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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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  • Re:Well up-theirs (Score:3, Informative)

    by the_humeister (922869) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:45PM (#24967539)
    Or perhaps there was no demand.
  • Thinkpad T61 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Philotic (957984) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:54PM (#24967661)
    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, and I'd rather not pay for it. As an anecdotal story, I was talking with a Lenovo representative about why they offered Linux on only a few select models. Eventually I started asking about anti-trust law. Her response was continually that Lenovo was aware of the law and that nothing was going to change.
  • 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:DVD Playback? (Score:5, Informative)

    by zsouthboy (1136757) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:01PM (#24967745)

    They install LinDVD.

  • 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.

  • 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:3rd party (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:13PM (#24967937)
    I've noticed several small-scale start-ups recently that are building and selling computers [jgcustompcs.com] pre-loaded with linux. I wonder how many of these are outsource refugees...
  • by unixfan (571579) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:32PM (#24968245) Homepage

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

  • 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.

  • Re:Well up-theirs (Score:2, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @05:05PM (#24968731)
    So all you are really saying is that you don't actually know how to admin XP at all? Telling XP that you will monitor your own anti-virus is a couple of clicks, and it will never bother you again.

    Sounds like you just wanted an excuse to post the same old vitrol.
  • Re:Well up-theirs (Score:1, Informative)

    by ghetto2ivy (1228580) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @05:35PM (#24969193)
    Doesn't sound like that's what the OP meant. I've run into this before when I had XP -- windows would complain that I didn't have antivirus -- and no you couldn't turn it off. It would warn about my unsafe computer every so often. Some free AV software I used on occasion back then was not recognized by XP as being an AV program and the warnings continued. -- Recovering Windows User
  • Re:Well up-theirs (Score:3, Informative)

    by Whatanut (203397) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @06:26PM (#24970031)

    Actually you can turn that off. That lovely little nag feature is a part of "Security Center". It's a service that you can disable. It's one of the first things I do on XP after install.

  • Re:Well up-theirs (Score:2, Informative)

    by RulerOf (975607) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @06:26PM (#24970033)

    windows would complain that I didn't have antivirus -- and no you couldn't turn it off.

    Have to call you on this one.

    Bullshit. [tinypic.com]

    Though there are multiple methods to remove that message, this is by far the most effective.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @06:30PM (#24970095) Homepage

    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.

  • Re:It's clear why (Score:4, Informative)

    by Falstius (963333) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @07:58PM (#24971495)

    To be fair, the F/OSS for playing MP3s and DVDs is very good. It just isn't legal in the US.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @11:35PM (#24973699) Journal

    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 Microsoft branded cellular phone.

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