It's a bit startling to see that these notebooks will only cost $20 less than the same models with Windows Vista. OEM pricing truly is mysterious. Nevertheless, having it all pre-installed and working out of the box will help some buyers in the desktop market to confidently go with GNU/Linux.
While Dell chose Ubuntu as their desktop GNU/Linux distro, Lenovo instead went with Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED). I think this is an indication of the different markets that they are targeted: SLED has a repuation for working well in a business environment, readily integrating with already installed Microsoft servers and products. Considering Novell's cooperation with Microsoft in this area, this shouldn't be a surprise. Since the ThinkPads have long had a good reputation as business notebooks, it is no surprise then that Lenovo selected a GNU/Linux distro with strong business credentials in that area. This is quite a good deal for Novell, I would think.
On the other hand, Ubuntu has not yet made that jump into corporate acceptability to the same degree as Novell, which is present in that market for a very long time already. Of course, Canonical - the company behind Ubuntu - also doesn't have the same sales force behind it. Dell freely admits that its Ubuntu desktop computers are aimed at the enthusiasts. Canonical has its work cut out for itself then, if it wants to be able to take advantage of pure business/enterprise opportunities as well. I know they are trying to, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.
In the meantime, more desktop GNU/Linux offerings like this are definitely a good thing...
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Comment by firstname.lastname@example.org, on 15-Jan-2008 07:37
While there's only a 20 dollar difference, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 includes a lot of applications including Open Office. Since that's almost a requirment for any business, add the cost of Microsoft Office onto a Vista machine.
What I would like to see is a laptop that has both Vista and Linux preinstalled on it which is what I've manually setup on my laptop.
Comment by Maximus, on 15-Jan-2008 10:59
I can´t really see how this will do any good for Linux. While we now have two Linux distros being offered pre-installed on machines produced by major manufacturers, one is free and the other is not. I think this will only confuse people who are probably already not sure what Linux is about.
Also, the cost savings that Novell advertise don´t seem to add up if there is only a $20 saving to be made by purchasing a laptop with SUSE pre installed. I think that $20 is simply not compelling enough for people to switch from Microsoft to an OS that they are unfamiliar with.
There is clearly more to it than just the cost of a desktop, however, on the face of it, I suspect, this offering may not give Corporates a particularly good reason to consider a switch from Microsoft.
Comment by barf, on 15-Jan-2008 11:38
I think you misunderstand Linux completely, it is not an underdog OS and runs on over 50% of the world's servers, and the proportion of datacenters and hosting facilities using Linux is even higher. Linux still has a long hard road to make it into the desktop. But it's good news either way and keep the articles coming! :-)