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Lenovo Delivers SuSE Linux-Based ThinkPads

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the another-nail dept.

IBM 149

angryfirelord notes a DesktopLinux article on Lenovo's promise to deliver ThinkPads with pre-installed Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 in the week of January 14. Quoting: "Lenovo will release pre-installed SLED 10 on its Intel Centrino processor-powered ThinkPad T61 and R61 14-inch-wide notebooks. In February, Lenovo's pre-integrated Novell Linux offering will expand to include some Penryn-based ThinkPads. The starting price for this system will be $949, $20 less than the same laptop with Vista Home Premium."

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149 comments

MS tax (3, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023398)

The starting price for this system will be $949, $20 less than the same laptop with Vista Home Premium.

But since the OS is Suse, you still pay a Microsoft tax, am I right? I wonder when we will finally be able to buy laptops without any OS at all on them.

Re:MS tax (0, Flamebait)

Moonpie Madness (764217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023432)

I guess IBM might have more expenses getting Suse on these things than Vista (per laptop, since these don't scale like Windows).

If that's not the case, then this $20 savings isn't acceptable to me. If you're using Linux, you need to know how to install Linux. So like you say, let's see some unformatted hard drives or a totally free OS.

Re:MS tax (5, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023486)

If you're using Linux, you need to know how to install Linux.

Why? There is absolutely no reason why users need to know how to install any desktop OS.


I have installed Linux for several people who manage updates and configuration fine but who would be likely to to run into problems if they installed from scratch themselves.


Servers are different, of course, and so are many corporate desktops that need a standardised installation. However, this is a laptop that is being sold to people who want a pre-installed OS.

Re:MS tax (2, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023490)

Everybody complains about the MS Tax because of the prices they see at the retail level. Folks see how much the OS costs in the store. But at the OEM level the OS costs are not that bad. Maybe this 20 USD is a bit low, but I can't see it more than 50 USD difference.

That's why I personally don't see Linux happening on the desktop. If two comparable laptops have a price differential of max 50 USD I think most people would say, "Oh hey why not Windows after all most stuff is compatible with Windows." Linux does not actually stand a chance.

After all, OSX, which is even more expensive than Windows and Linux is making inroads by many. The moral of the story is that on the desktop I don't think price of operating system is the major decision maker. People want things to work out of the box without any hassles

On the server side there is a huge price differential and that's also why I think Linux did make inroads on the server side.

Re:MS tax (5, Interesting)

Syonax (254547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023610)

The OEM price of windows is much more than 50 dollars.

I managed to buy a thinkpad T60 in the Netherlands a few weeks ago with a preemptive windows (XP) refund. The dealer removed the OS and gave me a discount for the OEM price, which was 129.71 euros, about 190 dollars.

I would have been happy for Lenovo to give that money to a random linux distribution, but now I can decide myself which one gets it.

Re:MS tax (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024070)

Not Windows, Vista. The support costs of Vista are so high, and it remains so fragile in customer environments, that SuSE may well be a fiscal benefit for Lenovo to provide instead, irrelevant of the greater retail cost of Vista.

This is certainly the case right now for Windows XP and Vista, as numerous laptop and desktop retailers have learned to their dismay.

Re:MS tax (1)

joostje (126457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024202)

I managed to buy a thinkpad T60 in the Netherlands a few weeks ago with a preemptive windows (XP) refund. The dealer removed the OS and gave me a discount for the OEM price, which was 129.71 euros, about 190 dollars.
As my current laptop is falling appart, and I live in the Netherlands, I would like to know where you managed to get that refund (mijn email: joostje apestaartje komputilo.org).

Dumping (1, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023620)

Folks see how much the OS costs in the store. But at the OEM level the OS costs are not that bad

Then the real question is why do the OEMs get all that discount? Is that legal?


OK, I could pay the cost of distribution and all that, but in the end that would be something like 20% of the total. Boxed software doesn't even come with printed manuals these days, and selling through internet stores reduces the overall retail expenses.

Re:Dumping (3, Informative)

oggiejnr (999258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023712)

The reasons appear to be that in addition to the volumes that the large OEMs buy (which generate a discount in any industry), an OEM assumes all the support for any products they sell. If you buy a boxed copy then Microsoft is responsible for supplying support, if you get an OEM copy then the system builder is responsible.

Re:Dumping (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22025930)

If I promise not to call Microsoft, can I get a discount too? Actually, I'd like a refund for all the tech support that I've done for family / friends / coworkers trying to get their computers working (or at least cleaned out).

Re:Dumping (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023784)

'OEM' is cheaper because:

1) OEM is responsible for distribution and support. You buy a retail box, and you can call Microsoft for help. You buy a Dell... you call dell. (And if you bought sn OEM at newegg... call newegg for support.) Not that OEM support is worth anything, but its still a phone call MS doesn't have to try to answer.

2) With OEM editions MS tries hard to bind the OS to the physical unit to effectively strip you of your right to resell or transfer the software. They 'require' that you put the sticker on the case, and the language in the EULA is more restrictive, etc. In any case its often more a PITA to exercise your rights with OEM Windows. When you pay retail, they don't get in your way nearly as much over stuff like this. No stickers. No fuss.

3) Its been rumored, and im not sure if ever confirmed, that windows activation is less forgiving of OEM versions than retail. (in that OEM versions will require you to call microsoft for a manual activation in circumstances that the retail go through on automatic. (e.g. after a few transfers or hardware changes.) This being predicated on the logic that an OEM version doesn't get transferred, so it doesn't need as much leniency. If this is true, its not a big deal, but again, makes retail a little neater to deal with.

----

I typically buy my Windows at Retail, in the upgrade edition, as its about as cheap as the OEM, without any of the OEM hassles. (And I have enough copies to qualify for upgrades.) And the upgrade edition typically just required the previous media. Not a big deal considering it knocked half the price off.

For vista... what a Pain. The upgrade requires you actually install the previous edition then upgrade. (Makes sense from a certain point of view, given that iso's are trivial to obtain.) But its beyond stupid in practice. If my HD dies, I shouldn't have to install XP, before installing Vista.

What happens in 2020... I buy a new PC and decide to transfer Windows 9 on it...and put Ubuntu Zippy Zebra on the old one, and I've been upgrading windows all along so now I have to install windows 8 on it first for the v9 installer to run... but to do that I have to install windows 7, and to do that I have to install windows Vista, and to that I have to install XP? Good luck installing XP on a new PC in 2020... will there even be XP drivers for the ultra-hddvd-bluray-3.0 drive I'll be installing with on the BIOS-free EFI-2-superZ.22/q based motherboard using an intel octo 4 hyper III-2 cpu?

With Vista, at least there is a workaround, but its clearly an oversight on microsofts part. And I don't think it'll be their next time round.

They ought to go the OSX route, lower the price of full retail... (almost NOBODY buys that anyway on windows), and get rid of the 'upgrade editions'.

Re:Dumping (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22025264)

its clearly an oversight on microsofts part.


No, it's clearly a deliberate part of their policy to make any activity that negatively affects the "bottom line" a complete PITA. Their shareholders are counting on you to replace your copy of Windows every two years and always pay full price for it.

Re:MS tax (1, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023686)

My use of 'MS tax' may be a bit wrong. By 'MS tax' I meant you pay MS a price for not being prosecuted for patent violations in the Linux OS. Novell made this deal with MS, remember? Sorry for being unclear.

Re:MS tax (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023930)

According to a recent slashdot traarticle [slashdot.org] , Microsoft paid $355M to Novel in 2007, so I don't see how that translates into a Microsoft tax. For me, it translates into a linux distro that's on the take from Microsoft... no way in hell would I ever install it. First thing I'd do with the Lenovo laptop si wipe the drive. Then again, living here in NC where IBM use to design these laptops, and knowing quite a few out of work IBM-ers, there's no way in hell I'd buy a Lenovo laptop.

Re:MS tax (1)

johny42 (1087173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024322)

Could you be a little more specific? From what I've heard, IBM (Lenovo ThinkPad) laptops are one of the most reliable around.

Re:MS tax (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024460)

I'm sure the ThinkPads are good machines. They certainly were when IBM made them. Now that IBM has sold their entire desktop and laptop lines to Lenovo (a China based company), Lenovo down-sizes the NC operation more each year, moving jobs to China where labor is cheaper. It's basically a Chinese operation now. I guess that's not really much different from Dell or HP, who also build their machines in China, but Lenovo moved all the other jobs as well.

Re:MS tax (1)

Soft Cosmic Rusk (1211950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023706)

No, Windows might not be that expensive - but even then, I would much rather buy a PC with Linux or no OS at all than buy one with Windows, even if I had to pay 100-200$ more! It's the priciple...

Re:MS tax (2, Interesting)

sewalg (1131483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023512)

Why do people using Linux need to know how to install it? Clearly, many people buy a laptop with Windows but have absolutely no idea how to install it or, for that matter, how it works. In fact, its this type of person who is IBM's biggest market. Surely, IBM's goal is to reduce any barrier to the uptake of these machines in that market. I'd say that's why they've chosen to support a particular brand of Linux rather than offer a cleanskin computer.

Also, on the subject of cost, have you any idea how much it will cost IBM to train and establish a support mechanism for these machines? I'd say a $20 saving is a pleasant surprise more than anything. Even price parity between Linux and Windows machines would be difficult to achieve early on, given the heavy discounting of MS products for OEMs, and the huge outlay IBM must have made to establish enough of a support network to bring these laptops to market!

Re:MS tax (2, Interesting)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023978)

have you any idea how much it will cost IBM to train and establish a support mechanism for these machines?

Do you know that it will cost more than training support for Windows?

One thing I do know is that the DRM in Windows makes support a big pain. You can't easily roll out a custom boot disc, for instance, to solve problems. In fact, I sometimes use Linux boot discs to fix Windows myself.

Also, Thinkpads are made by "Lenovo", not "IBM" these days. Though IBM probably still provides many services.

Re:MS tax (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023638)

No more so than they need to know how to install windows. Installing suse has become at least as easy and intuitive as installing windows, and a noob user will not need to go about figuring out what spyware/malware/antivirus/firewall protection they want in addition.

Re:MS tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023640)

http://www.zepto.se/ [zepto.se]

(No, I'm not affil.. afilli... affill.. I'm not making any money from mentioning them)

Re:MS tax (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023750)

But since the OS is Suse, you still pay a Microsoft tax, am I right?

The value of the royalties Novell will pay to MS from OEM installs is likely to be vanishingly small. The main benefit Microsoft got from the deal was the FUD, and that mostly backfired on them.

I have a HP laptop with SLED10 pre-installed, it even has a little green Suse logo where the XP one normally goes. It's one of the better Linux experiences around, especially for corporates and newcomers to Linux. And let's face it, even if you wipe SLED10 and install your own favorite, all the hardware will be supported and manufacturers will see there's demand for Linux compatibles.

I wouldn't worry about tacitly supporting Microsoft via Novell either. Now that innovators like Asus and Nokia have shown the way, I suspect the day of the big generic desktop Linux is over, and manufacturers will shrink-fit versions of Linux onto their own hardware.

Re:MS tax (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026650)

But that would be worse for the Linux community. The # of distros of Linux out there is both a strength and a weakness. The fact that there is no 'Linux x.x' standard install target for application developers like there is for Windows or OSX means that you have to custom-tailor packages for each distro's management system. And *increasing* the number of distros out there isn't going to remedy that.

I've had *a lot* of problems with package management systems. One of the most frustrating things is when people say "Install this using this 3rd party repository" only to discover that the repository only supports x86 and/or x86_64 binaries and possibly doesn't even have the source files for me to build my own. This becomes increasingly relevent as devices running linux will have things like ARM processors in them instead of Intel/AMD x86 procs.

Re:MS tax (2, Informative)

Low5 (173930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024034)

This probably won't help anyone outside the UK, but http://www.novatech.co.uk/ [novatech.co.uk] sell systems (including laptops) without any OS at all, and these seem to go for about 50GBP (100USD) less than with the cheapest MS OS (currently XP).

Re:MS tax (1)

angryfirelord (1082111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024916)

But since the OS is Suse, you still pay a Microsoft tax, am I right?
Unless there's something I missed in Microsoft's patent deal, the only money Microsoft gets is by buying SuSE coupons from Novell. Then, they distribute the coupons to its "customers" and collect the revenue. Unless Lenovo bought these coupons from Microsoft, I don't think M$ is getting any cash.

Even if it still has a Microsoft tax, I think choosing SUSE over another distro such as Ubuntu is a better idea. I don't have anything against Ubuntu at all, but SUSE has a nice control center (YaST) and a polished desktop that would certainly appeal to new users.

Lenovo also delivers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023400)

WaTerMeLon-based NiggerPads.

Seriously, check the site.

SuSe is an excellent distro (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023402)

if you're a nigger.

Re:SuSe is an excellent distro (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024582)

I can't imagine how the quality of SUSE could in any way depend on the amount of melanin in your skin.

Re:SuSe is an excellent distro (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22024850)

Melanin is hardly the only difference and you know it.

The Thinkpad N16-63R series (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023406)

SuSe also available on that model.

Linux! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023410)

The OS for Niggers!

Novell-Lenovo synchronicity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023416)

Novell... Lenovo... Novellenovo. Novelleniggerovo.

The universe works in strange ways.

Lenovo's ThinkPads versus IBM's ThinkPads (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023418)

The difference between a Sicilian and a nigger. Subtle, but important.

what a revolutionary concept? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023424)

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corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

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MS & Novell, sitin in a tree. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023438)

Now remember kids. This is the Novell we're suppose to hate.

Re:MS & Novell, sitin in a tree. (1)

0x000000 (841725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023494)

Awwww, and here I was thinking about getting an Thinkpad. :-(

Is there no other laptop besides the eee PC that is only sold with Linux on it?

Re:MS & Novell, sitin in a tree. (1)

Prod_Deity (686460) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023522)

Dell offers pretty decent laptops with Unbuntu preinstalled. I personally haven't picked one up yet, bit I might in the very near future.

Re:MS & Novell, sitin in a tree. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023524)

Lenovo had an informal poll of their users about which Linux distribution they would like to see Lenovo implement.

Votes were about 23,000 for Ubuntu and about 800 for SuSe.

So, in an effort to listen to their customers, and make a success of Linux on Lenovo laptops, Lenovo have decided to offer ... WTF???

Re:MS & Novell, sitin in a tree. (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023560)

Lenovo have decided to offer ...

...the distro that Microsoft backs.

Re:MS & Novell, sitin in a tree. (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026518)

This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.

Too late (1)

elzurawka (671029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023506)

So i bought a new Thinkpad T61 at the end of December. I guess its too late to change now. Maybe i can get them to drop the windows tax and send me a copy of Suse?
Any one thing this is possible?

MS-Blessed Linux (2, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023532)

Strange, that, how when Microsoft officially blesses a Linux distribution by investing in it and making all sorts of ridiculous patent/IP claims, a major PC manufacturer brings out a line of laptops with MS Linux. You can bet that Microsoft is making exactly the same amount of money on each Linux "sale" as each Windows sale, or maybe more.

Re:MS-Blessed Linux (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023660)

That doesn't really make sense, even if Microsoft were making money on a Linux sale it's going to hurt them in the long term.

Re:MS-Blessed Linux (1)

Shohat (959481) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023700)

Don't count other people's money. What do you care how much they make off Linux

Re:MS-Blessed Linux (3, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023790)

I care about Microsoft trying to subvert Linux. I couldn't care less about the money per se, but I worry about the lies and FUD they're putting before the PHBs of this world. And the implied legal threats.

Re:MS-Blessed Linux (1)

whatevah (1130459) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023938)

Nevertheless, somehow I find it strange that MS is going to benefit from that. Everyone says what a great
experience is SLED, especially for the enterprise users. In the (not so)long run it benefits Linux as a whole.
I say Kudos to Novell and SuSE.

Re:MS-Blessed Linux (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024616)

Bait-and-switch, softening their anti-Free Software image, making claims regarding "giving permission" for SuSE/Novell customers to use the Microsoft intellectual property allegedly infringed by Linux, the implications for Linux in general, selling more Microsoft software to SuSE Linux shops.

Mark my words, I was right about itanium and I'll be right about this too. The deal is fishy.

Re:MS-Blessed Linux (4, Informative)

toppavak (943659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024512)

I think your tin foil cap was on a little too tight today. There are a lot of practical reasons Lenovo would have chosen Suse for the thinkpads. Even before the MS deal, SLED was one of the distros IBM used to put through a compatibility certification program for thinkpads. SLED also comes with a lot of software explicitly for thinkpad-specific hardware. I know the fingerprint reader drivers and GUI were there the last time I tried OpenSuse, and I may be mistaken but I believe the HDAPS drivers were also pre-installed. I've tried installing these manually in Ubuntu and its a bitch. Suse distros in general have had superior thinkpad-specific hardware support.

Re:MS-Blessed Linux (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22025562)

Microsoft has traditionally always made sure that companies selling computers either only offer Windows or offer other operating systems that are substantially more expensive than Windows.

For example, I used to buy servers and workstations from Dell for developing an operating systems which shall remain nameless. They wouldn't sell me machines without an OS "for piracy reasons" despite the fact we (at the time) were running our own OS and Linux. The price quotes with Linux instead of Windows were significantly more expensive. The Dell salesdroid said that "Linux is more expensive than Windows." I pointed out that this was just their agreement with Microsoft and that MS was not at liberty to make such conditions. He would have none of it, but gave me an enormous discount on Windows, which we never used.

Microsoft had already been found guilty of running an illegal monopoly and the associated extortion in the USA.

Look at what happened to Dell's recent attempt to sell Linux machines.

I am very surprised that Lenovo is doing this. There must be something else going on behind the scenes.

I can assure you that Microsoft is behind it. They are up to something.

Re:MS-Blessed Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22024788)

That has to be the stupidest comment i've read on slashdot in a long time. I guess you feel the same about Dell and Ubuntu. And it gets modded interesting, WTF?

It's about $600 pricier than expected (-1, Flamebait)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023556)

A Linux-based laptop should cost about $300 these days; not nearly a thousand bucks. No point buying a machine which is vista capable and slap Linux on it instead.

Re:It's about $600 pricier than expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023566)

No point buying a machine which is vista capable and slap Linux on it instead.


Yes there is, in fact there are two huge bonuses:

1. Linux absolutely flies on a Vista-capable machine. Smokin.

2. You don't have to run Vista on your nice machine.

Re:It's about $600 pricier than expected (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023666)

Yes there is, in fact there are two huge bonuses:

1. Linux absolutely flies on a Vista-capable machine. Smokin.

2. You don't have to run Vista on your nice machine.
You forgot..

3 Guaranteed Linux compatible hardware.

So you are free to wipe Suse out and put your favorite Linux distro on it without having to worry about reduced functionality due to unsupported hardware.

Re:It's about $600 pricier than expected (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024462)

This is not necessarily true. Laptop drivers for their power control and especially pointing devices are often painful to integrate into both Windows and Linux operating systems. By pre-bundling the OS, we know that Lenovo has worked out those issues in advance and included whatever modified drivers or software components are necessary. I've run into these issues with high-end RAID controllers in the server world, and lots of us who've provided Linux systemns for our workplaces have run into it with NVidia or older video chipsets in the graphics world.

Re:It's about $600 pricier than expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023874)

You fucking douchebag. Do you know what the specs on this machine are?

Re:It's about $600 pricier than expected (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023956)

You fucking anonymous coward. The same machine is capable of running Windows Vista Premium aka Media Center. That should tell you enough about the specs.

Linux hardly needs even 25% of the specs that Vista takes to boot up.

Re:It's about $600 pricier than expected (0, Troll)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024792)

It's SUSE ("Nuremberg Windows") we are talking about here. A 10.2 default install managed to make my dual core Athlon 64 barely usable (one core was 100% busy running zmd, the other one was 100% busy running beagle, of course both at nice 0).

Good news (2, Informative)

hubert.lepicki (1119397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023564)

It's good hardware, I was considering buying one (ThinkPad) but I couldn't get one off-the-shelf without Vista (in Poland). So I bought Acer laptop that came without Windows, it even had some crappy Linux pre installed (which I had to replace with some decent distribution). I guess that voice of consumers saying "We don't want Vista" is being finally heard at Lenovo's HQ. And Linux is nice alternative, _especially_ for business.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22025902)

We have different standards in hardware. Personally, I think all Thinkpads have been crap since Lenovo took over.

Bundling SuSE with it is just another reason to avoid this junk. I can get a better laptop for far less. With better Linux support.

N - I - G - G - E - R - S (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023574)

What's that spell?

Overview of Laptops without "Microsoft-Tax" (5, Informative)

wehe (135130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023604)

Besides Lenovo there are some other manufacturers offering Linux without "Micorosoft-Tax" or even Linux pre-installed. Here is a (not yet complete) list of currently available laptops and notebooks without "Microsoft-Tax" [tuxmobil.org] at TuxMobil. If you need the features of a laptop which comes with Microsoft OS still, here are some tips and tricks to get a refund for the operating system from Redmond [tuxmobil.org] . And just in case you want to buy a laptop with a custom Linux installation, here is a survey of resellers [tuxmobil.org] .

Jesus told me you're bad men (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22023646)

help me I can hear my eyes.

I hope they do better than Dell ... (4, Interesting)

Godji (957148) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023672)

... and actually put Linux on some of their really good business-class machines, as opposed to their cheaper "entry-level" "home" flaky laptops. Write this down, Lenovo and Dell: I don't want Linux because it's cheap; I want it because it's better and free. Now give me that great laptop that a Windows user can already buy, put Linux on that instead, and you have my 1500 euros.

That, or I'm getting an Eee.

Re:I hope they do better than Dell ... (1)

teslar (706653) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023746)

What exactly stops you from buying whatever laptop you want and installing Linux yourself? Given that you want a powerful laptop, wouldn't that be more consistent with your wishes than buying an Eee?

Re:I hope they do better than Dell ... (3, Insightful)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023842)

What exactly stops you from buying whatever laptop you want and installing Linux yourself? Given that you want a powerful laptop, wouldn't that be more consistent with your wishes than buying an Eee?

It's important to signal that there is a market for Linux machines, when you think about device drivers for example. First of all, when you buy a Linux machine, you know that the devices will work with Linux, even if you install another distro. More importantly, this sends a message to the hardware makers that mostly write Windows-only drivers.

Re:I hope they do better than Dell ... (2, Informative)

Seto89 (986727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023966)

I'll tell you what - hardware support.

I recently bought ThinkPad R61, and although most of the hardware worked out of the box, I still after quite a few hours didn't get the wifi to work.
Also, the fingerprint reader is a true nightmare - even after finding free Linux driver I find out that it's a bit different model and thus returns "USB device not found" every time I want to use it.
That and oh, also the graphics driver doesn't seem to work so you have to force it to install a different driver that says it's incompatible with this model.

These problems wouldn't be as big if at lenovo.com at product support they offered more than 2 Linux patches...

Re:I hope they do better than Dell ... (3, Interesting)

drolli (522659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024164)

> What exactly stops you from buying whatever laptop you want and installing Linux yourself?

Support. I know linux, i work with linux, i can install it myself, but however, since i am working as a pysicist it is not my job to do so. I want to buy a computer and problems should be solved by calling the support.

Re:I hope they do better than Dell ... (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023778)

I just hope they would put it on the X61(s) , that must be the ultimate laptop.

Re:I hope they do better than Dell ... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023950)

I thought the same, but they are huge, monstrous machines, nothing like the sleep T43, t42s.

Branding is extremely important (4, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023806)

and what would have happened if Dell went all out putting Linux on the front page, only selling Linux machines no MS Windows and it was a failure? There's another ten years of "Linux Sucks" right there.

No. Dell did the right thing by slowly growing their Linux desktop market and now everyone is copying them.

Branding matters a lot.

It's the reason Microsoft runs it's Get the facts [microsoft.com] campaign against Linux. Having Linux associated with big brands that people have heard of increases your chance of people picking your product. It doesn't matter that Linux runs on the top 8 super computers [top500.org] of the world because people will make judgements based of how familiar they are with a product.

This is why Ubuntu is more popular then other distributions, because Mark S. has associated Ubuntu with larger brands. More people know about Ubuntu and are more likely to pick it compared to another distributions. A lot of people here on /. grumble about "Why Noobuntu, why not try X". Well now you know, if distribution X had better branding it would probably be more popular then Ubuntu.

Another branding example..

Have you noticed recently how "Windows Server" adverts keep popping up on websites such as top500.org, sourceforge, etc? Places that decision makers might see them, but also developers. Sourceforge in particular seems to have tons of Microsoft adverts that it is starting to put me off visiting that website at all.

Re:Branding is extremely important (5, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024122)

"This is why Ubuntu is more popular then other distributions, because Mark S. has associated Ubuntu with larger brands."

As someone who actually uses Ubuntu and has in the past used (trying some extensively, some still in use) such Linuxen as PCLinuxOS, puppy, DSL, SUSE, CentOS, Mepis, and probably a few others I forget, I think I'm qualified to say that the difference is not just in the branding. I've also developed nothing in Ubuntu nor hold any financial interest in its success. I have used it solely for about 6 months and the last time I booted my XP HDD for any reason was at least 4 months ago. And I really didn't want to like it because of the ugly default shit brown theme, the name and icon seemed like something more appropriate to a Michael Jackson music video than an operating system, and just because it was too popular already. But in the end I succumbed.

Ubuntu succeeds because it is amazingly polished and stable compared to other linux distributions, with a focus on the newbie and a shockingly vast array of software in the repositories that Just Works. No one uses an OS to use an OS, they use an OS for their favorite applications.

If you want help, you are more likely to find success through googling ubuntuforums.org or posting there yourself. This is because the forums are moderated in a specifically newbie friendly fashion where RTFM is banned.

http://ubuntuforums.org/index.php?page=policy [ubuntuforums.org]

And now network effect is reinforcing the utility of Ubuntu. Basically anything FOSS gets a concerted effort to put it in the repos if it is any good, or a howto gets written for it. And any hardware has someone using Ubuntu having a hack at it to get it to go first.

Re:Branding is extremely important (2, Insightful)

Cato (8296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024936)

Branding has little to do with Ubuntu's success - it is generally polished, and easy to set up on most systems. The solid Debian based, attention to usability, huge array of software in the repositories, and the very newbie-friendly forums are key too. Also, the sheer volume of people using Ubuntu now means that the forums have solutions for most common problems already written up, and the response time to questions on forums is generally very good.

Re:Branding is extremely important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026374)

I agree, but only in part. Mandrake back in their day offered much of the same. An easy OS, that would allow "cool" features like taking Windows fonts from another Windows partition, a decked-out control panel with many more GUI front-ends than the other guys, and a nice friendly active community with specific information and doing specific tasks.

I switched to Debian to get past the dependency-hell issues that urpmi never totally fixed. I then switched to knoppix and kanotix for a while instead of Mepis like many others. Finally, I ended up at Ubuntu because packages and installing software is KING in my world. At this point, I care little for default themes and other superficial stuff. If I want to install something, even a small game with a small following, lets say, I want to be able to easily install it without issue.

Many people have made similar progressions over the years. Ubuntu will be my distro of choice until something better comes out. I see nothing extremely superior about Ubuntu per se. Other distros have been "on top", have had some features which rivaled Windows of the day in terms of ease of use, etc. (remember when Caldera was said to be the easiest OS to install ever on any platform? It's not as if NOW we finally have a desktop linux that 'works'. What makes linux 'work' is hardware support - that has improved, but this has almost nothing to do with particular distros.

And yeah, that brown theme is uglay like the neck wobble on Janet Reno. I don't ever see it myself except in screenshots as I'm a KDE and XFCE fiend, depending on which crate I'm using and like I said, superficial stuff doesn't bother and is very easy to fix/change.

Re:I hope they do better than Dell ... (2, Informative)

linj (891019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023994)

and actually put Linux on some of their really good business-class machines, as opposed to their cheaper "entry-level" "home" flaky laptops.


The ThinkPad, de facto, is term used by Lenovo to demarcate their business-class machines. "Home" laptops are sold purely under the Lenovo brand.

Hope that helps; cheers.

They do both (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024482)

There really aren't any cheap laptops sold under the Thinkpad brand, but the R series is their "everyday" brand, while the T series is their "performance". The R61 and T61 models are probably their two top sellers.

I prefer the X series (their 12" models), but it is not as common as the óther two. It is also both slower and more expensive.

Re:I hope they do better than Dell ... (1)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026858)

I hope they do better than Dell ...
[snip]
... and actually put Linux on some of their really good business-class machines, as opposed to their cheaper "entry-level" "home" flaky laptops.
I'm not sure if you count Dell's Precision workstations as "business-class," but they do offer Red Hat Enterprise Linux pre-installed on several workstations (desktop and mobile). Note that the ThinkPads use an "enterprise-grade" Linux OS (like Dell's Precisions) while Dell's cheaper Linux laptops use the free-as-in-beer Ubuntu OS with less included support.

The Precisions ain't cheap, but the cheaper ones can be considered "high end" business-class machines. For example:

20 bucks? (0, Troll)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023822)

Does that mean MS only charges $20 per license to OEM's?

I'd say that was a fair price for Windows.

Re:20 bucks? (3, Informative)

JohnConnor (587121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023984)

> Does that mean MS only charges $20 per license to OEM's?

No that's not what it means because SLED 10 is not cost free. In fact it is more expensive than Windows because it carries a yearly subscription price tag of $50. Add it up over the 5 or 6 years that Windows Vista will last and I don't think that you will find that SLED is cheaper. Of course it includes more than the OS, as do all Linux distros, and it guarantees that the machine is well supported by Linux, so well worth the initial cost. SLED is a really good enterprise desktop, and it makes sense to keep it for business. For personal use I would replace SLED by openSuse and get the same hardware compatibility and a more modern OS with extra features.

Re:20 bucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22024108)

Sorry, but Microsoft would have to pay me to take Windows.

Odd, given IBM's support for Ubuntu (1)

mcalwell (669361) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023942)

Given Ubuntu's good track record on Thinkpads, and IBM's commercial product support for Ubuntu, it's an odd choice.

Re:Odd, given IBM's support for Ubuntu (3, Insightful)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22023964)

Well, i think this has nothing to do with IBM, since they sold all their PC business to Lenovo.

Re:Odd, given IBM's support for Ubuntu (1)

mcalwell (669361) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024174)

Whilst that is true, they maintain a strong role in Lenovo, and Thinkpads still go under the IBM brand.

Re:Odd, given IBM's support for Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22025144)

Well, given SUSE's good track record on Thinkpads and IBM's commercial product support for SUSE it's a logical choice.

What people ignore (1)

kaiwai (765866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024086)

What people ignore is this; the issue isn't so much the idea of Linux pre-installed (which is important) but the OEM's actually offering choice to the customer; that the OEM ensures that when they assemble their machines they don't design the machine in such a way that it virtually makes it a 'Windows only machine'. That is the issue.

Yes, offer Linux pre-installed, but at the same time, offer me the ability to say, "no, I don't want an operating system at all, I just want the laptop, and I'll obtain an operating system of choice through my own means" - in my case, something like OpenSolaris or a *BSD of some flavour.

Respect the consumers right to choose :)

Linux? Cool. but let's add real security (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024234)

"computer security" is the laughing stock of the world

I am hoping that as some of these new systems come out, based on Linux, or perhaps Solaris x.86 that the makers will delete the concept of remote updates to software

yep, I said delete that bad idea

download is OK, but after the download customer needs a chance to review what the material is, check signatures, etc and decide whether he wants to update his machine or not

NO SIGNATURE? NO EXECUTE.

It's time to get serious about security before something bad happens. And I think maybe IBM might be just the outfit that could do it. Let's resurrect RACF and set it up for Linux ( maybe Solaris! )

I really like that Solaris x.86 -- which is real unix instead of a substitute.

C'mon IBM, Let's Rock!

Can you elaborate on this? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024408)

What exploits have automated updates, initiated by the software being updated, enabled?

small ThinkPads please! (1, Offtopic)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024238)

14-inch-wide notebooks

Good for aeroplanes I suppose, but still not small enough.

Small is good. For me, I prefer carrying 3.5-5" PDAs and 9-12" subnotebooks. And even 12" is already too big. What I realy want is a robust ThinkPad with modern technology at or below 12".

What can you do on a small screen? Well, lots of things. What you lose in screen size you gain it three times in productivity thanks to flexibility in using your machine anywhere you want. I use my PDA (HTC Universal) and my 8.9" Flybook while walking, for example. This means that I am productive at times that other people aren't, which increases my earning power. Many showstopping software bugs were fixed and important emails have been written while I was walking down the street. It also helps me stay fit (and also increase my knowledge, I even read books while walking).

What can you do with a laptop that you can use only on a desk? Not much. And while you use it your spine suffers unless you have a very good ergonomic office. Now imagine being able to work while hiking in nature or while standing in line at the bank. You have no desk in these situations (except by luck, for example I have found a nice place where I go hiking and it has some rocks at the right configuration that they behave just like a desk! but this is rare), and yet with a subnotebook you can work just as well. The associated time savings add up over time and you can soon find that your typical day has not 24 but 32 or 48 hours in it.

Doing this with 15.4" laptops isn't easy (I have tried it, with a ThinkPad!). What mobile nomad technology professionals and other very busy persons need is a small subnotebook, smaller than 12" (a perfect size I think is between 7" and 9"), equipped with the right pointing device controls and other features to allow use while walking or standing (Flybook for example has a nice trackpoint at the correct location and a cord to secure your subnotebook to your arm in case it is about to fall down). PDAs are good for short emails, viewing documents, quickly testing something in Python or quickly SSHing to your server, but they aren't good for serious work (this may change with HTC Shift, however). So what we really need is subnotebooks at the right size to keep them with our hands in front of us while walking. And they should be GNU/Linux-compatible (who wants to work with Windows? Debian lenny [debian.org] with some tweaking is great for me) and have USB ports so that we can connect 3G Internet modems (or incorporated GSM/HSDPA modules like Flybook, but I have found USB ports a bit easier for setting them up in GNU/Linux). That's what technomads want.

The current subnotebook offerings by other manufacturers are not really very robust, and many have various problems with GNU/Linux. A robust GNU/Linux-compatible ThinkPad at small dimensions would be great. How could Lenovo ignore this important market?

Re:small ThinkPads please! (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024274)

note: X60/X61 is good but actually it is a smaller one which is greatly needed, and the problem with X60/X61 is that its trackpoint is located at the centre of the keyboard rather than at the top right or top left position which is the position that the pointing device needs to be for effective use while walking (that's how Flybook has it).

Two questions... (2, Insightful)

Qubit (100461) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024448)

1. Where's the link to a current press release from Lenovo or from Novell/SuSE? The article doesn't share any links, and when I looked on both companies' sites all I could find were old [novell.com] press releases [lenovo.com] .

2. Why SuSE? Did Lenovo somehow broker an unbeatable deal on support contracts, or... ?

While googling for more news on the current development, I found an old Lenovo blog entry [lenovoblogs.com] from September of 2007 asking "What Linux distribution would you most like to see supported on a ThinkPad?". Now I'm sure that every kind of online poll has some amount of ballot-stuffing, but out of the 64572 responses, 37% chose Ubuntu, 17% chose Mandrivia, and (much farther down the list) a mere 5% chose SuSE, SLED, or OpenSuSE. SLED got only 312 votes, giving it less than 0.5% of the votes.

As unscientific as the poll was, the author of the blog admitted in the lead-up to the poll that he figured that he needed to try out Ubuntu and that he was pretty sure what linux distribution was going to be chosen. So with all this user interest in Ubuntu, why did Lenovo go the Novell/SuSE route?

Oh well -- as long as the Thinkpad hardware is fully supported by some modern Linux distro, I figure that Ubuntu should have no problems supporting it.

Re:Two questions... (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22024964)

Lenovo and IBM were working with Novell for a long time in bringing this to market. The belief here is that some of the laptops in a corporate environment would be running SuSE which could still be a part of the corporate windows domain. I couldn't locate a press release either, so I wonder how much truth is in this story.

I also think Lenovo is smart about keeping Ubuntu off their corporate laptops for now, they look at Ubuntu as being a consumer Linux distribution where SuSE is geared for the corporate environment. Just because some poll was stuffed by the ubuntu mob, I don't think either is better than the other. It's just like anything else in this world - right tool for the right job.

good fit (1)

Heem (448667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22025204)

FWIW, they've been using this combination of software and hardware inside Novell for years.

Where's the IPS(Flexview) screens, first of all? (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22025436)

It's fine that they've loaded that on there, but I doubt that any of those models are equipped with Flexview(the highest quality display that can be had for now). There may be attempts to imitate it, but there's nothing that they have so far that comes close.

It's one of the things that made a Thinkpad (for having it available). It doesn't matter much on what software is shipped, but the hardware faces you every day.

Attention T61 buyers!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026354)

Lenovo made a recent change to the T61 model Thinkpads that is probably not known to the mass public. Lenovo changed the skeleton frame of the T61's to a ceramic compressed mold. Unfortunately there is a defect in the mold. The ceramic frame for the display is warped in such a way that a bulge is produced on the exterior casing of the display half. It's more cosmetic than anything, but on the latest T61 that my department purchased, it was more pronounced than the 3 other T61's we've purchased ofver the last 6 months.

This change in frame design was told to me by a Lenovo tech who I'd called in to fix the issue, which there is really no fix for... Like I said, it's more cosmetic than anything, but when you can turn the laptop on its top, and spin it freely cause of the bulge, you know something isn't quite right.

On another note, Lenovo has made some hardware quality changes to their T61's, that anyone with a T series laptop older than a year would recognize right off. The display latching mechanism is considerably more flimsy and you feel you'll break it if you open it to many times or close it to fast.

We have 10 Thinkpads in my department and we love the hardware. If things like construction design and workmanship start to degrade, it'll make us think twice about using them. We put those laptops through use and abuse and once the quality design starts to degrade, we'll look elsewhere for the same spec's.
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