Linux

What's up with Lenovo and Linux?

Lenovo announced that it would no longer sell pre-installed Linux on ThinkPads and ThinkCentres via online sales.

I saw the news item, "Lenovo halts online sales of Linux-based PCs," and just wondered what the real scoop is.

"Our commitment to Linux has not changed," said Gorman in an e-mail to Computerworld. "What's changed is that customers will no longer be able to order Lenovo ThinkPads and ThinkCentres with pre-installed Linux via the lenovo.com Web site."

Hmmmm. So the spokesman went on to say that Lenovo will no longer be offering pre-installed Linux via its online sales because they weren't hitting "big enough numbers." How few does it have to be to make it not worth your effort to supply to consumers?

Is this something to take at face value, or does anyone have any conspiracy theories?

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

14 comments
crt
crt

???Our commitment to Linux has not changed,??? Of course, they never really had any commitment

Sepius
Sepius

They never make an effort. MS seems to have them by the S & C. I just wish it would be easier to buy a system with no OS, but then you would have some idea of what you are paying MS for and sales would really get effected. Some companies just don' get the "as in voice" when it comes to freedom. Conspiracy ...YEP, unless they do offer the systems with no OS ... oh they don't ... there's a surprise!!

jcurrier421
jcurrier421

Sounds like a lack-luster marketing effort.

TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827

I suspect (no proof) that the SLED machines (business install their own images, Monta Vista at my company) and consumer's don't want or need SLED. I suspect that they started "offering" Linux to get concession from MS in some form, and/or MS offered incentives to drop the Linux (such as it was). For the conspiracy minded, why, in the UMPC market, is it impossible to find IDENTICAL hardware with the only difference being XP/LINUX. Dell's UMPC with linux, no webcam, takes effort to configure the same as the XP version (but not identical). Others, Linux is SSD only, XP gets mini-larger drives. It is per MS mandate, you must obfuscate the direct comparison of Windows VS Linux on price. It is critical to MS to make it appear that Windows is "free". Can anyone provide a reason why most of the big UMPC makers use identical hardware with the only difference being the OS? Wouldn't it have been cheaper and easier for Dell to simply have the same hardware model without differences between Linux and Windows? TripleII

Jaqui
Jaqui

That Lenovo even OFFERED Linux pre-installed, since every time I looked at the website they only offered windows pre-installed on it. Naturally the sales numbers are low, WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE A SINGLE PAGE ACCESSABLE to sell it. oh, that's right, when I try to browse Lenovo website is defaults to http://www.lenovo.com/ca/en/ which NEVER offered ANY Linux products. not that I would BUY a system with ANY os pre-installed, BARE METAL only for me, which you refuse to offer anyway.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Who's responsibility is it to market Linux, the hardware vendor or the distribution developers? The hardware vendor may view marketing Linux as an additional burden they don't have with Windows. After all, MS does that marketing for them.

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

I was in the market for a new computer and I do not use Windows by choice. I first looked on HP and did a search for Linux - no hits. I saw the articles about Dell selling pre-installed Linux so I thought I would check that one out. I finally after a 15 minute search found the page that offered Linux but thought that I could do better elsewhere. I had previously had good luck with IBM Thinkpads so I checked Lenovo. Again I had to really dig to find the Linux offerings. What that told me was that if I did pay the price to get the pre-installed Linux I would be treated like a step-child by the company. I then tried to see if I could get a computer without an O/S installed at all and found that most would not do that. Even some of the build to order would not sell a computer without an O/S. Finally narrowed it down to a few and bought the one I now use. I got it without the O/S and installed Linux in 15 minutes and was good to go. Until the vendors who try to advertise they provide Linux do something to make it easy to find then it is all just a PR scam for them. They might just as well not offer it then.

john3347
john3347

This, I believe, is just another instance of Linux systems just not being ready for the general public. The IT professional types who are willing to use their computers AS a project instead of FOR a project usually build their own systems. If the Linux programmers programmed for the non-technically trained user, they would find a vastly larger market.

jprigot
jprigot

They used to show Linux as an operating system choice in their "chooser" menu on the Thinkpad page. At least up to June, you could have bought a "bare" Thinkpad. When I was ordering mine, the choices were SuSE Linux or PC-DOS RTU (subtract $10). In July, that option disappeared along with the NVidia equipped machines. In August, we were down to an R41 the only choice. Now they've all "evaporated". They do still offer a modem driver for the WinModem, and they do have a list of certified distributions.That's it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm sure some 'Mom and Pop's' do, but do any of the big-name vendors besides Dell offer Linux?

Jaqui
Jaqui

when you have to search the vendor's product to find it, instead of it being obviously available. [ Lenovo and Dell both ] Then it is the Vendors fault. They can't "sell" what their customers can't find, and finding their products on their website is the Vendor's responsability.

Jaqui
Jaqui

buy bare metal, Lenovo's website for CANADIAN clients never had the option. and, just like Dell, they will only sell to Canadians from their Canadian website. [ the URL in my original post ]

Jaqui
Jaqui

made it hard to find on their website. so hard to find, they have killed it except for in the US.

jck
jck

do you think MS threatened Dell with a price per unit hike after their pre-install agreement runs out for Vista?? i'd be curious to know. Hell...if Linux could ever win enough court battles...and native support Windows apps like OS/2 did...due to MS publicly publishing their interface specs...i'd be 100% Linux. In fact, I'm jonesing without my big machine running that I have Kubuntu on. short of being able to play my games, there's nothing I can't do with Linux that I do with Windows.

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