Monday, August 06, 2007

Lenovo Signs Up to Linux

According to an article from Ars, Lenovo has signed up to selling Linux based computers. Available immediately, ThinkPads will have the option of coming with SuSE Enterprise Linux Desktop pre-installed. Although ThinkPads have been certified for Linux use for a while, this marks the first time that they will actually come shipped with the alternative OS installed.

According to the article, Lenovo claims that the pressure to support Linux came from enterprise customers. The article quotes: "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."

Although I have some political issues about the choice of SuSE Linux, I have no question about the technical choices made behind the decision. Linux is a much better OS and is perfectly capable for enterprise use for many years now. The two most successful enterprise Linux distributions are RedHat and SuSE. I'm sure that Lenovo had made it's choice after evaluating the different customer requirements.

So, now we start to see how the Linux PC vendor space is shaping up.

  1. HP (world #1 vendor) already provides Linux lines of products for their workstation and server families. Unlike the rest, they do not go around brandishing their Linux credentials as they have always supported Linux development directly (HP provides machines for and pays for the salaries at OSDL). However, rumours abound that they will expand their Linux lines soon.
  2. Dell (world #2 vendor) is staking a claim on the home user segment by shipping Ubuntu (the most popular distribution) on it's XPS (gaming) and Inspiron (low cost) lines of products. They are also applying pressure on device vendors to provide good driver support. They have yet to release any official numbers but have hinted that their Linux line is doing well. They have clearly stated plans to expand support worldwide over summer.
  3. Acer (world #3 vendor) is still undecided about their Linux strategy. From the pirouettes that they have been doing, they're obviously interested, but unsure of how best to position themselves in this market. They could possibly end up providing an alternative to everyone else by shipping Linux across all product segments.
  4. Lenovo (world #4 vendor) is now staking claim on the enterprise user segment by shipping SuSE (the #2 enterprise distribution) on it's ThinkPad (busineses) line of products. They have also openly acknowledged that there is a growing demand for Linux. It won't surprise me if the expand their support for other product lines later.
Whatever happens, looks like my prediction is coming true. Having more Tier 1 vendors selling Linux products can only be a good thing for Linux. It means that there will be more recognition and trust for it's quality. There will also be more pressure for device vendors to officially support Linux. This will benefit the rest of the Open Source community in general.

UPDATE@1910: The BBC also has an article about this latest development.

UPDATE@1050+1: Dell has just announced the immediate availability of it's Linux line in the UK, France and Germany.


koln_auhc said...

Dell Ubuntu available in UK now. Haha. D'oh.

Shawn Tan said...

I'd updated my blog with that news. It's also now available in France and Germany. However, I cannot find it on the Dell UK website. Maybe it's not updated yet.

As for my refund for Windows, it's still in the process of being ping-ponged around. HP tells me to claim it from Microsoft and Microsoft tells me to claim it from HP. I've told them to not shove me around and give me a conclusive decision.

koln_auhc said...

From what I can gather in the internet, more likely HP is the one that ought to fork out the compensation.

Corporate tactics as usual.

Hmm, kinda funny. It's like HP telling you to tell Windows that Windows suck and therefore they pay while Windows turn around and tell you to tell HP that Windows suck and therefore HP pays.....

Shawn Tan said...

Well, whatever the resolution, after they give me a definitive resolution, I will blog about it.