There was a time when ThinkPad was the preferred system for Linux users.
But that was when ThinkPad was an IBM product. When Beijing-based Lenovo acquired New York-based IBM’s personal computer business in 2005, (I feel that) things started to change.
ThinkPad was/is an amazing series of laptops, reliable, trustworthy and rock solid. Just ask a person who used it before 2010s.
But around 2010, Lenovo ThinkPad started to lose its charm. It was filled with issues after issues and consumer complaints of poor performance.
Why am I recalling all this? Because Lenovo seems to be working on improving Linux compatibility. The latest announcement from Lenovo is an excellent news for Linux lovers.
Entire range of Lenovo ThinkPad and ThinkStation will be Linux certified
Lenovo announced that it is going to certify the full workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions from Ubuntu and Red Hat. This is valid for all models and configuration.
What does it mean to you as a Linux users? It means that if you buy a Lenovo computer, you will have the best possible out-of-the-box Linux experience.
Wait? Can you not just install Linux on any computer be it Le-novo or The-novo? Of course, you can. But when you wipe out existing (Windows) operating system and install Linux on your own, you may encounter hardware compatibility issues like audio missing, Wi-Fi not working etc.
The out-of-the-box experience matters because not everyone would be willing to spend time in fixing sound, graphics card, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth issues instead of focusing on their real work for which they bought the computer.
The developers from Ubuntu and Red Hat test and verify that each hardware component of Lenovo system works as intended.
Ubuntu, Red Hat and more
Lenovo has chosen two of the top Linux distributions for this purpose. Red Hat is a popular choice for Linux desktop and servers in enterprises. Ubuntu is of course popular in general.
This means that Lenovo system would work the best with Ubuntu LTS versions and Red Hat Linux. Lenovo will even offer the choice of Ubuntu and Red Hat preinstalled on its systems.
But it just doesn’t end here. Fedora is a community project from Red Hat and Lenovo is going to offer Fedora preloaded on ThinkPad P53 and P1 Gen 2 systems.
There are so many Linux distributions based on Ubuntu LTS release. Most of the time, these distributions differ in looks, applications and other graphical stuff, but they use the same base as Ubuntu.
This should mean that the Ubuntu-based distributions like Linux Mint, elementary OS etc also better hardware compatibility with Lenovo devices.
Lenovo is also going to upstream device drivers directly to the Linux kernel, to help maintain stability and compatibility throughout the life of the workstation. That’s superb.
Will it help increase the Linux user base?
Out of the box experience matters. It lets you focus on the important tasks that you are supposed to do on your system rather than troubleshooting.
I have a Dell XPS laptop that came with Ubuntu preinstalled. This is the only device that has required pretty much no hardware troubleshoot from my end even when I have installed Ubuntu-based distributions manually.
I am happy to see Lenovo doing the extra effort to improve Linux compatibility on its end. There is one more option in the list of Linux preloaded computers now.
I don’t know if Lenovo offering Linux on its systems will help increase the Linux user base. Most of the time Windows will be highlighted and Linux version won’t get the prime focus.
It is still commendable of Lenovo for their efforts to make their devices more Linux friendly. I hope other manufacturers do the same. There is no harm in hoping :)