Lenovo, Novell partner to offer Linux on the ThinkPad

From Ars:

ThinkPad customers will soon have a new configuration option, as Lenovo and Novell have announced that the popular laptops will begin shipping with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED) preinstalled. Although the ThinkPad has been certified for Linux for some time, this marks the first time Lenovo will ship a laptop with Linux preinstalled—while providing both hardware and OS support. Novell will provide software updates directly to ThinkPad owners, however.
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Lenovo says that the decision to offer Linux on its laptops comes as the result of pressure from enterprise customers. “We have seen more customers utilizing and requesting open source notebook solutions in education, government, and the enterprise since our ThinkPad T60p Linux announcement, and today’s announcement expands upon our efforts by offering customers more Linux options,” said Lenovo VP Sam Dusi in a statement.

SUSE will be available on T-series ThinkPads (Lenovo’s business-class notebooks) beginning in the fourth quarter. Aside from the choice of operating system, the SUSE ThinkPads should be in all respects identical to their Windows-running brethren.

One big difference between this and the recent Dell announcement is that this one focuses more on the enterprise, while Dell is going after the enthusiast. It’s clear that Linux demand is now mainstream, which is great. Lenovo originally made this announcement over a year ago though, and one has to wonder what took things so long to come to fruition. It’s great to see that customer demand was the key driver here. Hopefully that will keep Lenovo committed to the product line. The point where hardware manufacturers have to offer a working Linux driver is near.

–jeremy

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