Dell and Ubuntu broke the barrier for major vendors to preload consumer desktop Linux, and now Lenovo and Novell have shattered the wall for Linux-powered business desktops. On Aug. 6 at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, the companies announced an agreement to provide preloaded SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 10 SP 1 on Lenovo ThinkPad laptops with Lenovo also providing Linux support.
The companies will offer SLED 10 SP1 to commercial customers on Lenovo’s popular ThinkPad T Series, a class of notebooks aimed at typical business users, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007. The ThinkPad notebooks with the Linux-preload will also be available for purchase by individual customers.
While Lenovo has offered SLED before on ThinkPads, its offerings have been very limited. In 2006, after going back and forth on desktop Linux Lenovo finally released its high-end T60p ThinkPad with SLED. This turned out to be a limited release, which left the user to load SLED on the system and to seek support from Novell.
In July, Lenovo appeared to be set to continue this limited Linux desktop support with the release of the T60p’s successor, the T61p. Things have changed. For the first time, Lenovo will provide direct support for both the hardware and operating system. Novell will provide maintenance updates for the operating system directly to ThinkPad notebook customers.
The two companies have a history of joint research and development spanning more than five years. For several years Lenovo has Linux-certified its ThinkPad notebook PC line and provided customers with the necessary tools to optimize the Linux experience on a ThinkPad notebook. Lenovo will continue to offer Help Center support for SLED10 that started with the ThinkPad T60p mobile workstation notebook.
“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 Sam Dusi, Lenovo Notebook product marketing manager, in a statement. “Known for hardware- and software-based innovations like our roll cage and ThinkVantage Technologies, we continue our tradition of building the industry’s best-engineered PCs and delivering excellent customer solutions, such as SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 from Novell.”
Roger Levy, Novell’s vice president and general manager of Open Platform Solutions, said in a statement, “We are extremely pleased to partner with Lenovo in delivering this pioneering Linux preload to the enterprise client
computing market. Pairing Lenovo’s quality and innovation with the stability, flexibility and security advantages of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 operating system gives enterprise customers the fully certified and supported Linux-based solution they have been seeking.”
The companies claim that the ThinkPad Notebooks and SUSE Linux Enterprise Leading Business Technology Notebooks in the ThinkPad T Series feature the latest technologies along with Lenovo’s newest innovations, such as a Top Cover Roll Cage for extreme durability, ultra-fast wireless connectivity with Ultra Connect II and maximum battery life along with the Battery Stretch tool. Customers also benefit from the business applications delivered in SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, including the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, which includes Microsoft Office file compatibility; the Evolution e-mail client; and Firefox Web browser.
ThinkPad notebook PCs running Linux will be on display at Novell’s booth at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo from Aug. 6-9.