Now You Can Buy Linux Certified Lenovo ThinkPad and ThinkStation (For the Best Possible Out of the Box Linux Experience)

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.

Things were even worse for Linux users. Its secure boot with UEFI created problems for Linux users. The controversy with Linux would just not end.

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

Lenevo Linux Certified Systems

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

Thinkpad Ubuntu

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 :)

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  • My main media and browsing laptop is Lenovo and I’ve never had a major issue at least on my favourite Xubuntu setup. On mint and suse I had a few issues that were easy to fix. Even the wife can use xfce now.

  • This is awesome news! I got a ThinkPad in 2016 for university, and it came with that awkward broken version of Windows 7, so I installed Ubuntu just as I used to on my MacBook, and accidentally made Windows totally unbootable. I didn’t mind, it actually works really well with some tweaking, but the tweaking did take a while to find what works, and even then it’s not perfect. But I’ve gotten so used to the whole track point thing and whenever I need to replace this, I’ll definitely stick with the ThinkPad keyboard/mouse layout, so this will make it so much easier! And hopefully normalize the fact that not everyone uses Windows. I had to get Windows10 for online exam software, but I prefer Xubuntu for everything and some of my profs gave me weird looks when I said that I prefer Linux.

  • I have two Lenovo Thikcentre and I have installed almost most of the Linux distros, with the exeption of one all distros work perfectly.The lonovo models are 6 and 4 years old

  • I just read on an “official” Lenovo website news of Linux support for certain Lenovo computers, as stated by Rob Herman, General Manager, Executive Director Workstation & Client AI Group, dated 2 June 2020.

    Less than one month ago, I inquired about purchase of several ‘business’ model Lenono workstations, primarily for software development -substantially different from AI work? and was informed of the Microsoft Windows ONLY policy for Lenovo, with certain exceptions on very limited support for X86 Server systems

    Today, June 5th, 2020 I again contacted Lenovo Business sales who indicated being unaware of any company statements or plans to support Linux, for AI development or any purpose.
    Since the “business Sales” representative was quite adamant that no such pronouncement was made by a Lenovo executive, they transferred me to customer Support for any additional help or clarification.

    Like business sales, Customer Support were likewise totally ignorant of any new policy or business sales position of the company, and re-inforced position of all non-enterprise sales departments – Business and personal, that Lenovo was a Microsoft partner and would only sell notebook/PC products with Windows.

    How can one acquire information on any release schedule for Linux based Lenovo computers, including where such new information – in more detail (not marketing hype) can be found.

    It’sFOSS and other tech media reporting on these Lenovo pronouncements, need to secure necessary information for readers seeking Linux pre-installed Lenovo computers, and not automatically parrot statements from company executives.

    And what happens in most or all of Lenovo resellers refuse to pre-load Linux as certified by Lenov, for purchases. This would make whole Lenovo Linux love concep a fallacy.

  • I am pleased Lenovo is opening up but there are many options for laptops that run linux out of the box.

    I think the community would do well to support companies truly dedicated to FOSS and perhaps not just become another column on a huge corporate sales report.

    • The challenge I faced with trying to get something smaller, is import fees. Where Lenovo has branches in many countries. If I were to go with System76 for example, I would have had to pay at least $200 in customs fees. There are always local custom PC builders, but they’re more limited in terms of laptops and such. So it’s great for those of us who can’t always get things shipped over borders.