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Lenovo Backtracks on Linux Support Statement 74

After a report that the company would not install or support the Linux operating system on any of its PCs, morcego writes "Looks like Lenovo decided Linux is a good idea after all. From the article: 'Lenovo executives Monday backtracked from remarks last week that the company would not support Linux on its PCs, saying it would continue to pre-load Linux onto ThinkPads on a custom-order basis for customers who purchase licenses on their own. In addition, they said, the Raleigh, N.C.-based company was working behind the scenes to boost its Linux support in conjunction with the expected July release of the next version of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.'"
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Lenovo Backtracks on Linux Support Statement

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  • After all these back-and-forth stories in the press, I imagine that Novell is pretty ticked at Lenovo around SLED 10. I mean, at the end of the day, it'll still be more sales - but not what it could have been. I think Linux-consumer confidence in Lenovo probably isn't very high now.

    And that's sad, really, because Lenovo bundling/installing/supporting SLED would have been a big win for Novell and Linux on the desktop in general. Now it almost seems like an apology.
  • by vrwarp ( 624266 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:35AM (#15494394) Homepage Journal
    I thought the announcement that Lenovo was going to drop linux support was odd since they are a China based company after all. The last time I checked, the chinese government wanted to move away from windows and instead, back linux.
  • by writermike ( 57327 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:00AM (#15494593)
    The Great Swarm isn't going to be doing much special requesting, which means there's not going to be all that many machines that actually wind up with linux on the hard drive.

    Better than nothing, I guess. Sigh.

    Yes, you're right, but I think it ultimately depends on what they wind up doing. If they offer a button during the customization phase of ordering, then that's progress. Yes, we would hope that, say, when the next Ubuntu came out they'd put a big flash banner on the front page announcing it's now available for all Lenovo laptops, but it's all still progress.

    I think it's very interesting that they decided to backtrack at all. Clearly they've changed their minds and certainly that has to have come from some sort of outside pressure. In years past, I think any company such as this could have just as easily said, "Screw 'em." But Lenovo didn't. And for whatever reason they ultimately wound up announcing their backtrack, it's still progress.
  • Non-Story (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NutscrapeSucks ( 446616 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:10AM (#15494678)
    This entire thing is non-news. IBM was not shipping Linux on PCs and ThinkPads. Now Levano is not shipping Linux on PCs and ThinkPads. There's been no change in policy or "backtracking".

    Apparently a lot of you saw an IBM Linux commercial and then invented a fantasy world where IBM was selling Linux to desktop users. They weren't, and they've been consistant in saying that there is no real demand for such outside of particular consulting opportunitites.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:20AM (#15494777)
    Lenovo has always been based in Beijing, although much of their business operation moved to Hong Kong. The company was founded to make Chinese language expansion cards for the IBM PC and eventually became the largest PC manufacturer in China, under their own brands. When IBM went looking for someone to manufacture overseas Lenovo was a natural choice. They were called Legend then, but early in the century decided to move on their own into the international market, changed the name to Lenovo and established a corporate headquarters in NY.

    Raliegh was the base of IBM's Personal Computer Division which Lenovo acquired when IBM sold it out. It's fairly natural for old timers in the trade to think of Raliegh as the base of operations when discussing the laptops and Lenovo is centralizing its nonasian operations there.

    And it is good western business for them to foster the continuing impression that the company actually resides in Raliegh and is some sort of spinoff of IBM. In "west facing" press you will always hear about their American bases of operation and never about the Chinese.

    I was researching a new brand of guitar (Walden) the other day. I wanted to know where they were based, and where the guitars were made. On their company website I couldn't find any clue as to where they are based and in only one place the mention that the guitars were made in the "small town of Lilan."

    It turns out that the "small town of Lilan" is so small and obscure that it took a bit to track it down to China.

    This is how the Chinese will be doing business here for awhile. Under American sounding brand names and either obscuring their base of operations or establishing/acquiring American bases and directing all press to that base. And so Lenovo becomes based in Raliegh, even though their "home" stock exchange is Hong Kong.

  • The real think... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:50AM (#15495019)
  • by jdbartlett ( 941012 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @11:54AM (#15495060)
    Lenovo-not-IBM aside, is any discount offered for taking the Linux option instead of Windows? Chopping $300 off the price of a Thinkpad would make it much more affordable, especially when I don't intend to run Windows anyway.
  • by lxt518052 ( 720422 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @12:16PM (#15495226)
    I'd rather view the decisions purely from a business perspective.

    Unlike in the 70s, there're more and more things over which the government has no control, Lenovo being one. A lot of people think Lenovo is a government controlled company and that's why they bought IBM's PC business. The truth is, however, if Lenovo had been such a company, it wouldn't have stood a chance in competition against rivals such as Dell and HP. The bureaucracy alone would have killed it. They've got to have a hell of business sense to become what they are today.

    On the issue of Linux on their PCs, I don't think that's IBM's influence either. They might have been the first major (local) brand to sell PCs preloaded with Linux in the world. Here's a news page in Chinese. [] Note the date was 20/06/2000.

    But again, they've probably been the largest OEM customer of Microsoft in China and hence contributes to MS China's revenue more than anyone else. There must have been a lot of pressure from MS to keep them away from Linux (Hint: pricing of their OEM Windows).

    Sure, IBM gives a big push behind Linux. But they've SOLD the PC business to Lenovo anyway. They don't pay Lenovo executives wages. The previleges and responsibilities in regard to the IBM PC brand have been written on the contracts, memos and leagal documents on the day of acqusition. What influence does IBM still have over Lenovo?

    Whether Lenovo is pro-linux or against it, that's Lenovo's own decision, and they make that decision purely on a business basis.

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