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Lenovo To Shun Linux 462

Posted by Zonk
from the what-did-tux-ever-do-to-you dept.
dominique_cimafranca writes "CRN reports that Lenovo will not install or support the Linux operating system on any of its PCs. Lenovo is positioning itself as an exclusive partner of Microsoft, several weeks after the companies announced they were 'reaffirming' global market development and cooperation agreements." From the article: "A Lenovo spokesman later said the non-Linux strategy is also applicable for the company's Thinkpad brand of notebooks, although Lenovo will provide advice to customers who insist on deploying desktop Linux systems in some fashion. While Lenovo and Microsoft have had a long OEM relationship that pre-dates Lenovo's takeover last year of the former IBM PC Co., IBM had been supportive of Linux throughout its product line -- including preloading it on Thinkpads -- before the sale to Lenovo."
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Lenovo To Shun Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:28AM (#15465263)
    The x60s looked nice. What laptop should I buy now?
  • They were right! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrSquirrel (976630) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:34AM (#15465273)
    Hmmmm, Lenovo ditching Linux and partnering solely with Microsoft? ...Microsoft being full of security holes... oh look, the US gov't predicted this: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/22/04 36250 [slashdot.org]. Of course, now I see! If they're going to bug PC's, it would be easiest to do through Windows... those crafty Chinese!
    Really though... why are they doing this? Seems like they would lose a decent amount of customers considering they're not sold to no-speaky-tech people at Walmart/Circuit City... isn't Linux gaining market share?... Seems to me if a market is growing, you should capitalize on it rather than shun it.
  • by allroy63 (571629) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:07AM (#15465360)

    I used to work for IBM supporting other IBM employees. We certainly had users who ran Linux on Netvistas, Thinkpads, etc. or who ran AIX. You have to wonder what IBM's feelings are on this - after all, IBM has helped to push Linux out the door in the past. They've offered the OS as an installation option so that you boot into Linux fresh out of the box. They also offer support to clients running Linux - typically on IBM hardware.

    They've also done substantial work developing a href="http://linux390.marist.edu">S/390 Linux [linux390.marist.edu] in partnership with Marist College. S/390 Linux runs on IBM mainframe systems and allows clients to connect to their own Linux "workstation" hosted off the mainframe (think VMWare - but now instead of running an additional workstation in a window on your own machine, you're running an additional workstation on your own machine but all the processing power and resource utilization is hosted on an OS390 mainframe).

    There are a multitude of other places where one can see IBM's support, endorsement, and development of Linux. The big question is where is IBM getting its hardware for its own employees these days? If there's an agreement with Lenovo to purchase PCs from them, I would imagine that this decision will create some serious support problems. It's one thing to have technicians working on laptops that have been designed in house. When the specifications you're working with are open to the communities you serve, you're far more able to create workarounds to specific problems or resolve recurring issues between hardware and OS. If Lenovo is now designing their machines with a commitment to exclusive Windows compatibility, how will this affect the very business that sold the Thinkpad/Netvista etc. names to Lenovo in the first place? What kinds of kinks does this throw into continued IBM development and endorsement of Linux?

  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:08AM (#15465363) Homepage
    Anyone who has actually dealt with the New Brave Chinese Economy knows fine well that its basically irrational, and not to put to fine a point on it: racist. So it's made it's business decision to ignore a small, growing market and go with the dominant worldwide brand. That's fine. It's made a brave corporate decision. We'll just see some of its customer base inherited from IBM go somewhere else. Especially as its not trying to reassure its customers that it wants what its customers want. I won't be buying Lenovo and nor will I recommend buying them to anyone else.
  • by kaiwai (765866) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:13AM (#15465376)
    I think that the feature issue will be a tipping point for Free Software in general, not just Linux/Linux distros. MS adds more crap to their software that nobody wants, yet people keep paying for it because they know there's a certain level of support that's going to be there no matter what.

    Most definately; some say, "oh, well, thats what customers demand", but I've yet to find someone who has asked for sharepoint, for example - what is the purpose of that? it seems to be nothing more than a glorified php + DB back end + phorum running on top, which, quite frankly, doesn't yield a single improvement in productivity as to justify the costs of upgrading and retraining.

    Another good example is Photoshop - how many have moved beyond version 9? I mean, apart from the Mac user who upgraded from classic to the carbon version, then eventually to the universal binary, look at the number who are happily running their 4-5 year old copy of Photoshop, doing the same sorts of things without any problems. The only people I see upgrading, are those who have this fetish that software wears out, and needs upgrading regularly.

    Chief example would be Windows Vista; having a look at it, compared it to Windows XP and alternative operating systems, one has to ask, "where is the beef"? where is the customer pulling, earth shattering, clean slate, 'lets get things right the first time' factors which will make Vista an improvement over XP? already the new 'Limited User Account" (or what ever it is named) has been a flop; Winfs has been purged already for 'shipment at a later date' and the remaining components left are of no benefit to the end user given that they can either be achieved via installing third party tools ontop of Windows XP, already available on MacOS X or if they're inclined, they could upgrade to one of the many quality opensource operating systems out there; in my case, I run FreeBSD + Xorg + KDE + Koffice; far superior to Microsoft or any commercial entity has to offer.

    As for Microsoft, they won't 'weaken' but they'll become less and less relevant in the IT industry, but like a spoilt bratt, they'll jump up and down, they'll try to make some noise, like they're doing with Windows Vista; but most people have gone past Microsoft, no ones interested in their products anymore, the hype, the momentum is gone; customers are looking elsewhere, they want a different way, a different approach to how customers are serviced in the software industry.

    Sun is making moves; PC-BSD is making head roads as users are looking at an easy to use *BSD for their desktops, Red Hat are concerntrating on the servers are the moment, and Novell are focusing on getting their corporate offerings being based around mono. Microsoft know what the future will entail, and they're scared; no more multimillion dollar dinner parties and trips with customers, no more excessive number of staff employed and being funded off the back of monopolistic practices; the 'reform' will be tough, but it will happen in the end.

  • Re:They were right! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by njdj (458173) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:28AM (#15465415)
    why are they doing this?

    To answer that, you have to ask "Cui bono?", and the answer to that is "Microsoft". So the most logical explanation is that Microsoft has offered Lenovo extra discounts if Lenovo agrees to discourage Linux use; or has threatened less-favorable terms if Lenovo does not agree to discourage Linux use.

    IBM had the clout to resist Microsoft - there are still some big corporations that regard IBM as the gold standard. Lenovo hasn't. So it would come down to ethics and concern for the interests of the customer, vs next quarter's bottom line. We all know what priorities those have in today's corporate America.

  • by Masa (74401) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:46AM (#15465454) Journal
    Am I the only one who thinks that newer IBM / Lenovo laptops are just pieces of crap?

    Company I'm working for has a contract with IBM and we are using an IBM hardware. I have an R50 laptop and last week I had a chance to try some X series laptops. I have heard that the T series are (were?) a good laptop brand, but I have no experience of them (I've heard that the T series, T42 to be more specific, is quite a nice machine for Linux). Anyway, my R50 - and every other R50 I have dealed with - is just a huge pile of crap. And now the light-weight X series seems to be following the footsteps of the R series. The thing is, both models are, as far as I know, provided by the Lenovo factories.

    Oh, and the legendary "black IBM design" with well-finished product quality (case and components) is just a joke. Pieces are not fit together well enough and the finishing touch is just missing. Also, the assembly of the LCD screen is just terrible. Every time, I open the laptop lid, it feels like the CD drive and the lid would come off in any minute.

    The worst thing is that most reviewers have been giving absolutely glorious reviews for the R50 series laptops. But maybe drug-abusing is common trait in the laptop-reviewer-circles.
  • by gd23ka (324741) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @05:15AM (#15465507) Homepage
    I personally own a Thinkpad T41 I purchased in 2004 and posted here about they way the socket of it's powersupply came off this last christmas and what a hassle I had to go through to get that fixed. Now a couple of days ago I talked to a friend of mine (who I had recommend a T41 myself for shame) and he told me his plug had come loose too. If you ask me quality took a nose-dive down even before IBM sold to Lenovo probably in the full knowledge that quality was bound to deteriorate even further so why bother. A product built using cheap labor is one thing as most electronics nowadays are but using even cheaper parts manufactured in the chinese forced labor camps are another. I will not buy anything from Lenovo, ever. I want a rugged notebook that doesn't come apart, whose screen stays up (and doesn't have to fixed with tape like I saw one of my colleagues to with his Fujitsu Siemens) even after a year of use, the powersocket of which doesn't come loose and so forth? Who makes notebooks like that, today?
  • by deragon (112986) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @05:46AM (#15465564) Homepage Journal
    I think it would be good for distributions to start recommending hardware manufacturers. Imagine Red Hat and Novell recommending HP over Dell, Nvidia over ATI for example. That might give a push to hardware manufacturers to better support Linux.
  • Re:Handy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pintomp3 (882811) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @05:47AM (#15465566)
    whether or not they designed them, calling their products imitations doesn't make any sense. and since they've made some pretty nice new laptops since name change, i'de say they have pretty decent designers too. not all products from asia are counterfits and knockoffs. asians are capable of design too.
  • by fons (190526) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:07AM (#15465617) Homepage
    This makes me think...

    Lenovo is a company and companies want to make profits.

    However small Linux sales were, if they stop Linux sales, they will lose business. If they made a profit on Linux sales, they even lose profit by cutting their Linux offer. They will also lose investments they made.

    Companies generally don't want to lose business or profit.

    So, why did they do it?

    MS offered them a deal. Since IBM is a big player, this deal will have cost MS some money.

    So I think this proves MS is at least scared enough of Linux to buy off the possible competition.
  • by m874t232 (973431) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:19AM (#15465639)
    First of all, Lenovo is not IBM; IBM was shipping Linux.

    However small Linux sales were, if they stop Linux sales, they will lose business.

    Well, that's not always the case. Shipping or tolerating Linux costs them some money: marketing, support calls, more difficult deals with proprietary hardware vendors. Still, I think all things being equal, Linux is already popular enough so that those costs would have more than been compensated by the sales.

    So, I agree that Microsoft probably pushed them with both a carrot (lower Windows licensing costs) and a stick (Microsoft has lots of sticks).

    And, yes, Microsoft is clearly scared (as they should be).
  • by dbkluck (731449) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:32AM (#15465927)
    This is actually quite telling. I'm living in Beijing at the moment. On a quick trip to one of the many electronics markets, I can find hundreds upon hundreds of Lenova PCs available for purchase--not one of them running a legitimate copy of Windows. Logically, one might think that the way for Lenova to buddy up to Microsoft and "affirm global cooperation" would be to crack down on piracy of MS software in their home market. Au contraire, it appears, what really pleases MS is not the purchase of Windows (they don't care if you steal it, so long as you use it) but rather the non-use of a competing product.
  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:46AM (#15465957)

    Funny thing too... ATI's 2D/3D Linux drivers are absolutely amazing on my Thinkpad T42p here. They work solidly and I'm getting ~2,000fps in 1600x1200@24bpp on this laptop. Their setup tool builds packages for Ubuntu, Red Hat, SuSE and others right from the installer itself, including for Debian Unstable, Ubuntu Dapper and other "less-than-stable" distributions.

    All I see and hear are complaints about NVidia's drivers, compatibility and installation problems.

    Yes, ATI isn't one of the good guys because they're doing this as binary drivers, but they are certainly allowed to do so, since they have their own IP to protect. They are, however, one of the good guys in my opinion because they are extending an arm into the Linux community to help improve and support their cards and drivers under Linux, natively.

  • by Woy (606550) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:21AM (#15466075)
    My case was a Radeon 9600 on a regular desktop PC. Of course it works decently on the basic cases, but try dual-head with 3d acceleration. For me at least, that was extremelly painful to get going in linux, and trivial in windows. Dual-head with different resolutions on each monitor made such nasty graphical artifacts on the screens i was ashamed someone would see it and think linux sucked. Playing 2 videos at once was slow, it felt like 1999 again. Restarting X (without changing xorg.conf) would bring a random refresh rate for each monitor. This was with up-to-date software and drivers around March 2006.

    Both Nvidia and ATI provide binary linux drivers. I use kubuntu dapper and on those forums i rarelly see any complaint about Nvidia. Also, most how-to forum posts range from "its one step on nvidia, and 3 pages of shit for ATI" to "if you even want to try this, get a Nvidia card".

    Hell, i was as big a fanboy of ATI as anyone a few years ago when they finally fixed up their windows drivers and had better price/performance ratio than nvidia. But now i run linux. I moved on, and ATI didn't.

  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:37AM (#15466122) Homepage
    I guess they want to play Monopoly with Microsoft.

    I can see this is probably a knee jerk marketing action to boost sales, but it's like saying "We commit support the platform everyone else is supporting already and are not prepared for any weird change in the industry."

    So in general there is no real news here: "Our offerings have just become more limited than what they had been in the past. the public should be impressed by that fact, and should give us their business."

  • Note: I work for IBM but not for IBM's IT or support departments, and I have no non-public knowledge of IBM's plans, and may well have misunderstood the public info.

    IBM is slowly moving toward Linux as the standard desktop for internal use. IBM's CIO actually announced in 2004 that IBM's standard desktop platform would be Linux by the end of 2005. That didn't happen because it turned out to be much harder than expected to get all of the internal apps moved to Linux, but IBM has continued the push in a low-key way. More and more internal applications are moving to the web, and the IE-only web apps are slowly getting fixed. IBM Workplace provides Lotus Notes application support on Linux. Most all new internal apps are either web-based or written in Java and tested on multiple platforms.

    I don't know how long it will take, but unless something changes, Linux will eventually be the standard desktop/laptop operating system for IBM employees. If Lenovo is selling machines that contain a bunch of hardware that doesn't play well with Linux, will this lead to IBM having to abandon the Thinkpad? More likely IBM will simply tell Lenovo to use Linux-supported hardware in the boxes they sell to IBM. IBM has to be Lenovo's single largest customer.

    What worries me is the interim period, before IBM begins supporting Linux whole-heartedly for internal use and demanding Linux compatibility. My next Thinkpad could be unable to run my preferred operating system effectively. I wonder what people would say if I bought a machine with my own money to use for work? It would probably be one of the new Macs, dual-booting OS X and Debian Linux -- assuming, of course, that Linux runs well on them.

  • by Jim Hall (2985) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @11:19AM (#15466542) Homepage

    There are a multitude of other places where one can see IBM's support, endorsement, and development of Linux. The big question is where is IBM getting its hardware for its own employees these days? If there's an agreement with Lenovo to purchase PCs from them, I would imagine that this decision will create some serious support problems.

    I don't work for Lenovo or IBM, but I do talk to my sales reps on a regular basis and get to ask some pretty pointed questions. Yes, IBM does have a relationship with Lenovo to provide laptops ... probably desktops, as well. IIRC, the deal is over the next 3 years to provide Lenovo laptops.

    The deal is also when you buy a laptop from Lenovo, it comes with the "IBM" logo on it, and the blue "Access IBM" button. And that's also why www.lenovo.com/thinkpad [lenovo.com] redirects you to an ibm.com web site.

    Personally, I'm curious how IBM will react to this. The IBM/Lenovo deal has IBM receiving all its laptops from Lenovo for the next 3 years, so what will the IBM Linux support techs say? Will they not care much, since the hardware isn't likely to change all that much in the (near) future?

    As a customer, I am concerned if this will have any impact on IBM's support commitment for Linux on their servers and blades. We're a big user of IBM servers and blades, exclusively to run Linux. (Yes, I've already emailed my IBM rep to ask.)

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:01PM (#15467996) Journal
    Microsoft still calls the shots.

    I don't know about you, but I'd like to change that. And the easiest way to change that is to put Linux on as many systems as possible, no matter how much work it might take to get an equivalent system, because that reduces the power Microsoft has over you and the world, and can directly and indirectly impact how easy it will be for other people to slip out of MS's control later.

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