back to article Lenovo certifies all desktop and mobile workstations for Linux – and will even upstream driver updates

Lenovo has decided to certify all of its workstations for Linux. “Our entire portfolio of ThinkStation and ThinkPad P Series workstations will now be certified via both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu LTS – a long-term, enterprise-stability variant of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution,” said a Tuesday statement from GM …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who is the third big PC-maker

    supporting Linux ?

  2. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Joke

    I've had a penguin on my desktop for years!

    *Gives a stuffed Tux a head pat & smiles*

    I just wish he'd stop surfing fish porn while I'm asleep, it makes my keyboard all yucky.

    *Changes the gloves for a fresh set*

    =-)p

    1. jgarbo
      Linux

      Re: I've had a penguin on my desktop for years!

      Download the new app, "How to house break your penguin", for free but the fish can be expensive.

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: I've had a penguin on my desktop for years!

      Put a stuffed leopard seal on the keyboard next to Tux. That’ll make him behave.

  3. UBF

    Hats off to Lenovo

    Refurbished Thinkpads and Thinkcentres are one of the most wonderful and reliable pieces of hardware I ever had the honor to lay my hands on. They are compact, totally silent, effective, fast as a shark with an SSD, and very well documented. Dell are my second choice - too much customisation. When friends and clients ask me to purchase a PC or laptop for them, Lenovos are my go-to solutions. In addition, if you get up to 4th-gen Intel CPUs, you have the advantage of avoiding installing Windows 10 and offering a rock-stable hard/soft Win7 solution. I install once and never hear any complaint from my clients for years. This is how computing should be in the 21st century.

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge

      Re: Hats off to Lenovo

      Been running Linux on an old lenovo laptop for at least 6 years. While I truly appreciate the move, my setup never needed it. My parents lenovo laptop however was a different MS story. They got 'upgraded' to win 10, this was when MS had decided that little cross in the top right no longer ment kill but 'hey, they must want this'. Pity lenovo listing their model as not Win 10 compatible, but ho-hum, they accepted by clicking the x.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Smirnov

      Re: Hats off to Lenovo

      "Refurbished Thinkpads and Thinkcentres are one of the most wonderful and reliable pieces of hardware"

      Well, my experience has been a lot different, at least what Thinkpads concerns. From the old T20-T23 series (delaminating displays, overheating) over A30/A31 (cracks in the housing, dying audio), T40/T41 (mobo issues due to flex, hinges), T43p (overheating, hinges), T61 (cracks in the chassis frame, hinges, mobo issues) and so on. Oh, and of course the batteries (I've never seen a ThinkPad battery which hasn't seen a notable loss in capacity after 15 months).

      In contrast, our HP nc series and later EliteBooks/zBooks fared a lot better, and have proven to survive a lot better in a commercial setting. As a bonus, their batteries are still near full capacity after two years.

      Besides, we run RHEL and SUSE Enterprise Linux on most of our laptops. HP has supported Linux for a very long time, probably longer than any other vendor.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Hats off to Lenovo

      Yes - I have a refurb Lenovo workstation box I bought for el-cheap on e-bay that came with Win 7 on it [while I could still get one] that I use for all of the windows-things. It's a good box. Also have an older Lenovo that came with XP on it, one of those mini-boxen the size of a book, still working just fine [I still use it for 3D printing, after initially jumping through some hoops to get it to work with the printer - drivers, yeah].

      So I _like_ Lenovo already. This news makes me like them even MORE.

      However... there are 3 specific things Lenovo will need to do to REALLY make this work. i hope they do them all.

      1. Make sure it is easy to change Linux distros on the customer end. No 'lock ins' of any kind, in other words, ESPECIALLY "secure boot" or anything similar. [with upstream commits for driver support, this is extremely likely]. Worth pointing out, I bought a machine with Linspire on it decades ago, and immediately switched it to Debian, with no problems. Same idea here.

      2. Make the Linux option available for ALL product lines, not just "the high end ones". However, if only their 'high end' models have a Linux option, its still "a good start".

      3. Deduct the cost of Windows license from the sticker price, and ship with a generic Linux on customer request so the OS cost can be waived. [I bought some micro-notebooks for a customer that were like this, arriving with some generic Linux distro on them and console only - they both got Debian installed, which had no SystemD at that time]

      Once people "get it" that Linux can do pretty much everything EXCEPT run windows-only applications [and you can always put windows in a VM if you have to], AND it can cost LESS to get a Linux machine, people will re-consider whether or not they actually WANT Windows 10 on their computer.

      And Micros~1 will be forced to re-think their OS "features" and marketing tactics.

    4. rcxb Silver badge

      Re: Hats off to Lenovo

      Refurbished Thinkpads and Thinkcentres are one of the most wonderful and reliable pieces of hardware I ever had the honor to lay my hands on.

      Funny, because the old Lenovo ThinkCentre M58p's we bought a truck-load of were some of the WORST we've ever had the displeasure of supporting and made us swear off Lenovo entirely.

      I had to help with a funny issue on one of the few survivors just the other day... With the SFF version. you have to pivot the drive bays out of the way to access the RAM slots. And how long are the SATA cables Lenovo used? Just a bit SHORTER than the distance they need to span when you do that... So take a working Lenovo ThinkCentre SFF system, upgrade the RAM, power-up to find it takes MINUTES to get through the BIOS boot-up. After all that, it doesn't find the hard drive anymore.

      I commend Lenovo for widespread Linux support, and maybe we'll buy some ThinkPads as a result, but only rarely do we need proper "Workstations"... If they would support Linux across their entire desktop PC line, now THAT would be damn convenient (not having to check hardware compatibility). As it is, we've had far better experience with Dell PCs.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hats off to Lenovo

      > Refurbished Thinkpads and Thinkcentres are one of the most wonderful and reliable pieces of hardware I ever had the honor to lay my hands on

      Interesting, will make a note of it.

      I have to say, I just realise I have been running Asus of all sizes and shapes (but always AMD processors) for the last 10+ years. I have no idea if they certify their stuff for any specific distros since I have no need for that (although I have worked with clients who choose to do that), but it all just works.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hats off to Lenovo

        Important thing to note is what a certification actually means. I do not really know, my understanding is that the manufacturer gives some kind of assurance that their product, in certain configuration(s) works with a certain version(s) of certain distro(s). Some companies demand this for whatever, justified or not, compliance reasons.

  4. bazza Silver badge

    From the article:

    Dell offers supported RHEL and Ubuntu on its XPS13 and Precision mobile workstations, plus the Precision tower workstations.

    They don't make a song and dance of it, but if you dig around deeper into their documentation you can see that Inspirons are also rated to support Linux. See Specs for an Inspiron 7591. Says "Ubuntu".

    And I can report that Ubuntu did indeed install smoothly, even through secure boot. The only trick was having to disable Intel RST first, and run the SSD in AHCI mode. Other than that - seems flawless.

    1. el_oscuro
      Linux

      My first Linux laptop was a Dell - which came preloaded with Ubuntu 7.10. Dell has offered Linux laptops for a very long time.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Dell has offered Linux laptops for a very long time.

        They started supplying Linux maybe as early as 1998 or 1999.

      2. crayon

        Mine was a Sony Vaio, with 64MB RAM and 6GB HDD. KDE3 ran like a champ on it. Back then successive versions of KDE3.x ran better and faster, sadly it's not the case anymore with KDE4 and KDE5.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      ISTR that while Dell did indeed install Linux on its machines it only used to do it on the pretty much lowest spec one in the range..

      I've never had any trouble installing Linux on one that they'd charged me for Windows on - though getting the correct drivers was sometimes a bit googly.

      That being said I've had nothing to do with them for many years - apart from occasionally finding my 386 Dell laptop and booting that up into the Linux on it. If only the machines they made now were as reliable!

  5. redpawn Silver badge

    So will they ever?

    provide bios updates for their low end equipment without requiring an install of Micros~1? The ideapads are not half bad basic machines when loaded with a light weight distro but crumble under the weight of 10 and become useless. Other bios update methods are available for the higher end machines but not for the ones that need it most.

  6. chuckufarley
    Coat

    Vendor support is one thing...

    ...But developer support is another. The Open Source Zealots and the We Make Money Now content distribution platforms and the We Refuse to Help chip-set manufactures will not be onboard. With out them it's like owning a Rolls Royce and having no roads to drive on.

    Do not misunderstand me. I gave up Windows 10 Pro a while back. The exact date escapes me but it was when I found that even using the combined power of RegEdit, gpedit.msc, and secpol.msc I was unable to disable Cortana. My two Ryzen 7 3700X machines both run Ubuntu. One is my desktop and the other is my server.

    Here are some example of what needs to change for something like this to work on a large scale:

    1.) Content providers like Amazon, Google Play, Apple, AAA game developers and publishers, and subscription based cloud services from Microsoft (looking at you MS Office), and the MPAA need to realize that they are missing legitimate profits (not just income) from the Linux Desktop. In the best cases they do offer partial support or content at a reduced quality but in most cases the offer nothing at all to Linux users. That means you as the user must breaks the T&C's of their platforms to get high quality content. Have you ever tried to play a Blu-Ray DVD in Linux or *BSD? What about streaming 4K Video from Amazon? How about playing "The Division" or "Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord" or "Destiny 2"? All of these will required breaking the T&C's to work, if they work at all.

    If I have break break the T&C's how can I claim to be a legitimate source of income let alone profit?

    2.) Chip-set manufactures for all manner of hardware will need to provide full support to developers. As it stands very few actually do this (AMD? Qualcom's Atheros?). Others provide little more than a set buggy reference drivers (RealTek?) and still others force otherwise legitimate users and developers to break their T&C's to reverse engineer drivers (Broadcom?). Still others refuse to publish any form of officially supported open source drivers at all and therefor force users to pick their poison of a partially functional open source driver or using a high performing closed sourced driver with a tainted kernel (Nvidia?).

    3.) The Linux and GNU developerss themselves need to put functionality first for a change. Their zealotry has been the number one factor in keeping the first two changes from happening. People will almost always buy the best hardware that they can afford but very rarely will they buy lower grade hardware just because it's fully supported by the Linux distro they want to use. Why should they when they can just dual boot or better yet, only use Linux on a subset of their older hardware?

    None of this even takes into account the rapid shrinking of the desktop market in the home user sector. In short I think any headline proclaiming a possible "YOLOTDT" is just click bait. I, for one, stopped clicking years ago.

    1. Mellipop

      Re: Vendor support is one thing...

      good description of what needs to be done:

      * content providers

      * hardware manufacturers

      * open source developers

      can I add a fourth?

      * open source OS support organisations

      We now have red hat, canonical as big boys and a few independents pushing a "distribution".

      I think all four are needed to support a supplier of ready built machines. I recently loaded Mint onto a Chuwi LapBook. now having new problems trying make all the hardware work on the same laptop using nomadBSD.

      I'm making notes but the concern, as you point out, is that no one entity is taking responsibility for helping any change stick.

      And that's sad considering the internet is at our disposal and has been such a catalyst of change.

      1. chuckufarley

        Re: Vendor support is one thing...

        While there might be a need for a few dedicated support orgs to start with I see them as being a natural off shoot of the required evolution. It's not hard to imagine r/ossdesktop or yotodt.stackexchange.com.

        That is asuming that it isn't too late already.

    2. chuckufarley

      Re: Vendor support is one thing...

      Oh, I got *another* down vote with no reply. Such a shame.

      Pro Tip:

      If you are too busy to tell people why you disagree with them you are better off just ignoring what they have to say. Then they can't make arguments about you being a lazy git down voting because you have some other sock puppet account you are busy with.

      1. chuckufarley

        Re: Vendor support is one thing...

        "Please, sir, I want some more."

      2. AndyS

        Re: Vendor support is one thing...

        Didn't downvote your original comment, but how about this:

        > I, for one, stopped clicking years ago.

        Right. So after reading the article and writing a 4,000 word essay explaining everything wrong with the world, you end by saying you don't even bother clicking through to articles like this any more.

        Nobody likes a whiner.

        1. chuckufarley

          Re: Vendor support is one thing...

          Oh, I thought no one liked the truth. The truth is that this is at least the third article in a month with the headline "Year Of Linux on the Desktop" that El Reg has published. I prefer broken clocks over broken records.

          As much as I value the fact based journalism they bring this industry I cannot ignore reality for them or myself. If that makes me a troll or parasite your eyes so be it. At least I will say how, why, when, and where I disagree.

          Otherwise if I can't speak the truth with out getting down voted then I will be down voted and like it until the day I am banned from these forums.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNx8KtzZXkM

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vendor support is one thing...

        What a sensitive Madam.

      4. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Vendor support is one thing...

        Oh, I got *another* down vote with no reply. Such a shame.

        Pro Tip:

        If you are too busy to tell people why you disagree with them you are better off just ignoring what they have to say. Then they can't make arguments about you being a lazy git down voting because you have some other sock puppet account you are busy with.

        Personally I upvoted your original; however the idea of further posts to every internet comment comment in the world, ad infinitum explaining each upvote or downvote, like or dislike, forever, opens up new vistas of Hell.

    3. gerryg

      Re: Vendor support is one thing...

      Some of what you say is true, particularly about, e g., Broadcom and Nvidia. Some Blu-ray support is available under VLC, but my understanding is that MS Windows no longer provides a player either. I'm not sure why I would want to watch in 4K on a PC or laptop.

      Linux doesn't need the latest hardware to give a fast and responsive performance: that is a feature not a bug. By analogy I'm sure some people require a Lamborghini to go to the supermarket but there is still an active market in second hand cars.

      And if you are unfortunate enough to have a bought new hardware with a new operating system but have a stash of older peripherals that meet your needs but for the absence of drivers, then Linux will save you further expense

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Vendor support is one thing...

        "I'm not sure why I would want to watch in 4K on a PC or laptop."

        Not even the PC with a tuner card in it, sitting under the TV, running MythTV or Kodi?

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Vendor support is one thing...

          No. Not given most of the output seems to have jpg features all over it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Vendor support is one thing...

          > I'm not sure why I would want to watch in 4K on a PC or laptop.

          PornHub.

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Vendor support is one thing...

        "I'm not sure why I would want to watch in 4K on a PC or laptop."

        Because of examples like this

        https://youtu.be/sns1Xj6L-Qc

        If you aren't seeing this in glorious 4K majesty on your monitor...Oh Well

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vendor support is one thing...

      Hmmm, well:

      1.) Content providers like Amazon, Google Play, Apple, AAA game developers and publishers, and subscription based cloud services from Microsoft (looking at you MS Office), and the MPAA need to realize that they are missing legitimate profits (not just income) from the Linux Desktop.

      I rather suspect that they'd consider themselves to be more in touch with their business opportunities than yourself. They've not done so because, and only because, they don't see any profit in it. There is also the oft expressed concern (the justifiability of which is irrelevant here) that supporting Linux is a one way fast track towards an increase in piracy, enabled by their source code having to be made available to all who wish to edit it and circumvent DRM protections. Whilst they have that concern, justified or not, content providers will be extremely wary of Linux.

      2.) Chip-set manufactures for all manner of hardware will need to provide full support to developers.

      You're right that this would have to change to make it easier to support any old device in any old OS. But I refer you to my previous point. There's no money in it for them, and potentially a loss of business (especially for those that rely on uploading firmware from device drivers).

      One might consider the poor state of WiFi drivers on Linux to be entirely due to the fact that datacentres (where the vast majority of Linux instances are) use Ethernet instead. Ethernet NIC manufacturers make sure that Linux is well supported.

      3.) The Linux and GNU developerss themselves need to put functionality first for a change. Their zealotry has been the number one factor in keeping the first two changes from happening.

      Yes, I agree there's certainly an element of that holding Linux back. The discussion about the incorporation of ZFS into Linux is a prime example. Though to be fair I don't think they have much choice; once Linus chose GPL2 all those years ago, something like this was inevitable. If incorporating ZFS into Linux on a wider scale meant having to relax the strictures of GPL2, but only for Linux, it'd then be a bit rich if they hammered someone else bending GPL2 for their own purposes. I don't know that it's even possible to "relax" GPL2 without a change in copyright law in a majority of countries.

      GPL2 could end up wiping out Linux; ZFS is rapidly becoming something of a "killer application" for OSes, and btrfs really doesn't compare very well. If another similarly popular thing come along not licensed under GPL2, then that'd be another reason to use something other than Linux. Also, I think that some of the expressed opinions about the legality of incorporating ZFS with Linux are definitely tinged with a "not invented here" attitude. What I find frustrating is the lack of ambition and drive amongst the community leaders; arguably, the number one priority ought to be "we must fix / finish btrfs", but instead what we get is "who needs such an fs anyway?". The maxim "Develop, or Die" applies as well to OSS projects as it does to companies. Instead it's been left to Ubuntu to feel a way forward, see if they get sued by anyone. Meanwhile GhostBSD is pretty nice, comes with ZFS as stock.

      I think there's other symptoms of the OSS world not really thinking "enterprise" or "opportunity" very well. Consider SAMBA. Now the folk behind SAMBA have done a mighty fine job over the years, reverse engineering MS's domain stuff, then actually paying the fee to get the docs from MS directly. Very impressive stuff, lots of beer owed. Yet a very big question to ask is, why is SAMBA even necessary?

      Sure, it's an excellent way for *nix to play with Windows domains, but why is there no such thing as a *nix domain? There used to be - I'm old enough to remember Sun's Yellow Pages / NIS / NIS+, which was a forerunner to all such things, but that's about it. Instead of "let's build a better domain system than Windows", it's been "let's integrate with Windows domains".

      Again, that's not the SAMBA team's fault - they started off small and couldn't possibly then have gone down such a route on their own. But why didn't the OSS community as a whole recognise the value of a domain system in certain widespread situations (companies, education, hell, even in the home these days) and decide to go after it? The idea of a Windows domain might seem old fashioned and irrelevant, but it's still a mighty tool for businesses wanting to have control of what goes on in their networks, and has been replicated in the mobile space by companies like RIM/BlackBerry (who are still earning very nicely out of that part of their business), MobileIron. I see no prospect of such an idea going away any time soon. Indeed it's just being recreated again, in the cloud, by companies like Google.

      And so long as Linux basically doesn't have the equivalent of a Windows Domain in the fullest sense (AFAIK not even SAMBA can impose the equivalent of GPOs on top of Linux), there'll be a ton of companies that won't want it as a first class citizen on their corporate networks. And without millions business customers asking for it, there's less incentive to support Linux on hardware.

      1. Smirnov

        ZFS is rapidly becoming something of a "killer application" for OSes

        "ZFS is rapidly becoming something of a "killer application" for OSes, and btrfs really doesn't compare very well."

        Only for home users who intend to put a lot of cheap spinning hard drives into a computer without using hardware RAID. Which is exactly what ZFS was made for (Sun developed ZFS for managing large numbers of fibre channel hard drives in a RAID configuration). Other than that, it's not very relevant. Windows won't adopt ZFS (it has its own modern file system ReFS), and even Apple which was initially interested in it has long given up on ZFS for Mac OS.

        If you're using hardware RAID or external storage systems (which work transparent) then ZFS is amongst the worst file systems to have, mostly because of its inherent limitations owed to the fact it was designed for spinning rust.

        As to BTRFS, it has seen a lot of work in recent years, particular by SUSE (the #2 Linux vendor in the Enterprise space) which uses BTRFS as the default file system, supported of course, for SUSE Enterprise Linux and the free variant openSUSE. The only area where BTRFS isn't yet up to scratch is BTRFS RAID5/6 (which isn't supported by SUSE), and while it's easy to implement BTRFS on mdmraid it's not as useful for the homeuser crowd who ant to fight against data corruption.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Vendor support is one thing...

      "high performing closed sourced driver with a tainted kernel"

      Yeah, about that...

      The easiest "tainted kernel" workaround is a wrapper that's open source [so you can re-compile the kernel with a different config, and then re-compile the driver with the driver source, as needed, to get a driver that works with a different kernel config] while simultaneously using a BLOB to store the actual guts of the driver, _PARTICULARLY_ in the case of 802.11 drivers that might need to be CLOSED SOURCE due to FCC requirements [which is the case for Broadcom - I've worked with their NDA code in the past].

      Seriously, the Linux community at large needs to accept the use of BLOBs in some cases, as long as it makes it possible for the drivers to be built for different kernel configs [the purpose of having open source kernel drivers]. It's not ideal, but it works.

      And maybe more hardware vendors and DRM advocates would be willing to supply BLOB drivers (with open source wrappers) for their hardware (etc.) as long as it gives them the I.P. or legal protection that they want, instead of going "Micros~1 only". Yeah.

    6. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Vendor support is one thing...

      Content providers like Amazon, Google Play, Apple, AAA game developers and publishers, and subscription based cloud services from Microsoft (looking at you MS Office), and the MPAA need to realize that they are missing legitimate profits (not just income) from the Linux Desktop.

      Yes, would like to be able to buy from the iTunes store on my Linux system (or even Android, but I see that as even less likely). Heck, let me buy from a web-browser. Streaming music isn't any use to me (I don't have nor want to use mobile data for listening in the car), and most of the anisong/J-metal/Touhou doujin/Vocaloid music I'd want just isn't available in the US otherwise.

      (and as long as Amazon insists on their 1-Click scam as a requirement to buy digital media, I'm not buying from there).

    7. AdamWill

      Re: Vendor support is one thing...

      "Have you ever tried to play a Blu-Ray DVD in Linux or *BSD? What about streaming 4K Video from Amazon? How about playing "The Division" or "Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord" or "Destiny 2"? All of these will required breaking the T&C's to work, if they work at all."

      Sure, but none of them are things you need to do (or ought to be doing, if your employer is paying...unless you work for a game developer...) on a professional workstation.

      I dunno, I used to care about that stuff a lot more, but a decent blu-ray player costs like a hundred bucks, and everyone streams movies these days anyway, don't they? Plus a PS4 plays blurays just fine. Plus it or just about any cellphone can stream video fine. I gave up worrying about whether I can play movies or games on my desktop/laptop computers, oh, I dunno, a decade ago or so. I have other things for doing that.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: @AdamWill

        Sure, but none of them are things you need to do (or ought to be doing, if your employer is paying...unless you work for a game developer...) on a professional workstation.

        The POINT of a personal computer is that It's not your right to say what ANY user can, or cannot, do.

        If User (A) wants to play Blu-rays on his [Windows] laptop whilst traveling, or stream Amazon on his [Windows] desktop, you have no right to say that this choice is wrong. For you, you prefer using other options. But you have no right to say that those options should not exist for anyone else and that those choices are wrong, especially when being directed towards an excuse of why it's OK for your favorite FOSS OS to not support the choice.

        It's not OK. Indeed, it is just one of many situations that prevents FOSS-based OS'es from going the full mainstream that proponents have been promising for decades now. Elitism isn't going to help, FOSS users constantly stating that the solutions they've created, in the manner that they've created them, are good enough for any user who would care.

        1. AdamWill

          Re: @AdamWill

          It's a good thing I didn't say that, then, isn't it?

  7. cb7

    If an "unsupported" cheaper model laptop uses the same model wifi card as a supported model, what's to stop a user installing and using the driver from the supported model?

    1. chuckufarley

      The most likely cause would be laziness. The second most likely cause would be exhaustion after having to do this for the 10th time in a week. That is what micros~1 gets right. No matter what you as the user fuck up you have restore points to fall back on.

      In Linux if you fuck up big time then by design you are in over your head and better off starting with fresh install. For the average person this is not acceptable. If it isn't done "automagicly" in Linux the end users will grow to hate it. You can think of at least one thing you are sick and tired of doing in Windows and I bet it isn't nearly as important as getting a network driver installed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "In Linux if you fuck up big time then by design you are in over your head and better off starting with fresh install."

        If it's user data getting mucked up, then on Linux you either go back to an earlier ZFS snapshot if you're using ZFS, or go to your normal backup to recover the data, so not really much different to windows.

        If it's something in the OS or programs you've mucked up then various options exist to recover without a re-install, but yes, you do need to be a more advanced user. If it's previously working drivers that have gone wrong on linux, then it's likely that you've been poking around in kernel and module configurations, and you're probably an advanced enough user that you can, with a bit of googling, sort it out yourself.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        What are you doing that requires you to have driver problems 10 times in a week?

        1. chuckufarley

          Trying to get unsupported hardware to work? Reinstalling the OS because you don't know how to copy your browser favorites over?

          If this is "The Year Of Linux On The Desktop" we have less than six months to get this into production. All end user edge cases must be addressed before the end of the year. For the corner cases we can make excuses about "holding it wrong."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been using a few year old mid/low range Lenovo laptop on Linux for over a year. Hardware/driver wise it's been fine. I've had a strange issue of the wifi sometimes not loading on boot. But no idea if it's software, driver or hardware. Might just be a strange config if I press a button or plug/unplug a USB while it's booting.

    So overall, I'm happy with Linux support from... well, whomever is supporting it.

    1. eionmac

      Best not to have USB devices plugged in at start up.

      This is an old problem. I find it best on some machines not to have USB devices plugged in at start up; unless I am booting from an external USB hard drive with GRUB on that external hard drive.

      1. Boothy Silver badge

        Re: Best not to have USB devices plugged in at start up.

        Had this issue with some mice, if plugged in on boot, it just jumps around all over the place when I move it. Unplug and boot without, then plug in, and it's perfectly fine.

        This was mostly with Ubuntu, but I also saw the same issue with Mint (i.e. Ubuntu under the hood). Also this was for different releases over something like a 5 year period, and on different hardware over that time, with different mice. i.e. nothing hardware actually in common!

        Last time I tried a native install of Ubuntu, about 2 years ago on a company laptop (older LST version as well), and it still had the same issue! So just got into the habit of not plugging the mouse till I'd got to the desktop.

        Just seemed odd to me that they couldn't get something as common as a USB mouse to work reliably on boot!

        Still love Linux though, and this was only minor issue with an easy workaround, in an otherwise stable environment.

        I still use Linux regularly, but it's either through a VM, or WSL currently, although I do have a spare machine now, so I might set that up as a dual-boot with Mint...

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    Simple, Logical Reason.

    Trump.

    What's to stop him imposing sanctions on them and / or banning MS from doing business with them, based on security theatre?

    1. Bo Lox

      Re: Simple, Logical Reason.

      Exactly what I thought too. Chinese companies are disconnecting themselves from the US due to Trump's economic war upon China.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too late

    WSL2 is coming, the need to run Linux on your desktop is over. Forever.

    This would appear to be the end of the "Embrace" phase and the beginning of "Extend". We all know what comes next.

    And before any Redmond apologists jump is; yes, this is very much how MS still operates.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Too late

      Ah, yes. WSL2

      Microsofts answer to trying to balance the Pyramids on top of a carton of yogurt.

  11. jeffdyer
    Trollface

    Nutella?

    Why the Nutella jar? Marmite would be more appropriate surely?

  12. karlkarl Silver badge

    Phew, this has taken quite a few years huh? ;)

    I wonder if it is the recent trade problems with the US. Lenovo as a chinese company is probably wanting to have a solid alternative to Windows.

    The best bit is, Lenovo hasn't needed to lift a finger for the driver support, this has all been done on the back of the open-source community. They can just reap in the reward.

  13. Jay 2

    Interesting that they're pre-loading Fedora in a few places. It's a bit too bleeding edge for my tastes and each version is only good for about a year until the support window shifts. Fine if you know what you're doing, but could get a bit messy otherwise if you hit any problems. Meanwhile CentOS is at the other end of the spectrum in that it'll be nice and stable but some of the packages maybe somewhat old.

  14. Paul Johnson 1
    Holmes

    How much money off do you get for not buying Windows?

    Do you still pay the "Windows tax" even if you don't want Windows?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: How much money off do you get for not buying Windows?

      On consumer grade, kit, none. You may even pay more. Consumer grade kit is full of crap apps and demos which the suppliers pay to have pre-installed and thus subsidise the end user price tag.

  15. heyrick Silver badge

    Year Of Linux on the Desktop

    Who cares any more?

    When people first said that, we didn't have smartphones and IPcams and all manner of connected gizmos (including bloody fridges). Now we do. And a large number of them either run some type of Linux, or something that was Linux once upon a time.

    So why care about Linux on a desktop when it's quietly getting the job done everywhere else?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Year Of Linux on the Desktop

      Because Linux on a desktop offers a lot more benefits to the user and to the community than Linux on a locked-down system. Linux on a desktop means a great deal of user choice and hardware openness. Linux on a desktop likely means you can also get BSD on that desktop, or Windows, or many other OS options because drivers are available for OS developers of most types. It also means people develop more for the Linux desktop, meaning more applications for us and more convincing arguments that it is worth the time of commercial enterprises that don't yet have good Linux functionality.

      Linux on a smart oven gives us little. We almost certainly can't log in or install software or reimage it. Linux under Android is pretty much the same--it doesn't prevent locked-down phones and it doesn't give us any compatibility with desktop/server Linux. Neither encourages others to adopt the culture of open software, and neither helps the current users.

      I don't support Linux out of a desire to see kernel installation numbers increase. I support Linux because it means benefits for me, people like me, and the community of computer users as a whole. Sadly, there are many places where the Linux kernel doesn't automatically mean those benefits exist, and its use there does not factor into my calculations of success.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Driven to Linux by M$...and Linux turns out to be wonderful!!

    Just been ejected from a Windows 10 install on my shiny new Acer Swift......Microsoft wanted an active broadband connection, then an email address, and then sent an "authorisation code" to my landline.....so lots of PII slurping, and the DEMAND for a mobile phone number (so the authorisation text message would work)........all this because a Microsoft online account is MANDATORY for me to use my own equipment..........all this just last Thursday. To paraphrase Nike -- "Just don't do it!".

    *

    I abandoned the "factory install", reformatted the hard drive...........and installed Fedora 32.

    *

    CODA: Reviews of my new machine (£400) say it's only marginally useful on Windows 10......too cheap.....not the £1000+ required for a "powerful" Microsoft Surface. But in actual fact, used with Fedora it's a delight. No processing problems at all once Windows 10 is replaced by something less bloated. Why do people put up with huge costs AND PII slurping? Someone here will no doubt be able to explain.

    1. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: Driven to Linux by M$...and Linux turns out to be wonderful!!

      Because most people don't care. If it is corporate then the Linux community can scream all they want but until you reach a point were the OS becomes nothing more than a web browser, Windows is still king. It is all the integration with applications that are not supported on Linux. I attempted to get a small business to use an Office alternative to save money but in the end there were simply too many documents that had compatibility issues. It is a chicken and egg situation.

      For the home user if it is supplied with Windows they will run it because it works.

      This has always been the case once Microsoft got Windows NT Domain and Exchange working. From then on everyone else has been on the back foot. It does not matter if there are better options (Novell, eDirectory come to mind), simple economics consigned them to niche or the bin.

      The arguments about slurping of data are only relevant to those who are already aware. Most people have already given everything to Facebook, Google and Twitter anyway. If you have Office 365 then you have a Microsoft Account and because of the way people are conditioned to small monthly charges, the subscription model is king here as well.

      I sure many here will disagree however this is the reality. Microsoft makes money selling services based on Windows and whilst a very high percentage of users continue to do so, nothing will change. At the end of the day even if Linux becomes the OS of choice MS will still be there with everything else.

    2. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Driven to Linux by M$...and Linux turns out to be wonderful!!

      One tip for anyone that does need to install Windows 10 for some reason, always disconnect from the Internet before starting the setup process. i.e. No active WiFi or LAN cable plugged in to the device.

      Because if Windows 10 can't get to the Internet it automatically defaults to creating a standard Local Account instead.

      I've done this many times now, from early pre-release Win 10 builds, to the latest 2004 release, and this trick still works.

      With 2004, and no Internet, the installer eventually gets to the 'Network' part, and you just click 'I don't have Internet' (small print bottom left) and then 'Continue with limited setup', you then get prompted to create a local account.

      Note: You could at one point skip this MS Account process during Install, even with an Internet connection, but MS seemed to hide this away under convoluted menus, and then behind a 'Something went wrong' message (after forcing an account login error), and I believe they have now removed this option completely (since 1903 I think). So no Internet is as far as I know now, the only way to do this.

      One other benefit of no network during install, is I stick a copy of O&O Shutup 10 on a USB stick before hand, and run that on the fresh install to switch all the Cortana, telemetry and other rubbish off. You can also remove some of the bloat before it gets a chance to update its self.

      Once you do connect to the Internet, and run all the updates, make sure you run O&O Shutup 10 again, as some MS updates re-enable things again!

      Edit: Just to mention, the above was always with Windows 10 USB or ISO images from MS themseves, not custom installs from 3rd parties, such as Laptop makers.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Driven to Linux by M$...and Linux turns out to be wonderful!!

        An additional tip there as well:

        When you're making that local account, Setup insists upon asking for "security" questions (I had been picking random ones and providing a single colorful answer). Then I found if you*didn't* provide a password, it wouldn't ask. You can then add a password later on, after the install is finished, and before you re-attach to the network.

        1. Boothy Silver badge

          Re: Driven to Linux by M$...and Linux turns out to be wonderful!!

          Ah, wasn't aware of that, I'd just picked the first 3 questions, and used the same answer each time.

          Good tip, thanks.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lenovo will also upstream device drivers into the Linux kernel....

    Lenovo is serious about this: the company says its workstations will “offer full end-to-end support – from security patches and updates to better secure and verify hardware drivers, firmware and bios optimizations.”

    Lenovo does have a history with "driver updates" and "BIOS optimizations"

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/08/lenovo-used-windows-anti-theft-feature-to-install-persistent-crapware/

    1. Andrew Scaife

      Re: Lenovo will also upstream device drivers into the Linux kernel....

      Phew, dodged that bullet with my old Flex2-14 and current G580. Now if they would just release the code that sets charge thresholds so Linux users could stop charging to 100% all the time that would be nice.

  18. DanceMan
    Thumb Up

    It may not be be TYOLOTD, but it''s been my year since I discovered MX linux, and interestingly the main two are on a Thinkpad T410 and a Lenovo M58 SFF. I'd tried linux occasionally for 10 or 15 years on old hardware but Win 8 and 10 pushed me harder. Linux handles wireless and ethernet drivers better than Windows these days. I don't game and thus don't have experience with video gpu's other than the chipset versions. I'm very happy and learning to deal with the occasional command line tasks.

    My reading tells me that for linux to make the big jump, it has to have a Domain and Exchange alternative and a way to run actual MS Office. For one example, my union used to use a spreadsheet with complex macros for estimating payrolls that would never have run in Open Office. The vast majority of people will run whatever came on their machine. I note tv ads recently promoting Chromebooks. As long as linux support remains at the current level, I'm quite happy running a somewhat obscure OS.

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