Lenovo jumped into Linux-Ready devices Lineup


Lenovo announced on Wednesday the launch of the Linux-ready devices (ThinkPad and ThinkStation) pre-installed with Canonical’s popular Ubuntu technology as the next step in its Linux expansion program.

The company is now adding Linux certification and easing deployment for developers and data scientists to its ThinkPad and ThinkStation Workstation portfolio. Lenovo moves on from Ubuntu and Red Hat to certify the full workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions. Every model and configuration require this.

Lenovo is now offering a wide selection of almost 30 Ubuntu-loaded devices for purchase via Lenovo.com, previously only accessible to businesses through a personalized bid. These include 13 workstations in the ThinkStation and ThinkPad P Series and an additional 14 laptops in the ThinkPad T, X, X1, and L series. Except for the L series with version 18.04, they all come with the 20.04 LTS version of Ubuntu.

A much more streamlined experience with Linux-Ready devices

The vision of Lenovo to enable smarter technology for all means “for all.” In June, our computer certification announcement was a step in the right direction to allow customers to install Linux on their own more easily. According to Igor Bergman, vice president, our mission is to eliminate the complexity and provide the Linux community with a quality experience for our customers to know us.

He said this is the next step in delivering Linux-ready devices right out of the box.

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This expansion means additional accessibility to open source software, libraries, and tools to boost developers’ productivity. For those who have previously braved the often-time-consuming process of installing Linux onto their Lenovo computers themselves, this provides a smooth out-of-box experience. It also offers an expanded variety of devices for this group of programmers, software developers, AI practitioners, and other Linux users to choose from, he added.

“The expansion of Ubuntu-certified devices by Lenovo shows great dedication to open source and the Linux community. This partnership enables businesses to equip their workers with the assurance of long-term reliability, added security, and streamlined IT management, with data scientists and developers increasingly requiring Linux for evolving workloads,” said Dean Henrichsmeyer, vice president of engineering.

Lenovo minimizes Linux users’ confusion and adds end-to-end web and phone support for platform-related Linux problems by offering these devices preloaded with the OEM version of Ubuntu.

Next Step towards the Linux-Ready devices

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The news comes on the heels of Lenovo’s announcement of the RedHat Linux supported community version of computers running Fedora Linux Desktop. That was a huge deal, said Christian Schaller, senior software engineering manager for Red Hat, announced earlier this month.

For Lenovo, the events represented a double milestone. This was the first time from a major vendor that Fedora delivered pre-installed on a laptop. The first time one of the biggest laptop manufacturers sold luxury laptops with the Linux desktop OS pre-installed directly to customers.

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Both September announcements by Lenovo were bittersweet. Years ago, IBM first marketed pre-installed ThinkPad laptops with Linux and then continued the Lenovo product line. Then, Lenovo dropped the line of Linux products in 2008. In July of last year, IBM concluded a landmark US$ 34 billion acquisition of Red Hat.

“For several years, Lenovo has taken steps toward this expansion, providing pre-loaded Linux PCs for businesses that apply custom bids and certifying a variety of our PCs to Linux requirements. That would allow users to install the OS on a Lenovo computer more easily,” Bergman told LinuxInsider.

The Lenovo Workstation team released a blog post announcing the Linux software extension in June. That included the imminent availability, he added, of a wide range of Linux preinstalled PCs. “This announcement is the expression of that pledge, defining the available PCs, both within and outside the workstation portfolio,” Bergman noted.

In response to commercial customers’ rising demand, particularly IT professionals and developers who are part of the global open source community, Lenovo embarked on this expansion. In its smart technology, Lenovo aims to give these users more options, he explained.

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It is essential to keep in mind that all Thinkpad laptops or ThinkSystem desktops are the latest Linux setups aimed primarily at companies and IT professionals, particularly developers. According to Charles King (principal analyst at Pund-IT), they should also be desirable to individuals employed in areas where Linux predominates, such as AI/machine learning and HPC / supercomputing, both places where Lenovo is involved.

“The company is astute in evaluating global markets for business opportunities, so I expect these latest products to do very well,” LinuxInsider said.

This year, through strategic partnerships announced with Fedora and Red Hat, Lenovo has been actively developing its Linux portfolio. But some rivals lag in the company’s focus on Linux, King remarked.

For the better part of a decade, Dell sold Linux-loaded laptops through a program named Project Satellite, targeted primarily at developers. The business provides both Red Hat and Canonical certified slimline XPS13 and muscular Precision workstations and tower systems.

“In this context, the decision of Lenovo to leap into the deep end with Fedora and Canonical could signal that it is accelerating the adoption of Linux-based PCs and laptops,” King said.

Why Ubuntu is the best choice?

“Ubuntu is a common, well-respected, and popular open-source operating system for the enterprise network, desktop, cloud, and IoT on Linux. For many years, Lenovo has worked closely with Canonical, the Ubuntu publishers, so it was a natural choice to extend our partnership with them,” Bergman observed.

With several other open-source groups, Lenovo is also actively engaged. Fedora, which Lenovo revealed earlier this year, is one of the principal Linux groups. In the end, we want to help open source in a manner that meets their standards and ethos, “said Bergman.”

All Linux configurations for Ubuntu come with GNOME as the default desktop. You may not have to reinstall the OS on other desktops. You can install/select other desktops in the same way that Ubuntu has always supported it, even if you cannot like it when purchasing Lenovo. According to Lenovo, it is all regular Ubuntu with no Lenovo limitations.

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Global availability

The following ThinkPad and ThinkStation devices from Lenovo are included in this global expansion. Beginning in September 2020, they will be available globally and will roll out in phases through 2021:

  • ThinkPad T14 (Intel and AMD)
  • ThinkPad T14s (Intel and AMD)
  • ThinkPad T15p
  • ThinkPad T15
  • ThinkPad X13 (Intel and AMD)
  • ThinkPad X13 Yoga
  • ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3
  • ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8
  • ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5
  • ThinkPad L14
  • ThinkPad L15
  • ThinkPad P15s
  • ThinkPad P15v
  • ThinkPad P15
  • ThinkPad P17
  • ThinkPad P14s
  • ThinkPad P1 Gen 3
  • ThinkStation P340
  • ThinkStation P340 Tiny
  • ThinkStation P520c
  • ThinkStation P520
  • ThinkStation P720
  • ThinkStation P920
  • ThinkStation P620

Except for the ThinkPad L series laptops, all of the PCs included in this announcement will be eligible with the 20.04 LTS update of Ubuntu released in April 2020. With version 18.04 LTS, the ThinkPad L14 and L15 will be available.

The release focuses on the commercial selection of PCs offered by Lenovo. The business is still pursuing expansion and will share more later, Bergman said.

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