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Linux Business Software Hardware Linux

Lenovo Removes Linux Option For Home Buyers 380

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

    And people just weren't buying them?

  • Re:Well up-theirs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PunkOfLinux ( 870955 ) <> on Thursday September 11, 2008 @03:42PM (#24967477) Homepage

    i bought my laptop for dual-booting, WinXP MCE and Linux. After 4 months of getting tired of it telling me "Use *our* antivirus of choice!" in windows I just gave up and installed linux. Truth be told, I kept my MCE key around, because that gives me the legal right to use it in a VM should the need arise. (But it hasn't, thanks, in part, to everything moving to the web)

  • I have one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by penguinchris ( 1020961 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [sirhcniugnep]> 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.

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


    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? :)

  • 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 [] which is still perhaps a viable route.
  • by ianare ( 1132971 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:09PM (#24967849)
    Linux is communist in a sense because the community 'owns' it, anyone can contribute to it regardless of social class, and the community governs itself without need of outside interferance.

    These are all fundamental ideals of communism [] - that all property is communally owned, that all people are equal regardless of class, and that the workers (common people) should be in charge of governing themselves.

    The way the Chinese run their country is very far from the ideals of communism, in fact no country that I know has ever had a successful communist government. There has been plenty of dictatorships masquerading as communist though.
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> 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.

  • Re:It's clear why (Score:2, Interesting)

    by juiceboxfan ( 990017 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:16PM (#24968009)

    Lenovo shipped Novell's SLED 10 (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10), but not Ubuntu. Maybe Lenovo selected the wrong distro?

    So, does SLED 10 play mp3's and DVD's out of the box?
    Don't get me wrong I am a Linux fanboi - it's the only thing I run at home and mostly at work. But having to find and install all the various "non-free" apps from possibly incompatible repos (yum) is a PITA. Probably even more so for a non-technical user.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:19PM (#24968053) Homepage

    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 [easily] available. (There will always be ThePirateBay I think...)

    But with people everywhere interested in at least trying Linux out, the people refusing to supply Linux preloaded will also become a starving minority group... and in time, we will even see Linux priced at $0 while Windows will be shown for its true price... not $0.

    It is an eventuality... an inevitability. I don't see this as much of a setback as it might have seemed a couple of years ago.

  • by The_DoubleU ( 603071 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:22PM (#24968099)
    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.
  • 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).

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:49PM (#24968501) Homepage Journal

    You probably have a better defense having the OEM licence than none at all, especially if you were running a single copy in a VM on the machine it was tied to.

    The clause was likely intended to prevent someone from running a copy of windows in a VM on some super-powered server or something.

  • by JesseMcDonald ( 536341 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @04:51PM (#24968545) Homepage

    1) F/OSS supporters don't (generally) claim that all property should be communally owned. The concept of ownership -- communal or otherwise -- doesn't even apply to things which lack scarcity, such as code. To the extent that some people claim it does apply ("IP") it isn't "owned" by the community, but rather by the individual contributors. Cooporation between individual property owners for mutual benefit is a tenet of capitalism, not communism.

    2) The idea that all individuals have equal rights under the law, though by no means universal, is not unique to communism. Capitalism, for example, endorses the same principle. Furthermore, there are different "classes" within F/OSS; administrators, maintainers, users, etc. The level of access to the project repositories, and the level of influence over the project's goals, varies according between these "classes".

    3) Communism involves collective self-government: the "collective will" of the group governs each individual member's actions. F/OSS projects, by contrast, exist in a state of literal anarchy (no rulers) consistent with individual sovereignty, self-ownership, individual rights, and private property. There is no comparison between the two; they exist on opposite ends of the spectrum.

  • by MeBot ( 943893 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @05:44PM (#24969353)
    So do you subtract the amount they're paid to bundle adverts? Do you subtract the support costs that would be required to support more options for purchase? You have to assume that Dell/IBM/HP/etc are all evaluating their full cost structure including those things. If so, is it possible the "Microsoft Tax" is actually a negative value meaning it's cheaper for IBM to sell a Windows machine and be paid by advertisers than it is to sell a machine with nothing on it? Again, not trying to troll... just seems like its become one of those buzzwords with no actual meaning any more.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday September 11, 2008 @08:29PM (#24971959) Homepage

    Linuz also has a property that is never true in the physical world, it's in infinite supply. That means it must also be maintenance-free, since you could always get a "new" one and so noone has to be forced to work just to maintain the status quo. It also takes care of all control issues, while in the real world many resources are naturally limited (say beluga caviar), others can be made limited (limit production, hoarding) and the ones in control of that scarce resource now has power. That can be bargained with other people in power so that those in power are rich and the others poor. In short, the reason Linux works and communism doesn't is that the infinite supply renders all egoists and freeloaders harmless. A society on the other hand could never function with everybody consuming much more than they produce.

BLISS is ignorance.