why no kde? (1)

SolusSD (680489) | about 7 years ago | (#20134651)

kparts, and kioslaves.. definitely not in a sane, consistent way.

Linux Windows Trading Places (1)

boris111 (837756) | about 7 years ago | (#20134039)

What so with the other story about IIS creeping in on Apache's market share, and this story with Lenova taking Linux on the Desktop... does this mean Windows is taking over the server and Linux taking over the desktop (flamebait) I guess it was a matter of time... Windows always wanted to be more like Linux on the server and Linux wanted to be more like Windows on the desktop.

Differentiation (2, Insightful)

fishthegeek (943099) | about 7 years ago | (#20134069)

It's all about differentiating product. After a decade of mono-culture in the OEM world commoditization happened, and the OEMs suffered excruciatingly low profit margins as a result.

With Vista sales at a blisteringly mediocre pace and consumers increasingly met with nearly identical machines at identical prices from identical companies with identically poor support where else can the OEMs turn?
We've seen M. Dell mention publicly that he would distribute OS X if he could, and Apple will never do that. Linux provides for the utmost extreme example of potential product differentiation at a nominal cost to the OEM. Most of them will take differing sides in the Flavor-of-the-month club. Dell has chosen Ubuntu, Lenovo has chosen Suse. Who will HP pick? Madriva or Fedora maybe. The OEMs want to sell machines, they need to find new markets and differentiate their products. This is the beginning of a time travelling exercise to about 1986 when CP/M, Commodore's Amiga, and DOS were but a few of the possible business and consumer choices out there. MS did some great things in introducing a common platform for development and such, but I think that world+dog realizes that homogeneous computing has more downsides than ups.

Fingerprint Biometrics (1)

A non-mouse Coward (1103675) | about 7 years ago | (#20134479)

Let's hope they support their fingerprint readers for biometric authentication.
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