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Lenovo to Sell, Support Linux on ThinkPads 243

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the march-of-the-distributions dept.
Pengo writes "Lenovo has announced that they will begin selling T-series ThinkPads with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 pre-installed beginning sometime during the fourth quarter. In addition to supplying the hardware support, Lenovo will also handle OS support for ThinkPad customers, with Novell providing software updates. 'Unlike Dell, which has targeted its Linux offering primarily at the enthusiast community, Lenovo's SLED laptops are targeted at the enterprise. Whether they are running Ubuntu, SLED, or some other distribution, the availability of Linux pre-installation from mainstream vendors increases the visibility of the operating system and gives component makers an incentive to provide better Linux drivers and hardware support. If Lenovo is willing to collaborate with the Linux development community to improve the Linux laptop user experience, it will be a big win for all Linux users, not just the ones who buy laptops from Lenovo.'"
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Lenovo to Sell, Support Linux on ThinkPads

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  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:10PM (#20133089)
    2007 is the year of Linux on the desktop!
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mac_D83 (616934) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:13PM (#20133135) Homepage
      Nope RTFA :-) 2007 is the year of Linux on the laptop!
      • by solevita (967690)
        And we're just about three quarters of the way through 2007, so the most optimistic prediction we can make is that 2008 will be the year for Linux on the laptop. I think that this is a great move, but it's not going to change much overnight.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Seismologist (617169)
        I'm eating lunch (in left hand) and typing (with right hand), how is that for an insightful response to this for insightful posting.

        Note to moderator, I recommend the "insightful" tag for this response.

      • Yup, it seems that both Lenovo and Dell saw the light. People are buying laptops and are tired of dealing with crappy software all the time.
    • by twitter (104583) on Monday August 06, 2007 @03:20PM (#20134011) Homepage Journal

      2007 is much more the year of gnu/linux than it is the year of Vista [slashdot.org]. First Dell, now Lenovo. Acer might soon decide their Singapore gnu/linux laptop has a market in the UK and US after all. That would leave HP as the only one of the big four desktop makers who don't sell models with gnu/linux. Driver support for Linux is already good but vendor demand is going to make it better, which is why M$ has done everyting in their power to keep vendors from doing this. Vista is a flop and no one is making money off the upgrade train anymore, so M$ has nothing to offer, vendors have nothing to lose and the M$ death spiral is on.

      Death spiral? Yep. They did not have the resources to make Vista modern or even functional. Low sales of Vista have flatlined their revenue, so they will never have the resources to recover. Vendors are defecting and that lowers the likely hood that Vista will ever be ready and reduces their ability to sabotage free software with bogus non standards.

      The non free way has finally failed. This will be good for everyone but M$.

      • by swimmar132 (302744) <joe&pinkpucker,net> on Monday August 06, 2007 @05:07PM (#20135225) Homepage
        Yes, Vista was a complete failure -- it only sold 60 million copies [reuters.com] so far this year. Microsoft will surely never recover, only having 34 billion dollars [microsoft.com] in cash.

        If that's not failure, I don't know what is.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Penguinisto (415985)

        They did not have the resources to make Vista modern or even functional.

        Resources, they had more than enough of. Now things like Skill, Insight, Innovation (the real kind), Design Acumen... those were what they lacked.

        IMHO, they also lacked the cojones to tear the guts out of the thing and start from scratch, a'la OSX.

        /P

        • Resources, they had more than enough of. Now things like Skill, Insight, Innovation (the real kind), Design Acumen... those were what they lacked.

          I'm not sure M$ can afford to modernize their software base any other way than the way Apple did or even if they have time to do the same anymore. The Linux kernel alone costs $600 million. [slashdot.org] Other software will cost them plenty and they will have to create many drivers themselves because vendors would give them the finger and more to less restrictive systems u

    • Linux and BeOS (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MechaBlue (1068636)
      At the least, it looks like Linux is becoming viable for the desktop. One of the challenges that Be Inc. faced with their BeOS was that they could not get any mainstream distributor to ship it (this was largely due to the secret contract that Microsoft forced OEMs to sign). Linux appears to have cleared this hurdle with multiple vendors supporting it and even more on the way. It probably won't see the popularity of Mac OS X any time soon, let alone compete with Windows, but it now has the potential to d
  • about time! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ianare (1132971) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:15PM (#20133149)
    They announced this exactly a year ago [slashdot.org]!
  • Well (Score:2, Informative)

    by El Lobo (994537)
    I may be dense but why should I care about what OS a company is putting on their machines? Leaving the ideological reasons out, an OS is no more thatn a tool and only I should care about it. I will never understand people that get an orgasm because Linuzzz OSX, Solaris or whatever object of their desire is getting more exposure. Just use it and if you dont like it, uninstall it and istall whatever does it for yoy.

    After 10 years of driving an Open I am now driving a Nissan. I am pleasing with it, but I be

    • Re:Well (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:19PM (#20133223) Journal
      Driver support for Free Software operating systems on laptops is traditionally somewhat hit and miss. If a large manufacturer is providing Linux pre-installed, then this means that they are going to be building laptops out of components that have Linux drivers. This makes shopping for a laptop much easier for anyone planning on running Linux (or *BSD, for that matter).
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Eddi3 (1046882)
        Not only that; If more people run Linux, more hardware vendors will be willing to make drivers for their products. This is a Good Thing.
        • by Dan Ost (415913)
          Even better if they release the hardware specs and let the community write the drivers for them!
      • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) on Monday August 06, 2007 @03:22PM (#20134033)

        Driver support for Free Software operating systems on laptops is traditionally somewhat hit and miss. If a large manufacturer is providing Linux pre-installed, then this means that they are going to be building laptops out of components that have Linux drivers.

        The best part about this is you've got two separate companies (Lenovo and Dell), two different product lines (Thinkpads and Inspirons), and two different distributions of Linux (SUSE and Ubuntu). This means that both companies and both distros will be pushing to get laptop hardware support working well with Linux.

        If you've just got Dell trying to buy compatible hardware for a single product line, then good Linux support for each laptop component might only come from a single manufacturer. Now that Lenovo's in the game, they'll be looking for Linux compatibility from their hardware manufacturers' as well; manufacturers which are bound to be different in many cases from Dell's. Let's also not forget software configuration, how many times have you been using one distro and just can't get some piece of hardware to work, you find a solution online, but come to find out it's only if you're using a certain distro with a certain kernel version.

        This situation means better hardware support for everyone no matter the distro or company (or lack there of).

        • by Dan Ost (415913)
          Mod parent up! He's spot on!

          This is exactly why I find this news so exciting. Now if only HP would get in the game.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hackus (159037)
        Mmmm.....well almost.

        Driver support isn't a question of well, Lenovo is selling laptops with linux preinstalled, maybe we should make a driver!

        Historically, the open source community has been very resourceful at making their own drivers, very good ones too.

        My response to this would be, "So what!".

        What has to change, is patent law before we get great linux drivers for video cards say.

        That way, Nvidia and ATI can't sue each other when they find out both are using the others patents.

        That won't ever happen, bec
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)
          The really interesting thing about having Linux per-installed is that they can't include binary-blobs that link to the kernel (e.g. ATi and nVidia drivers). If they do, then they lose the right to distribute the kernel (they could install FreeBSD, but it's a bit less buzzword-compliant). They could install the 2D-only drivers and let end-users install the blobs themselves, I suppose, but that wouldn't look good. My guess would be that they will go for Intel GPUs on these lines. If they do, then it will
          • Re:Well (Score:4, Interesting)

            by bfields (66644) on Monday August 06, 2007 @06:07PM (#20135965) Homepage

            The really interesting thing about having Linux per-installed is that they can't include binary-blobs that link to the kernel (e.g. ATi and nVidia drivers).

            I have one of the Ubuntu-preinstalled Dell laptops (the 1420n), and it does include two binary drivers: one for the wireless, and one for the modem. The wireless card is actually supported by free drivers (albeit with non-free firmware) in more recent kernels, just not in the particular kernel supported in Feisty Fawn. Dell is also selling Ubuntu desktops with nVidia video.

            It does seem dubious, and hope they'll be able to do better in the future. Oh well.

            (For what it's worth, I'm quite happy with this laptop (which I'm posting from). It was nice for once to be able to just take the laptop out of the box, turn it on, and use it, without the usual fuss required to install the OS I actually need. And they seem to be working well with upstream--the factory install seems to be *very* close to a stock Ubuntu installation, so I don't have any worries about it being abandoned.)

            • by Dan Ost (415913)
              I'm glad to hear that someone is having a good experience with the 1420n 'cuz I'm about to get one myself. I was kind of surprised that there wasn't a slashdot article when the 1420n was introduced (of course, I could have just missed it).
      • Driver support for Free Software operating systems on laptops is traditionally somewhat hit and miss.

        On the other hand, it's traditionally been pretty good on Thinkpad laptops. As the owner of an x60 tablet (which runs Ubuntu just fine), I don't see a whole lot of benefit from this.

    • by AvitarX (172628)
      Maybe you don't really care if you can get cheaper after market parts for your car due to its wide usage, but I do. I also like the perk of being able to get parts at a junkyard. Both of these options make it far cheaper for me to get my car worked on than if the manufacturer was the only source.

      Similarly with Linux, if IBM and Dell mass produce and spread awareness compatible third party hardware will be more available. I am happy to see this news because I felt like things were slowly creeping in the w
    • by ericrost (1049312)
      Please stop with the Linuzzz trollzzz. It is pretty stupid. If you "don't care" so much, why do you make Linuzzz trollzzz every time there's an article about Linux getting some exposure? Makes it seem like you care.
    • by turing_m (1030530)
      "After 10 years of driving an Open I am now driving a Nissan. I am pleasing with it, but I be damned if i care if Nissan is worldwide being adopted as the cure of cancer or not. I just drive my damn Nissan and don't care if my neighbor drive a Volvo or hate japanese cars...."

      I suppose you are fine with being locked into a never ending upgrade cycle with a car that has plastic bits that will break in 10 years time, has a worse drag coefficient than some production cars invented in the 1920s and 1930s because
  • Customer service (Score:4, Interesting)

    by toppavak (943659) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:18PM (#20133197)
    I'm particularly excited about Lenovo handling the OS support themselves, I've owned a thinkpad for several years now and have always had amazingly prompt and effective support from them... My optical drive's tray broke a couple weeks ago, and it took them exactly 4 days to get it fixed from picking up the phone to getting the laptop back in full working order.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Provocateur (133110)
      How has the built-in wifi support fared on Linux on Lenovos lately? Were you able to use Linux/OSS drivers, and steered clear of ndiswrapper?

      Just curious.

      • by JonLatane (750195)
        I don't know about current Lenovo Thinkpads, but my old T43 uses an Atheros chipset, so it requires MadWifi. It's got non-free components, but it works pretty well (although Ubuntu's NetworkManager always had trouble with the driver and non-broadcast networks).
        • but it works pretty well (although Ubuntu's NetworkManager always had trouble with the driver and non-broadcast networks).

          Ah-ha! Maybe that's why I can't get KNetworkManager to connect to my school's network. Did you ever find a fix for it that would allow it to remain automatic (i.e., something other than quitting KNetworkManager and using iwconfig manually)?

      • My x60t's wireless Just Works with Kubuntu Feisty. (Note: the x60s can come with either Atheros or Intel wireless; mine has Atheros but I think the Intel ought to Just Work as well.)

  • Let's hope they can de-complexify SUSE's YAST [opensuse.org]. Few things could make Linux look more complex to fresh eyes.

    • According to TFS, these machines are targeted at the enteprise. And from the word on the street, YAST is a godsend for networked system management (since YAST handles way more than packages if you haven't noticed).
      However, I would appreciate it if someome were to work on a similar product (or a port) to Ubuntu.
    • by krgallagher (743575) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:39PM (#20133497) Homepage
      "Let's hope they can de-complexify SUSE's YAST. Few things could make Linux look more complex to fresh eyes."

      I find that very interesting. I have been running Suse for many years now, and one of the reasons is YAST. I like the fact that I can use it in text mode and do remote administration without running X. I have always found it to be a very user friendly application. I was also very pleased that when Novel bought Suse, one of the first things they did was open YAST. I would like to see it included with more distributions.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pr0nbot (313417)
        Ok, let's say I want to update some software.

        In the KDE menu, do I go for Control Center, System > Control Center (YAST), or System > Configuration > Control Center (YAST)?

        I'll pick one of the YAST ones.

        Ok, now do I go for Software > Online Update, Software > System Update, or Software > Software Management?

        I'll go for Software Management.

        Ok, now I'm faced with the bizarrest interface I've seen in a long time.

        It really shouldn't be this hard. Of course if I switch to Ubuntu/Red Hat/Debian
        • "It really shouldn't be this hard. Of course if I switch to Ubuntu/Red Hat/Debian etc I have to learn a completely different way of doing it."

          I get your point. I am used to YAST, and therefore it is intuitive to me. Also when I am working with software installs, I just use the search to find the package I want.

          I have had to learn to use YUM, because I manage a Fedora server on the internet. I find it extremely confusing. Also all the packages have names that I may or may not recognize. For example

  • Flip Flop (Score:5, Interesting)

    by head_dunce (828262) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:22PM (#20133265) Homepage
    Well I remember not too long ago about how Lenovo would not install or support Linux [slashdot.org]. And the first comment on that page, "They'll come crawling back to us when Vista turns out to be a flop."

    Ha.
    • Re:Flip Flop (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) on Monday August 06, 2007 @04:35PM (#20134891)

      Well I remember not too long ago about how Lenovo would not install or support Linux. And the first comment on that page, "They'll come crawling back to us when Vista turns out to be a flop."

      I think it's "wishful thinking" based on a desire for Microsoft to "get what's coming to it" on your part to think this has anything at all to do with Vista / Microsoft, and don't forget that XP is still an option with *most* OEMs. This has nothing to to with Microsoft's market share, which unfortunately remains strong. Assuming a great shift in the Dark Side is presumptuous at best.

      But it's still a great sign that things are starting to move just a little.

  • Vista? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:25PM (#20133307)
    My gut reaction is that Vista's poor reception helped make this happen. Partly because of poor customer demand, and partly because it forced Lenovo and Dell to look elsewhere for product differentiation.

    Am I right?
    • Flop or not, most places are still pushing Vista because that is what Microsoft tells them to do. Those that also offer XP have a differentiator.
  • by Tarlus (1000874)

    If Lenovo is willing to collaborate with the Linux development community to improve the Linux laptop user experience, it will be a big win for all Linux users, not just the ones who buy laptops from Lenovo.
    And not just for Suse users, but of any distro in general.
  • by Outland Traveller (12138) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:38PM (#20133479)
    No one should support those particular Linux vendors who assist Microsoft in their efforts to deceptively and in bad faith portray Free Software as illegal. Lenovo - How about some Red Hat or Ubuntu offerings?

    On the positive side, one can argue that for a Free Software user it's better to pay for Novell's product than Microsoft's, because at least the hardware is more likely going to be compatible with other, more respectable Linux distributions.

    A good step forward, but there is much room for improvement.
    • Your average big-business has license compliance overhead already and fully expects to pay for software that comes with a complex use license and most likely an equally complex service contract.

      The same companies probably have a huge number of undocumented Linux servers doing mundane tasks, but they are outside the scope of getting Legal involved in most instances.

      The kind of sale Lenovo is targeting will have Legal expecting to review a complex license and support agreements with the pc purchase a (likely)
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:39PM (#20133493) Journal
    I wonder if improved support under Linux for the sensors in IBM/Lenovo laptops will come from this?
  • Three cheers for Lenovo!

    That's all I have to say.
    • Re:Cheers (Score:5, Informative)

      by jc42 (318812) on Monday August 06, 2007 @03:56PM (#20134451) Homepage Journal
      Three cheers for Lenovo!

      Well, maybe one cheer.

      I did the obvious test, that I've done for a number of other such "Linux is available on FOO" announcements: I went to lenovo.com, and tried to configure a laptop that ran linux.

      I failed.

      Nowhere on any of the couple dozen pages that I looked at did the "linux" string appear. Nowhere was I even given a choice of operating system. The choice was "Windows Vista".

      I'll give three cheers when someone who wants a linux machine can easily configure it and order it. Until then, I'll consider such announcements to be PR aimed at quieting the linux crowd without intending to sell anything to them.

      It is sorta curious that a company would so blatantly violate the old "Give the customer what they want" rule. They don't have to force linux on Microsoft fans; all they have to do is make it available. That's not difficult. So why don't they do it?

      (I recently checked at ibm.com, and I still couldn't figure out how to order a linux laptop from them, either. ;-)

      • by bfields (66644)

        I did the obvious test, that I've done for a number of other such "Linux is available on FOO" announcements: I went to lenovo.com, and tried to configure a laptop that ran linux.

        I think you missed the use of the future tense in this particular announcement....

  • by drspliff (652992) <harry.roberts@NOSPAM.midnight-labs.org> on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:46PM (#20133565)
    Ok so we've all been saying... this year is time for Linux on the desktop, maybe we're finally here.

    A combination of Windows Vista flunking and not meeting the needs of consumers (compared to Windows XP), the business requirement to bring down prices (no Windows tax) so their range of laptops can be more competitive with in the market their targeting (basically small businesses and students) means that Linux is starting to become a possibility, considering Ubuntu is often said to be easier to use than Windows XP.

    Now, can you seriously consider hardware vendors like Lenovo pushing laptops with Vista pre-installed when they know battery life descreased and the minimum required specs will be seriously increased, driving up the base cost of the machine.

    Yeah, I can see where these people are coming from, it's a pure business decision with the side effect of getting the Linux geeks on your side.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``no Windows tax''

      But is the Windows tax actually positive or negative? Some people have asserted that PC vendors actually get paid to put Windows+crapware on their systems. Dell's computers are apparently cheaper with Windows than without. Food for thought...
      • This is probably true for home systems, but business systems generally don't come with crapware. Most of them include something close to a vanilla Windows install.
      • But is the Windows tax actually positive or negative? Some people have asserted that PC vendors actually get paid to put Windows+crapware on their systems.
        maybe the big vendors do for home systems which are often shipped loaded up with huge ammounts of crapware that most home users will have trouble getting rid of though I don't belive it is possible to get exact figures on either what dell pays for a windows license or what they get paid for thier crapware load. I can't imagine any crapware vendors wanting
  • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Monday August 06, 2007 @02:52PM (#20133633) Journal
    Some may deride Novell for their deal with Microsoft, but Lenovo is targeting the corporate world, not OS Holy War advocates. In the corporate world, big businesses want certainty, even in the face of possibly-baseless claims. IMHO, the two most important places to target with Linux are businesses and schools. People will tend to use at home what they are around at school or work. Not all, but most. Familiarity breeds sales. Regarding schools, target the K-12 school systems.

    Dell, HP/Compaq, Lenovo/IBM...these are the big three that the Linux community needs to really push the off-the-shelf sale. The sales of these three dwarf all of the rest of the competition.

    Thus, I say bring it on, Lenovo! Soon, all of the other 1st and 2nd tier vendors will fall into the new order of the world or risk being left behind.
    • by Control Group (105494) * on Monday August 06, 2007 @03:12PM (#20133903) Homepage

      IMHO, the two most important places to target with Linux are businesses and schools.
      ...and you shouldn't bother with schools.

      No, really.

      Apple tried that (might still be trying it, for all I know), and it didn't make any difference. When I was in K-8 (eighties), you would have been hard-pressed to find a non-Apple product in any of the classrooms. When I was in HS (90-94), the school computer lab had only Macs. Our two semesters of programming were taught in Pascal on Macs. It wasn't until college that I had a PC computer lab available to me. Didn't make any difference at all.

      Why not? Because I didn't make the purchasing decisions for my family. My parents did. And my dad had to use PCs at work. This had nothing to do with what he had grown up using - PCs were thin on the ground when he graduated HS in '67 - but with what his office had purchased. Which means, despite Apple's best efforts at co-opting the brains of America's youth, I learned to use the PC.

      Which is why, once the PC was entrenched on the office desktop, that was it. If we want Linux/BSD/HURD/what-have-you to gain widespread adoption, it's the business desktop that we need to target.
      • by Ngarrang (1023425)
        Is it possible that this new generation is different? Where dad made the choice before, we now have the kids knowing more than the parents and telling THE PARENTS what they need to buy.

        Schools tend to be on slim budgets and the $0 cost of Linux is mighty tempting to the would-be computer teacher looking for a cheap way to set up 30 PCs for a smaller school.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Please explain to me how what big business wants is good for you as an individual, I am curious.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cerberusss (660701)
        When big businesses want Linux laptops, everybody profits from the drivers for said laptops.
    • Dell, HP/Compaq, Lenovo/IBM (...) The sales of these three dwarf all of the rest of the competition.
      Actually, no [rtoonline.com]. You're right about HP and Dell, but the third is Acer, not Lenovo.

      The Top 5 laptop market share from 2006 Q4:
      HP 4.7M
      Dell 3.5M
      Acer 3.1M
      Toshiba 2.2M
      Lenovo 1.7M
    • by grcumb (781340) on Monday August 06, 2007 @05:15PM (#20135323) Homepage Journal

      Some may deride Novell for their deal with Microsoft, but Lenovo is targeting the corporate world, not OS Holy War advocates.

      With all due respect, if corporate management would shut up and listen to what those unwashed hippies are actually saying, they might be able to get their collective head out of their ass and realise that the irrational, unrealistic ideologues are the ones in the Brooks Brothers suits.

      Free Software is not jihad. It's a rational and well-developed model for sustainable software development. Even a cursory investigation of the FOSS phenomenon makes this abundantly clear. Dismissing the Four Freedoms as inconvenient rhetoric serves no useful purpose whatsoever, unless the corporate strategy is to take from Free Software and never to give back. And that flavour of corporate piracy is an ideology that I personally find a great deal more offensive than Stallman's.

      In the corporate world, big businesses want certainty, even in the face of possibly-baseless claims.

      I know you're probably offering this as empirical fact, rather than necessarily attempting to validate or justify the idea. But honestly, the utter illogic behind an approach like that is astounding. Enriching one's declared enemy in the hope that they won't attack once strengthened - that's madness.

      I believe the proper term for this kind of thing, by the way, is danegeld [wikipedia.org]. Most people do not hold such strategies in very high esteem. English poet Rudyard Kipling, who knew a thing or two about conflict, had a thing or two to say [wikipedia.org] about it.

  • w00t (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by OriginalArlen (726444)
    This comment comes from a GNU-powered Lenovo R60, and apart from the quality of the plastic being a teensy bit less satisfying texture (to me at least) and the R40 I had before, which got lovely smooth palm-prints worn in slab in front of the keyboard, it's great - but I wish I could make the wifi work without recompiling the kernel, which admittedly is Intel's fault for not releasing the schematics, but... hey, use another on-board wifi supplier. *shrug*

    What would be really fabulous -- and I've been wait

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iabervon (1971)
      Actually, Intel's fault in wifi is looking too far forward. They've got great drivers for their wifi chipsets, which will be in 2.6.23 when it comes out this fall. They're based on the 80211 stack which got into mainline in 2.6.22 (without any of the drivers that use it yet). There's been nothing stopping people from writing great Intel wifi drivers, except that there's been a great driver on the horizon from Intel, and nobody really wanted to tackle writing an obsolete one that could have been merged for a
  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Monday August 06, 2007 @03:08PM (#20133863) Journal
    I recently purchased an X61 and I've been happy running Linux on it. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who isn't very familiar with Linux already.

    First of all, Thinkpads don't come with install media. You can make your own, but that's sort of hard if you bought a slimline model like the X61 without a CD drive. The tech support people were ultimately not helpful. They were willing to waive the $40 media fee (Lenovo, WTF?) because my computer doesn't have a disk drive, but it was "too new" for my warranty to be in their database (WTF?) and they couldn't send me the disks.

    Still, as long as I didn't touch their initial partition, I reasoned, I could still get back to a factory install. Windows was only a last resort if I couldn't get Linux on there anyway.

    The SATA controller had to be put in compatibility mode, unsurprisingly. The wireless worked in Ubuntu when I backported the Gutsy kernel, but the screen brightness control stoped working with the Gutsy kernel. So I tried Fedora 7.

    In Fedora 7 (32 bit version), wireless worked out of the box once all the kernel updates were installed (mostly worked that is -- reboot and "modprobe -r iwl4965; modprobe iwl4965" often).

    I can't get sound working even with the CVS copy of the "patch_analog.c" from alsa cvs copied into the alsa driver source. Others have had more success with this.

    Suspend (often) works after following the instructions for a T61 linked from here [fedoraforum.org]. Of course, 50% of the time the machine will crash coming out of suspend, so I'm going to try the instructions here [thinkwiki.org] and see how it goes.

    I haven't even tried to get all the keyboard function buttons working.
  • why no kde? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SolusSD (680489) on Monday August 06, 2007 @03:15PM (#20133937) Homepage
    seriously--- kde was a lot of features that are perfect for desktop users. It is a *very* powerful desktop environment. kparts, widgets, dcop scripting, etc allow programs to work together in ways they simply can't in a gnome/windows/osx environment. konqueror with its kioslaves, allowing you to ftp, sftp, ssh, http, nfs, smb, etc all from one application is a damn powerful application. Its disappointing that dell, and now lenovo are standardizing on a gnome desktop. :(
  • Differentiation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fishthegeek (943099) on Monday August 06, 2007 @03:25PM (#20134069) Journal
    It's all about differentiating product. After a decade of mono-culture in the OEM world commoditization happened, and the OEMs suffered excruciatingly low profit margins as a result.

    With Vista sales at a blisteringly mediocre pace and consumers increasingly met with nearly identical machines at identical prices from identical companies with identically poor support where else can the OEMs turn?
    We've seen M. Dell mention publicly that he would distribute OS X if he could, and Apple will never do that. Linux provides for the utmost extreme example of potential product differentiation at a nominal cost to the OEM. Most of them will take differing sides in the Flavor-of-the-month club. Dell has chosen Ubuntu, Lenovo has chosen Suse. Who will HP pick? Madriva or Fedora maybe. The OEMs want to sell machines, they need to find new markets and differentiate their products. This is the beginning of a time travelling exercise to about 1986 when CP/M, Commodore's Amiga, and DOS were but a few of the possible business and consumer choices out there. MS did some great things in introducing a common platform for development and such, but I think that world+dog realizes that homogeneous computing has more downsides than ups.
  • by B5_geek (638928) on Monday August 06, 2007 @04:47PM (#20135033)
    This can only mean one thing! ATi/AMD will finally get its' head out of its ass and fix the drivers. First Dell is putting pressure on ATi and now with Lenovo selling Linux laptops with all those ATi chips there is serious pressure to fix the damn things.

    I was a die-hard ATi fan starting with VGA Wonder-XL(ISA) until the Radeon 8500(PCI) series. After owning every generation of All-In-Wonder that they produced and never enjoying the usage of those products to the extent that was possible.

    I am now in the market for a laptop, and the number of Nvidia laptops is slim. I hope this will encourage ATi to fix the damn things.
    • by DF5JT (589002)
      Recently Lenove offers Thinkpads with NVidia cards, but given Lenovo's recent history in fucking up Linux support for their Thinkpads, it doesn't make a difference anymore.

      Thinkpads in general used to be the prime recommendation for Linux users.

      That's a thing of the past.
  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Monday August 06, 2007 @06:18PM (#20136099)
    A few years ago, IBM (Lenovo's Thinkpad predecessor) was saying they would convert all of their enterprise desktops to Linux. Never happened. If Lenovo really does start offering SUSE on a T-series, Thinkpad, it will be a big deal that could start a cascade of non-US desktops to Linux. No wonder, M$ just started offering cut-rate Vista in China. M$ knows how important this is so, though, so the likely outcome is that Microsoft will cut a sweetheart deal with Lenovo and Lenovo will quietly shelve their SUSE plans.

  • Lenovo's quality of Linux support has gone downhill drastically ever since IBM seems to be out of the loop in terms of software development. While all parts of the hardware are officially and unsurprisingly supported, the firmware of recent models has shown to ignore Linux as an alternative OS.

    I have been superhappy with my 2 year old R51 until the backlight went dead, which I took as a sign to get a slimmer, less weighty and faster machine and having been so happy with the unquirky Linux support of the R51
    • by B5_geek (638928)
      I am in the market for a new laptop running Linux, (some flavor of Debian).
      I want:

      Nvidia graphics (for OpenGL games)
      Built-in Bluetooth
      Full WiFi support. (for war-driving)
      Hibernation/suspend not a big deal. It'll probably be plugged-in 90% of the time.

      Any Suggestions?

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