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Lenovo Removes Linux Option For Home Buyers 380

Posted by timothy
from the and-the-linux-netbook's-non-us-only dept.
billybob2 writes "Lenovo has stopped selling laptops pre-installed with Linux on its web site, only 8 months after starting the trial program. This means that home customers won't be able to buy a Thinkpad without paying the Microsoft tax. Word has it that the decision to pull the plug on Linux came down from the highest levels of the Chinese company's corporate headquarters. For those looking to buy full-sized laptops and desktops with Linux pre-loaded Dell, System76, ZaReason and Everex all still offer such products."
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Lenovo Removes Linux Option For Home Buyers

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  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:38PM (#24967417) Homepage Journal

    I suspect the decision was made because of comparatively small demand.

    Not every disappointment in life is the result of a Grand Microsoft Conspiracy. (grin)

    • by yukk (638002) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:44PM (#24967519)
      Most likely it was a combination of low volume and pressure from Microsoft. If M/S keeps the pressure on and the sales don't make it worthwhile fighting then they drop the line.
      • by TeknoHog (164938) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:03PM (#24967781) Homepage Journal

        Most likely it was a combination of low volume and pressure from Microsoft. If M/S keeps the pressure on and the sales don't make it worthwhile fighting then they drop the line.

        Most likely it was an example of Boyle's law in action: the higher the pressure, the lower the volume.

      • Exactly - if it's increasing the bottom line only a few percentage points, it probably wouldn't be worth the risk of offending the biggest player in the PC market.

        Especially since, judging from what I've seen, their linux program isn't generating nearly the same level of good will in the open source community that Dell and others are generating.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amn108 (1231606)

      It does not cost them anything to pre-install Linux in the first place, any more than tweaking a copy to run on each model they have, which is not the worlds hardest job. Roll out and copy, that is it. And no need to pay royalties to MS. The decision was probably made as a result of suits taking a meeting with another group of suits that told their "friends" that their product is superior in every way and there is absolutely no reason to even consider Linux. This is the way of recent ISO-votes and it works.

      • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:10PM (#24967867)

        Not true, if you release an OS with your system you "have" to test it, along with all the drivers for each hardware configuration you offer. At larger PC vendors a lot of time and money is spent on this test phase, and a lot of issues are found. The bar is a lot lower for consumer grade stuff, but the testing does still happen. This is why you can't always find the exact combo of hardware you want, for the exact flavor of OS you want.

        In order to deliver the cheapest, fastest, greenest, whateverist, people do tend to deviate from Intel's reference design for a given platform. They deviate from other IC vendor reference designs as well, to, in theory, provide a better end user experience, more integration, etc.

        The result is that a stock OSes (linux, windows, or "other") may not necessarily work as well, unless/until patches are sent upstream and accepted by whatever OS community is responsible. I am personally aware of a number of OS bugs in both Linux and Windows, found during this testing, that are corrected with the OS shipped with the product by the mfg, that are not yet part of the mainstream OS release. They will be released in a service pack or hotfix, update, etc. at some point, but OS release schedules rarely correlate with hardware releases. Sometimes they never are in the OS release and are in registry changes etc. YMMV.

        It may be that some PC vendors are choosing to absorb these costs because Microsoft has been rubbing everyone the wrong way. Lenovo clearly doesn't wish to be one, except perhaps in markets where there's a different expectation of quality & support or where piracy is acceptable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by amn108 (1231606)

          Actually I did not say that it is a automatic process, where manufacturers just install vanilla Ubuntu. I said it is not the worlds hardest job. And if you count in the savings of royalties they otherwise pay to MS, it is is very cheap to maintain Linux.

          I am well aware Linux does not behave nicely either, given I have a Thinkpad T61, half of which functionality I had to tweak to work properly.

          Still, even in the short run Linux does pay off. Also, people can choose Windows still, nobody forces them to run Li

        • by MrMr (219533)
          Lenovo clearly doesn't wish to be one, except perhaps in markets where there's a different expectation of quality & support or where piracy is acceptable.
          That last remark sounds illogical, in markets where piracy is acceptable Linux would not be an obvious choice. It would take more effort to make an illegal version of Linux than to distrubute it legally.
          I think it is more likely that Lenovo has chosen to exclusively target markets where piracy is the preferred mode of software distribution.
      • by businessnerd (1009815) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:11PM (#24967887)

        It does not cost them anything to pre-install Linux in the first place, any more than tweaking a copy to run on each model they have

        That's not really true. While the copy of Linux itself does not necessarily cost them anything, the fact that it is another option for the customer DOES make it cost more. General rule of thumb is that the more stock keeping units (SKU), the more it will cost you as a company. Basically, if you only sold one model of widgets, in one color with no options at all, it is cheaper than selling one model of widget that comes in either red or blue. It's not about the paint - the red and blue paint cost the same. It's the fact that your production line now has to support two variations. You now have two different packages for the product and on your web site, you now have to add in the capability for the customer to choose their color, and then you have to make sure that they get the right one. Going back to Lenovo, having a second operating system option means a lot of extra investment in their supply chain. Granted, if there is significant customer demand, the extra investment in the supply chain may be worth it. However, if the demand is not there, then the company shouldn't be selling that extra SKU.

        On a non-business note, though, I'm sad to hear that they will no longer be selling pre-installed Linux. In fact, I didn't even know they had been selling pre-installed Linux until now. I like that the option is there. At the very least, I don't pay the Microsoft tax when I won't be installing any Microsoft software and hardware compatibility and driver support becomes more robust. I'm glad Dell is hanging in there. I won't comment on whether this is a conspiracy or not. I'm a dedicated Linux user and I love to bash Microsoft, but even I can admit that the demand just may not be there. It could have even been a factor of them failing at getting the message out to those who would be interested (I at least didn't get the memo). Although I will never completely rule out the possibility of an MS conspiracy, we can't exactly jump to that conclusion here.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by The_DoubleU (603071)
          If they still sell Linux to enterprise users then they have to do the testing anyway. So there is no loss to also sell to home users.
      • The operative word here is "comparatively".

        Picture this: some company, a laptop manufacturer, hears about Linux and decides that it wants to sell units with pre-installed Linux. It makes some changes to the process and cranks out(for example) 2000 units. Only 22 units sell.

        The company could do a few things: they could allow the other 1078 to collect dust(lost time == lost $$$) while hoping demand picks up, or they could install windows(less lost time == less lost $$$) on 'em and send 'em out the door. Y
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by kpainter (901021)

          Picture this: some company, a laptop manufacturer, hears about Linux and decides that it wants to sell units with pre-installed Linux. It makes some changes to the process and cranks out(for example) 2000 units. Only 22 units sell.

          The company could do a few things: they could allow the other 1078 to collect dust

          Personally, I would be looking to find who stole the other 900 units. Probably find them listed on ebay.

        • by MrMr (219533)
          That company clearly wasn't called Asus.
      • by capnkr (1153623)

        I would gladly pay the same price for a Linux laptop as I would for one with a copy of (insert Win flavor) on it.
         
        OEM's: Don't charge *more* for Linux, charge the _same_ as what you would for a system with the MS tax, and then put the difference in your pocket.
         
        Use the extra profit as an incentive to offer and support Linux, and keep it in the line...

      • by robertjw (728654)
        It might not cost them much to support Linux on delivery, but there are probably some additional costs associated. On the consumer grade hardware, you probably get some morons that didn't know what they were buying and freaked when it wasn't Vista. I'm sure there are support costs of that nature.

        I'm guessing it was just causing more problems than it was making sales.
    • Comment from me (Score:4, Informative)

      by Kludge (13653) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:40PM (#24968357)

      because of comparatively small demand.

      Maybe the "demand" was small because no one could find it on their f-ing web site.

      I wanted a new laptop w/ Linux last month, and I looked at virtually every Thinkpad on their web site, and I could select Linux on almost none of them.

      I can almost say the same thing about Dell. Only a small fraction of their laptops can I find Linux available.

      Most of these companies just are paying lip service to Linux.

  • by cybrthng (22291) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:39PM (#24967431) Journal

    And people just weren't buying them?

    • by e2d2 (115622) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:43PM (#24967489)

      Yeah All kinds of possibilities can lead to this.

      I think as *nix advocates (at least some of us), we need to realize that it's not all about being altruistic to these guys. It's about money, and if it's doesn't make money then why would they do it? But why speculate on motivations. It's just a fact and we can accept it, make Linux better where we can, and move forward.

      • by cybrthng (22291) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:47PM (#24967567) Journal

        Agreed..

        Linux isn't the answer to everything. Typical linux users don't pay the premium lenovo/IBM pricing anyway for the most part. They would go HP/Dell and put their own OS on since the "MS tax" has little to do with the price differences of Lenovo and other options.

        BTW, when will Apple get rid of the Apple Tax? :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by schwaang (667808)

          BTW, when will Apple get rid of the Apple Tax? :)

          Maybe when Microsoft starts selling PCs, so that your comparison is really an apples-to-Apples one? ;)

          • by tepples (727027)

            Maybe when Microsoft starts selling PCs

            That was 2001, when Microsoft introduced Xbox, a PC marketed as a game console.

          • In partnership with a hardware company in India called Zenith [theregister.co.uk], Microsoft is a PC OEM for a system called the IQpc. That was really not a smart move on Microsoft's part.

            All the next billion users are not belong to Microsoft. Not theirs. The backlash from this decision is just now reaching the upper levels of Microsoft management as their platform is deprecated by long term partners who understand that if Microsoft gets share in this market, they're dead. This is the same reason you don't have a Microsof

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Some of us do. Unfortunately, laptops often have strange new combinations of components that are not yet stable in Linux, such as scrollbars, new graphics chipsets, strange RAID controllers, etc., that were only tested with Windows by the manufacturers. Maintaining good quality for such components, and making sure the drivers work well together, takes real effort by competent people. And if you're trying to trim costs, those people may not stick around.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jedidiah (1196)

          IBM isn't Lenovo. It's as simple as that.

          They don't deserve whatever consideration you would give a PC builder because it's a part of Big Blue.

      • by Gat0r30y (957941)
        Cost most certainly could have been a factor. How much in additional costs did the company incur to support customers with the linux distro versus Vista/XP?
      • we need to realize that it's not all about being altruistic to these guys. It's about money, and if it's doesn't make money then why would they do it?

        I wish more companies would remember that altruism can make them money in the long run. If Dell, for example, can make it so that Linux makes serious in roads, then the next generation of computer shoppers will always remember Dell as the maverick that spearheaded the Linux desktop movement that the consumer's reaping the benefits of. Idealism can and does lead to profit.

  • by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:41PM (#24967457) Homepage Journal

    The Microsoft tax isn't that big a deal, at least not in the Thinkpad price range. Were their Linux-based laptops any cheaper? I know some other companies that offer Linux don't offer any discount for it.

    A bigger concern is whether they're providing driver support for Linux installation or not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553)
      The Microsoft tax isn't that big a deal, at least not in the Thinkpad price range.

      If it was possible to burn the money in a fire instead of giving it to Microsoft, then format the laptop and put Linux on it, then no, it wouldn't be a big deal. But that's not the case here. Microsoft is actually getting stronger off that tax, and I think we'll all agree, that is a big deal...
      • by cybrthng (22291) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:51PM (#24967615) Journal

        So let me get this straight. There was no MS tax on these, NO one was apparently buying them, so they're dropping the line and we still have to rattle on and on about a MS tax?

        If i buy an apple, how do i get rid of the OSX/Apple tax?

        If I buy a ford, how do i put a Mazda engine it it from the getgo and not pay the Ford tax?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR (28044)

          "If I buy a ford, how do i put a Mazda engine it it from the getgo and not pay the Ford tax?"
          Ford and Mazda use mostly use the same motors. Ford owns a bit part of Mazda.
          And it really isn't the same thing. X86 has always run many different Operating System. IBM didn't bundle PC-DOS with the PC you had a choice of PC-DOS, CP/M-86 and I think at one point Xenix. PC-DOS is the cheapest so that is what most people bought. So buying a PC is not like buying a car without a motor.
          So you analogy was flawed on many

        • by snl2587 (1177409) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:09PM (#24967859)

          If i buy an apple, how do i get rid of the OSX/Apple tax? If I buy a ford, how do i put a Mazda engine it it from the getgo and not pay the Ford tax?

          Apple makes the computers. Ford makes the cars. So there really isn't a way to not pay them in some way (unless you stole their products...but that's beside the point)

          Microsoft, on the other hand, does not manufacture the computers. So if I want to buy a computer I shouldn't have to pay them as well if I don't want their product to come with it.

        • If i buy an apple, how do i get rid of the OSX/Apple tax?

          That's a bit of a broken comparison, since Microsoft doesn't produce full computer hardware, as was noted by another poster.

          If I buy a ford, how do i put a Mazda engine it it from the getgo and not pay the Ford tax?

          See, this is the crap that is making it difficult for people to see their way around Microsoft. An engine is a piece of *hardware*, much as a CPU is a piece of hardware. An operating system is not a CPU; if you're going to use a car analogy (since this is slashdot, after all), try to use one that makes sense. If you equate the OS to the engine which a car comes with (which is more ofte

        • If I buy a ford, how do i put a Mazda engine it it from the getgo and not pay the Ford tax?

          True that an OS is to a computer akin of what an engine is to a car, but that is not a good comparison for this case. What would be a good comparison is say if when you bought any car it came only with a Bose sound system. For many, a Bose system will sound "awesome" or good enough. But many others would rather have a system with a better range, or better MP3 support, or at a much lower cost. They see the true pro

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968)

        The Microsoft tax isn't that big a deal, at least not in the Thinkpad price range.

        If it was possible to burn the money in a fire instead of giving it to Microsoft, then format the laptop and put Linux on it, then no, it wouldn't be a big deal. But that's not the case here. Microsoft is actually getting stronger off that tax, and I think we'll all agree, that is a big deal...

        I know a few really smart, really nice people who work at Microsoft. I don't have a problem with MS making money. I'd much rather have the money go to MS and then get filtered back into the US economy and partially eventually back into my pocket than burned or sent to China where the money doesn't come back this way.

    • by Piranhaa (672441)

      In my view it's more of a "Microsoft Rebate" with all the crapware that gets installed alongside the default install. Either way, it's still included in Microsoft's numbers as a 'sale', which helps their sales figures and shares.

  • If they had seriously wanted to hit the market they would have rpovided a variety of options. I was going to buy one, but now I think I'll go Dell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CogDissident (951207)
      And that is why Linux is a bad idea for them. Every linux nerd that wants a pre install, wants their favorite "flavor" of pre install. And gets pissy when their favorite brand name isn't in first place. And half the time people buy linux machines for their computer-illiterate relatives, making them take up huge amounts of phone-support time.

      Easier to pitch it and say "eh, we have windows. Enjoy."
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Krneki (1192201)
        No Linux nerd or any other PC nerd will accept the default installation as a valid option. Power users will remove any crap they put on the hardware and will replace it with a proper installation. Knowing that a notebook supports Linux, whatever distro it is, it's good enough.
  • the decision to pull the plug on Linux came down from the highest levels of the Chinese company's corporate headquarters.

    China is a Communist country. The "highest levels" of any corporate HQ is the Communist Party. Is China's Communist government attacking Linux?

    Maybe because Linux really practices "from each as per their ability, to each as per their needs", and leads the world in sharing property without respect to class. And is not only successful, but makes some people gloriously rich. Maybe China is j

    • Do you think your tin foil hat would protect your head from the clue bat?

      China's economy hasn't been centrally planned for a long time.

      As for linux, FOSS is the product of self organising peer production and it's absurd to compare it to any form of government.

    • China is a Communist country.

      In name, sure, but its more of a corporatist totalitarian state than a Communist one in substance.

      The "highest levels" of any corporate HQ is the Communist Party.

      Well, there are certain state-owned (often, IIRC, through the People's Liberation Army) industries in China for which that is true, but as a general rule its really not.

  • I have one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by penguinchris (1020961) <penguinchrisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:43PM (#24967503) Homepage

    I bought a T61 several months ago from them with Suse pre-installed (I then installed the latest version of OpenSuse instead as the pre-installed one was an older, stable and supported version.)

    I like it a lot and was planning on doing the same for any future laptop purchases. It's a shame because these are great machines and perfect for Linux (and the kind of person that normally runs Linux.)

    However, I ran through the various options before purchasing and it was hard to tell if I was really saving money this way. For the Linux systems the choice of hardware options was more limited than with Windows (which does make sense) and I don't think I was able to set up equal systems which to compare prices with. In the end I think I paid the same or possibly even more for this system than if I had got one with Windows with the intention of not using it.

    I think, then, their trial of selling Linux machines failed because they failed to make it a compelling option to the buyer, either financially or otherwise (limited options.)

    I still feel good about myself for not giving any money to Microsoft.

    • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:12PM (#24967907)

      > I think, then, their trial of selling Linux machines failed because they failed to make
      > it a compelling option to the buyer, either financially or otherwise (limited options.)

      We also bought a SUSE loaded Thinkpad recently. Normally we do RedHat based distros but since this one did come with a supported load left it alone. Yes SUSE is different but the user adapted pretty quick.

      The point of preload is not just to avoid giving Microsoft money, I'm smart enough to realize Lenovo almost certainly gave Microsoft their per unit tax (no amount of court orders will ever end that practice) but we got three other important things:

      1. PRELOAD. Take it out, plug it in and go. Don't underestimate the value of that.

      2. NO SUPRISES. If they are preloading Linux on it they won't suddenly switch vendors on wireless chipsets, etc. and hose you. Even if you decide you don't like the flavor of the month a vendor ships the odds are good you can load any other recent distro.

      3. SUPPORT. If a vendor preloads Linux you can call them up and get warranty support without having to worry about reloading Windows before shipping it off or ensuring the drive is yanked out.

      In the past we bought Thinkpads because they were the best hardware and nobody offered Linux as a supported option so their lack of that didn't hurt them. That isn't true anymore so future purchases won't go to them.

  • The manufactures seem to provide very little value with these Linux installs.
  • by corsec67 (627446) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:45PM (#24967537) Homepage Journal

    http://www.hp.com/sbso/busproducts_notebooks.html [hp.com]

    Many of those laptops that can be configured have "FreeDos" as an option for the OS.
    Sure, that means it doesn't come with an installed Linux distro, but you can get a customized laptop without the MS tax.

    • Many of those laptops that can be configured have "FreeDos" as an option for the OS.

      The same is true of Dell, but in many cases you won't find that option on the website -- you need to ask your friendly Dell representative.

      I am the proud owner of a Dell-branded FreeDOS CD.

    • Sure, that means it doesn't come with an installed Linux distro, but you can get a customized laptop without the MS tax.

      If a laptop comes without an installed Linux distro, it also comes without the manufacturer's assurance that there exists a Linux driver for all hardware in the laptop.

  • DVD Playback? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bucketoftruth (583696) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:47PM (#24967561)
    On Dell's website, all the Ubuntu models have a note: Ubuntu 8.04 with DVD Playback. What does that mean? That they installed the unlicensed work-around for you or is there some licensed linux DVD decoder?
  • Rather than focusing on dark and sinister plots perhaps speculation should center on lack of customer demand and/or too many calls for customer support. If the product was selling well and at a profit its not likely that Lenovo (or anyone else) would abandon the it.

  • I'm having a really bad Linux day, because I installed KDE 4.1 on my Hardy Heron Ubuntu box, and found that, after the dust settled, I was booting with an extra kernel, my graphics were destroyed and my networking was f--- up. About the only thing that works right, actually, is in fact Vista running in a VirtualBox OSE environment, and I'm so bitter about KDE trashing my machine that I'm about ready to say screw Linux and just format the whole dang thing to Vista, if only I can find the signed drivers..

    • by yuna49 (905461) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:58PM (#24967703)

      From the KDE 4.1 announcement page:
      "While KDE 4.1 aims at being the first release suitable for early adopting users..."

      If you want to be an early adopter, you need to live with the consequences. I've run KDE for years and would never consider moving to KDE 4+ for a least another year or two.

      Also KDE != Linux.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Korey Kaczor (1345661)
      Just because you don't know how to use linux doesn't mean it is linux that sucks. Ubuntu seems to have a lot of bugs and KDE 4 isn't stable; so maybe blame the distro and desktop environment instead?
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "and I'm so bitter about KDE trashing my machine that I'm about ready to say screw Linux and just format the whole dang thing to Vista, if only I can find the signed drivers."

      A nice thing about Linux is that when something barfs, you can boot with your live CD, rescue your home directory, reinstall and update easily. (An external DVD drive allows booting from the main CD/DVD drive and burning to the external if you don't have another machine to copy to.)

      A "nuke and pave" is MUCH faster than with Windows.

      No

      • by tjstork (137384)

        A nice thing about Linux is that when something barfs, you can boot with your live CD, rescue your home directory, reinstall and update easily. (An external DVD drive allows booting from the main CD/DVD drive and burning to the external if you don't have another machine to copy to.)

        Can I reinstall over myself? If I could just nuke and pave I would be immensely happier, for sure.

        No matter what OS you use, it is time well spent learning to quick-turn a hosed system back to service.

        That's definitely fair enou

      • "and I'm so bitter about KDE trashing my machine that I'm about ready to say screw Linux and just format the whole dang thing to Vista, if only I can find the signed drivers."

        A nice thing about Linux is that when something barfs, you can boot with your live CD, rescue your home directory, reinstall and update easily. (An external DVD drive allows booting from the main CD/DVD drive and burning to the external if you don't have another machine to copy to.)

        A "nuke and pave" is MUCH faster than with Windows.

        No matter what OS you use, it is time well spent learning to quick-turn a hosed system back to service.

        1. Set up your system of any operating system in a nice configuration with all the core software and features you want installed and tweaked to taste.

        2. Use a disk imager to back up the drive to an external hd or a NAS or a usb key.

        3. When things go wrong, copy your documents if they're on the boot drive (and next time keep them on a separate drive) and restore from your image.

    • I thought KDE4 is not officially supported in Hardy? That is a warning that it is not yet stable.

      I want KDE 4, but I am not upgrading until it is the default for my distro because it is not worth the hassle that results if something goes wrong.

    • It'd help to not use an unstable version of KDE, then complain about it being... unstable.

      All honesty though, I made the switch to Gnome when I was thoroughly disappointed with the direction KDE4 is going. Apparently, Gnome got a lot better since I used it last, because I switched the rest of my systems that night.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't get why Slashdotters assume that it would be cheaper for computer producers and for consumers to install Linux instead of Windows. We also see this in complaints about the Inspiron 900 costing the same with Linux as without it, and there were some huge posts about that. Here's the deal: software development and support costs too. When a manufacturer puts Linux on their devices, they have to first test it, make sure that it works, and iron out the bugs in the parts that won't work. This takes expensi

  • Thinkpad T61 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Philotic (957984)
    I just bought a new Thinkpad T61 preloaded with Suse Enterprise Edition from Lenovo just a few weeks ago. If I remember correctly, it was roughly $100-120 less than the equivalent model preloaded with Vista. Everything worked out of the box (wireless, suspend, 3D rendering, audio...), although I found the distro to be somewhat buggy. I loaded linux mint on it the other day and it works like a charm. It's a shame they stopped offering linux preloaded. At this point I have virtually no need for windows,
  • 3rd party (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CXI (46706) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:56PM (#24967687) Homepage
    I know when I was looking previously I stumbled upon some other options, such as http://www.emperorlinux.com/ [emperorlinux.com] which is still perhaps a viable route.
  • by jcr (53032)

    A vendor offers an option, doesn't make enough money from it to make it worth continuing, so they drop it. Why does this warrant an article?

    -jcr

    • Because it was a very good product that supports the efforts of the majority of people here. And apparently it wasn't marketable enough.

  • I don't remember what Lenovo was offering, but I know with Dell, it's pretty pathetic. You get a *small* number of their machines available, plus a small number of available options - even if 'Linux compatability' does not apply - fewer, if not far fewer, options available with Linux Dell machines.

    Then there's the matter of even *finding* the damned things on Dell's website. They've separated it into it's own dell.com/ubuntu area, and you can't (easily) get into it from within the main dell.com purchasing p

    • Hiding the price (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmorris42 (1458) *

      > Is it really that hard for them to make Ubuntu an option in the OS choice box?

      Yes it is. Because above all else, end users MUST NEVER become aware of the amount Windows adds to the sticker price. That is what is behind all of these games. Windows must be an invisible component lest users begin questioning why they must buy Windows and keep on rebuying it with each and every hardware purchase. The entire monopoly depends upon this, thus Microsoft would mercilessly punish any OEM who broke that rule.

  • Back in the day, most Linux users recall a time when the only hardware that really worked well with Linux was OLD and otherwise useless hardware. Those days are long-since gone and no amount of Microsoft pressure could prevent people from developing drivers and support for Linux or otherwise releasing the specs so that other people could write support code. Now just about everything is supported under Linux and quite a few things won't fly under Vista... and it won't be long before Vista is all that is [e

  • Possible reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by proxima (165692) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:26PM (#24968157)

    Having just purchased a T61 (as it was being discontinued), I suspect they have good reasons for not offering Linux right now.

    The new T400/T500 use Intel's newest wireless chipset (Wifi 5100), which wasn't supported under Linux at the time of launch (early August). Intel announced support on August 14th, and as far as I know, it's not supported in any stable release of any major distribution. This will change in the coming months, of course, but it makes sense that there's no Linux option now.

    The video card is in a similar situation. The laptops with discrete graphics also have integrated graphics which are switchable via driver (for power savings). As far as I know, this switching isn't implemented at all in X and I don't know if you can disable one or the other card. If you order a version with only integrated graphics, I believe it's supported only by the latest version of the intel driver (which isn't yet packaged for many distributions).

    Even though I use my T61 for Linux, I still bought a Vista Home version for three reasons: 1.) Every so often I like to have Windows for something, 2.) The hardware options for the Linux version were crippled - slower processor line, etc. and 3.) OpenSuse isn't my distro of choice anyway. You'd have to buy the dock separately (no big deal), because the support for it under Linux isn't official (and it took some time to get things to work reasonably well for me).

  • I agree that it would be nice to have a Linux option for the laptop. But at the same time, is this "Microsoft tax" really an issue? I thought that the amount you are actually paying for your Windows license on a store-bought computer is only about $10, since Microsoft basically is giving them away for free. Unless we are literally bitching about the 10 bucks.

  • This means that home customers won't be able to buy a Thinkpad without paying the Microsoft tax. Word has it that the decision to pull the plug on Linux came down from the highest levels of the Chinese company's corporate headquarters.
    .

    News at Eleven: Lenovo pulls the plug on a product that isn't selling well in the North American market.

    Of the 99 laptop PCs currently available from Walmart.com only six run Linux and all six are $300 netbooks

    - and only one or two of these are to be found "in selected st

  • They are available from http://laclinux.com./ [laclinux.com.] They have a decent selection, if not all.

  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @05:02PM (#24968687) Homepage

    For the typical consumer how has no idea what Linux is, there is little point in a preloaded Linux system. Windows is fine for them, and has more consumer-type software.

    That leaves as the market for these things the people that actually want Linux. But people who know enough about Linux to actually want it probably want a specific distribution. If the preloaded distribution is that one, great!

    But if the one they want is not the preloaded one, then they are going to end up doing their own install anyway. In that case, the only advantage they really get buying one of the preloaded Linux systems is that they know the hardware works with Linux (maybe--some companies that do preloads simply don't support all of their own hardware under Linux).

    But there is also a disadvantage. Windows often comes bundled with third party software, and there also often ads from third parties included in the packaging. The companies that make the bundled software, or that the ads are for, pay the computer companies to be included. The computer company often makes enough money that way to more than pay for the Windows license. Because of this, it is often cheaper for them to sell a given model with Windows than to sell it without Windows.

    If this is the case, the Linux fan who is going to install his own distro over the preloaded one is better off, financially, buying the Windows computer and wiping it.

    Bottom line: the market for whom Linux preloads makes sense is only a small subset of the people that want to run Linux on their new computer. Hence, it is no surprise that manufacturers are not finding it worthwhile.

  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:55PM (#24971433) Journal

    Who are they to say I can't use Linux just because I decided to buy a home?!

    (Gotta love the English language)

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