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IBM Portables Software Hardware Linux

Lenovo Delivers SuSE Linux-Based ThinkPads 149

angryfirelord notes a DesktopLinux article on Lenovo's promise to deliver ThinkPads with pre-installed Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 in the week of January 14. Quoting: "Lenovo will release pre-installed SLED 10 on its Intel Centrino processor-powered ThinkPad T61 and R61 14-inch-wide notebooks. In February, Lenovo's pre-integrated Novell Linux offering will expand to include some Penryn-based ThinkPads. The starting price for this system will be $949, $20 less than the same laptop with Vista Home Premium."
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Lenovo Delivers SuSE Linux-Based ThinkPads

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  • MS tax (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @05:32AM (#22023398) Homepage
    The starting price for this system will be $949, $20 less than the same laptop with Vista Home Premium.

    But since the OS is Suse, you still pay a Microsoft tax, am I right? I wonder when we will finally be able to buy laptops without any OS at all on them.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      But since the OS is Suse, you still pay a Microsoft tax, am I right?

      No, you won't.
    • Re:MS tax (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob&hotmail,com> on Sunday January 13, 2008 @07:00AM (#22023750) Journal
      But since the OS is Suse, you still pay a Microsoft tax, am I right?

      The value of the royalties Novell will pay to MS from OEM installs is likely to be vanishingly small. The main benefit Microsoft got from the deal was the FUD, and that mostly backfired on them.

      I have a HP laptop with SLED10 pre-installed, it even has a little green Suse logo where the XP one normally goes. It's one of the better Linux experiences around, especially for corporates and newcomers to Linux. And let's face it, even if you wipe SLED10 and install your own favorite, all the hardware will be supported and manufacturers will see there's demand for Linux compatibles.

      I wouldn't worry about tacitly supporting Microsoft via Novell either. Now that innovators like Asus and Nokia have shown the way, I suspect the day of the big generic desktop Linux is over, and manufacturers will shrink-fit versions of Linux onto their own hardware.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        But that would be worse for the Linux community. The # of distros of Linux out there is both a strength and a weakness. The fact that there is no 'Linux x.x' standard install target for application developers like there is for Windows or OSX means that you have to custom-tailor packages for each distro's management system. And *increasing* the number of distros out there isn't going to remedy that.

        I've had *a lot* of problems with package management systems. One of the most frustrating things is when pe
      • by tacocat ( 527354 )

        My experience with SLED has not been so favorable. SuSE works well as long as you do only what it expects you to do. If you deviate too far from their expectations in software installed and configuration options used, you might be OK.

        But I seriously doubt that you can wipe the system, install something else Linux, and expect it to work as well. SuSE, with Novell, with Microsoft, gives you an avenue into highly proprietary closed binary software that is otherwise not utilized by most Linux distributions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Low5 ( 173930 )
      This probably won't help anyone outside the UK, but http://www.novatech.co.uk/ [novatech.co.uk] sell systems (including laptops) without any OS at all, and these seem to go for about 50GBP (100USD) less than with the cheapest MS OS (currently XP).
    • But since the OS is Suse, you still pay a Microsoft tax, am I right?

      Unless there's something I missed in Microsoft's patent deal, the only money Microsoft gets is by buying SuSE coupons from Novell. Then, they distribute the coupons to its "customers" and collect the revenue. Unless Lenovo bought these coupons from Microsoft, I don't think M$ is getting any cash.

      Even if it still has a Microsoft tax, I think choosing SUSE over another distro such as Ubuntu is a better idea. I don't have anything against Ubuntu at all, but SUSE has a nice control center (YaST) and a polis

    • But since the OS is Suse, you still pay a Microsoft tax, am I right?
      Not exactly, in the MS Novell deal MS actually paid novell.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now remember kids. This is the Novell we're suppose to hate.
    • Awwww, and here I was thinking about getting an Thinkpad. :-(

      Is there no other laptop besides the eee PC that is only sold with Linux on it?
      • Dell offers pretty decent laptops with Unbuntu preinstalled. I personally haven't picked one up yet, bit I might in the very near future.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Lenovo had an informal poll of their users about which Linux distribution they would like to see Lenovo implement.

      Votes were about 23,000 for Ubuntu and about 800 for SuSe.

      So, in an effort to listen to their customers, and make a success of Linux on Lenovo laptops, Lenovo have decided to offer ... WTF???
      • by turgid ( 580780 )

        Lenovo have decided to offer ...

        ...the distro that Microsoft backs.

      • by orkysoft ( 93727 )

        This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
  • So i bought a new Thinkpad T61 at the end of December. I guess its too late to change now. Maybe i can get them to drop the windows tax and send me a copy of Suse?
    Any one thing this is possible?
  • MS-Blessed Linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    by turgid ( 580780 )

    Strange, that, how when Microsoft officially blesses a Linux distribution by investing in it and making all sorts of ridiculous patent/IP claims, a major PC manufacturer brings out a line of laptops with MS Linux. You can bet that Microsoft is making exactly the same amount of money on each Linux "sale" as each Windows sale, or maybe more.

    • That doesn't really make sense, even if Microsoft were making money on a Linux sale it's going to hurt them in the long term.
    • by Shohat ( 959481 )
      Don't count other people's money. What do you care how much they make off Linux
      • Re:MS-Blessed Linux (Score:4, Interesting)

        by turgid ( 580780 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @07:10AM (#22023790) Journal

        I care about Microsoft trying to subvert Linux. I couldn't care less about the money per se, but I worry about the lies and FUD they're putting before the PHBs of this world. And the implied legal threats.

    • Re:MS-Blessed Linux (Score:4, Informative)

      by toppavak ( 943659 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @09:59AM (#22024512)
      I think your tin foil cap was on a little too tight today. There are a lot of practical reasons Lenovo would have chosen Suse for the thinkpads. Even before the MS deal, SLED was one of the distros IBM used to put through a compatibility certification program for thinkpads. SLED also comes with a lot of software explicitly for thinkpad-specific hardware. I know the fingerprint reader drivers and GUI were there the last time I tried OpenSuse, and I may be mistaken but I believe the HDAPS drivers were also pre-installed. I've tried installing these manually in Ubuntu and its a bitch. Suse distros in general have had superior thinkpad-specific hardware support.
      • by turgid ( 580780 )

        Microsoft has traditionally always made sure that companies selling computers either only offer Windows or offer other operating systems that are substantially more expensive than Windows.

        For example, I used to buy servers and workstations from Dell for developing an operating systems which shall remain nameless. They wouldn't sell me machines without an OS "for piracy reasons" despite the fact we (at the time) were running our own OS and Linux. The price quotes with Linux instead of Windows were significa

        • You have got to be kidding? Did anyone, anyone at all, read the bloody agreement between MicroShaft and Novell? Anyone? No? Gee, what a friggin' surprise.

          The deal was regarding compatibility issues. It was a good thing in that it insured MS having to work with the OSS community to enable software to be at least somewhat compatible between platforms. It has, in some respects, worked. Also, it's important to remember that it was an agreement made due to a court case (http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/inde
  • Good news (Score:2, Informative)

    It's good hardware, I was considering buying one (ThinkPad) but I couldn't get one off-the-shelf without Vista (in Poland). So I bought Acer laptop that came without Windows, it even had some crappy Linux pre installed (which I had to replace with some decent distribution). I guess that voice of consumers saying "We don't want Vista" is being finally heard at Lenovo's HQ. And Linux is nice alternative, _especially_ for business.
  • Besides Lenovo there are some other manufacturers offering Linux without "Micorosoft-Tax" or even Linux pre-installed. Here is a (not yet complete) list of currently available laptops and notebooks without "Microsoft-Tax" [tuxmobil.org] at TuxMobil. If you need the features of a laptop which comes with Microsoft OS still, here are some tips and tricks to get a refund for the operating system from Redmond [tuxmobil.org]. And just in case you want to buy a laptop with a custom Linux installation, here is a survey of resellers [tuxmobil.org].
  • by Godji ( 957148 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @06:41AM (#22023672) Homepage
    ... and actually put Linux on some of their really good business-class machines, as opposed to their cheaper "entry-level" "home" flaky laptops. Write this down, Lenovo and Dell: I don't want Linux because it's cheap; I want it because it's better and free. Now give me that great laptop that a Windows user can already buy, put Linux on that instead, and you have my 1500 euros.

    That, or I'm getting an Eee.
    • by teslar ( 706653 )
      What exactly stops you from buying whatever laptop you want and installing Linux yourself? Given that you want a powerful laptop, wouldn't that be more consistent with your wishes than buying an Eee?
      • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @07:23AM (#22023842) Homepage Journal

        What exactly stops you from buying whatever laptop you want and installing Linux yourself? Given that you want a powerful laptop, wouldn't that be more consistent with your wishes than buying an Eee?

        It's important to signal that there is a market for Linux machines, when you think about device drivers for example. First of all, when you buy a Linux machine, you know that the devices will work with Linux, even if you install another distro. More importantly, this sends a message to the hardware makers that mostly write Windows-only drivers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Seto89 ( 986727 )
        I'll tell you what - hardware support.

        I recently bought ThinkPad R61, and although most of the hardware worked out of the box, I still after quite a few hours didn't get the wifi to work.
        Also, the fingerprint reader is a true nightmare - even after finding free Linux driver I find out that it's a bit different model and thus returns "USB device not found" every time I want to use it.
        That and oh, also the graphics driver doesn't seem to work so you have to force it to install a different driver that says i
      • by drolli ( 522659 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @08:48AM (#22024164) Journal
        > What exactly stops you from buying whatever laptop you want and installing Linux yourself?

        Support. I know linux, i work with linux, i can install it myself, but however, since i am working as a pysicist it is not my job to do so. I want to buy a computer and problems should be solved by calling the support.
    • by BuR4N ( 512430 )
      I just hope they would put it on the X61(s) , that must be the ultimate laptop.
      • by mgblst ( 80109 )
        I thought the same, but they are huge, monstrous machines, nothing like the sleep T43, t42s.
    • by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @07:13AM (#22023806)
      and what would have happened if Dell went all out putting Linux on the front page, only selling Linux machines no MS Windows and it was a failure? There's another ten years of "Linux Sucks" right there.

      No. Dell did the right thing by slowly growing their Linux desktop market and now everyone is copying them.

      Branding matters a lot.

      It's the reason Microsoft runs it's Get the facts [microsoft.com] campaign against Linux. Having Linux associated with big brands that people have heard of increases your chance of people picking your product. It doesn't matter that Linux runs on the top 8 super computers [top500.org] of the world because people will make judgements based of how familiar they are with a product.

      This is why Ubuntu is more popular then other distributions, because Mark S. has associated Ubuntu with larger brands. More people know about Ubuntu and are more likely to pick it compared to another distributions. A lot of people here on /. grumble about "Why Noobuntu, why not try X". Well now you know, if distribution X had better branding it would probably be more popular then Ubuntu.

      Another branding example..

      Have you noticed recently how "Windows Server" adverts keep popping up on websites such as top500.org, sourceforge, etc? Places that decision makers might see them, but also developers. Sourceforge in particular seems to have tons of Microsoft adverts that it is starting to put me off visiting that website at all.
      • by turing_m ( 1030530 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @08:39AM (#22024122)
        "This is why Ubuntu is more popular then other distributions, because Mark S. has associated Ubuntu with larger brands."

        As someone who actually uses Ubuntu and has in the past used (trying some extensively, some still in use) such Linuxen as PCLinuxOS, puppy, DSL, SUSE, CentOS, Mepis, and probably a few others I forget, I think I'm qualified to say that the difference is not just in the branding. I've also developed nothing in Ubuntu nor hold any financial interest in its success. I have used it solely for about 6 months and the last time I booted my XP HDD for any reason was at least 4 months ago. And I really didn't want to like it because of the ugly default shit brown theme, the name and icon seemed like something more appropriate to a Michael Jackson music video than an operating system, and just because it was too popular already. But in the end I succumbed.

        Ubuntu succeeds because it is amazingly polished and stable compared to other linux distributions, with a focus on the newbie and a shockingly vast array of software in the repositories that Just Works. No one uses an OS to use an OS, they use an OS for their favorite applications.

        If you want help, you are more likely to find success through googling ubuntuforums.org or posting there yourself. This is because the forums are moderated in a specifically newbie friendly fashion where RTFM is banned.

        http://ubuntuforums.org/index.php?page=policy [ubuntuforums.org]

        And now network effect is reinforcing the utility of Ubuntu. Basically anything FOSS gets a concerted effort to put it in the repos if it is any good, or a howto gets written for it. And any hardware has someone using Ubuntu having a hack at it to get it to go first.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cato ( 8296 )
          Branding has little to do with Ubuntu's success - it is generally polished, and easy to set up on most systems. The solid Debian based, attention to usability, huge array of software in the repositories, and the very newbie-friendly forums are key too. Also, the sheer volume of people using Ubuntu now means that the forums have solutions for most common problems already written up, and the response time to questions on forums is generally very good.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by linj ( 891019 )

      and actually put Linux on some of their really good business-class machines, as opposed to their cheaper "entry-level" "home" flaky laptops.

      The ThinkPad, de facto, is term used by Lenovo to demarcate their business-class machines. "Home" laptops are sold purely under the Lenovo brand.

      Hope that helps; cheers.
    • There really aren't any cheap laptops sold under the Thinkpad brand, but the R series is their "everyday" brand, while the T series is their "performance". The R61 and T61 models are probably their two top sellers.

      I prefer the X series (their 12" models), but it is not as common as the óther two. It is also both slower and more expensive.

    • I hope they do better than Dell ...
      ... and actually put Linux on some of their really good business-class machines, as opposed to their cheaper "entry-level" "home" flaky laptops.

      I'm not sure if you count Dell's Precision workstations as "business-class," but they do offer Red Hat Enterprise Linux pre-installed on several workstations (desktop and mobile). Note that the ThinkPads use an "enterprise-grade" Linux OS (like Dell's Precisions) while Dell's cheaper Linux laptops use the free-as-in-beer Ubuntu OS with less included support.

      The Precisions ain't cheap, but the cheaper ones can be considered "high end" business-class machines. For example:

  • Given Ubuntu's good track record on Thinkpads, and IBM's commercial product support for Ubuntu, it's an odd choice.
  • What people ignore is this; the issue isn't so much the idea of Linux pre-installed (which is important) but the OEM's actually offering choice to the customer; that the OEM ensures that when they assemble their machines they don't design the machine in such a way that it virtually makes it a 'Windows only machine'. That is the issue.

    Yes, offer Linux pre-installed, but at the same time, offer me the ability to say, "no, I don't want an operating system at all, I just want the laptop, and I'll obtain an oper
  • "computer security" is the laughing stock of the world

    I am hoping that as some of these new systems come out, based on Linux, or perhaps Solaris x.86 that the makers will delete the concept of remote updates to software

    yep, I said delete that bad idea

    download is OK, but after the download customer needs a chance to review what the material is, check signatures, etc and decide whether he wants to update his machine or not


    It's time to get serious about security before something b

    • What exploits have automated updates, initiated by the software being updated, enabled?

      Hmmm, like this [debian.org] perhaps? Debian has implemented integrity-checking of updates for quite some time now...

  • 14-inch-wide notebooks

    Good for aeroplanes I suppose, but still not small enough.

    Small is good. For me, I prefer carrying 3.5-5" PDAs and 9-12" subnotebooks. And even 12" is already too big. What I realy want is a robust ThinkPad with modern technology at or below 12".

    What can you do on a small screen? Well, lots of things. What you lose in screen size you gain it three times in productivity thanks to flexibility in using your machine anywhere you want. I use my PDA (HTC Universal) and my 8.9" Flybook while walking, f

    • note: X60/X61 is good but actually it is a smaller one which is greatly needed, and the problem with X60/X61 is that its trackpoint is located at the centre of the keyboard rather than at the top right or top left position which is the position that the pointing device needs to be for effective use while walking (that's how Flybook has it).
    • Now imagine being able to work while hiking in nature ... what we really need is subnotebooks at the right size to keep them with our hands in front of us while walking ... I have found a nice place where I go hiking and it has some rocks at the right configuration that they behave just like a desk ...

      Has it occured to you that there might be more to life than just working and worrying about your "earning power"?
  • Two questions... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Qubit ( 100461 ) on Sunday January 13, 2008 @09:45AM (#22024448) Homepage Journal
    1. Where's the link to a current press release from Lenovo or from Novell/SuSE? The article doesn't share any links, and when I looked on both companies' sites all I could find were old [novell.com] press releases [lenovo.com].

    2. Why SuSE? Did Lenovo somehow broker an unbeatable deal on support contracts, or... ?

    While googling for more news on the current development, I found an old Lenovo blog entry [lenovoblogs.com] from September of 2007 asking "What Linux distribution would you most like to see supported on a ThinkPad?". Now I'm sure that every kind of online poll has some amount of ballot-stuffing, but out of the 64572 responses, 37% chose Ubuntu, 17% chose Mandrivia, and (much farther down the list) a mere 5% chose SuSE, SLED, or OpenSuSE. SLED got only 312 votes, giving it less than 0.5% of the votes.

    As unscientific as the poll was, the author of the blog admitted in the lead-up to the poll that he figured that he needed to try out Ubuntu and that he was pretty sure what linux distribution was going to be chosen. So with all this user interest in Ubuntu, why did Lenovo go the Novell/SuSE route?

    Oh well -- as long as the Thinkpad hardware is fully supported by some modern Linux distro, I figure that Ubuntu should have no problems supporting it.
    • Lenovo and IBM were working with Novell for a long time in bringing this to market. The belief here is that some of the laptops in a corporate environment would be running SuSE which could still be a part of the corporate windows domain. I couldn't locate a press release either, so I wonder how much truth is in this story.

      I also think Lenovo is smart about keeping Ubuntu off their corporate laptops for now, they look at Ubuntu as being a consumer Linux distribution where SuSE is geared for the corporate env
  • FWIW, they've been using this combination of software and hardware inside Novell for years.
  • It's fine that they've loaded that on there, but I doubt that any of those models are equipped with Flexview(the highest quality display that can be had for now). There may be attempts to imitate it, but there's nothing that they have so far that comes close.

    It's one of the things that made a Thinkpad (for having it available). It doesn't matter much on what software is shipped, but the hardware faces you every day.
    • Last I checked, they were phasing out the Flexview screens at about the same rate as their 4:3 screens. Supposedly their suppliers don't produce either anymore, so we're stuck with trashy widescreen monitors everywhere. I haven't been following it that closely though, as I've got a T60 with a 1400x1050 Flexview screen already.

      • Before this gets modbombed as well(Apparently someone decided to doubly modbomb me with all their points across a few articles)...

        Right now, the highest IPS equipped model you can get that is still common is the 2623DDU.

        The only good thing Lenovo has done is remove the exclusivity to their Reserve Edition, the rest is iffy at best.

  • I have the Lenovo T61p with the WUXGA (1920x1200) screen and I'm running openSuSE 10.3 (64_bit version). There were some initial problems with the video (blank video after install) but it has been working fine. Mine has the NVIDIA 570M video card and the Atheros wireless chipset. Once I got the NVIDIA driver and Atheros WiFi drivers installed everything "just worked". The only other thing not working at the moment is the phone modem. I have since then stripped the 'Windows XP' sticker off and completely wip