Lenovo and Dell sneak Linux on to new PCs

Open source software has made further inroads into Microsoft’s heartland this week as both Lenovo and Dell announced Linux-based PCs.

Lenovo will start shipping Thinkpads pre-loaded with Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLES10) in the fourth quarter of this year. The two companies announced the deal this week which includes the ThinkPad T Series, which is aimed at business users, although the products will be available through both business and retail channels.

Lenovo will provide support for the operating system directly, the first time that it’s done so, it said, with Novell offering maintenance updates for the system directly to users. Previously, Lenovo had certified Thinkpads for use with Linux, but had not made the OS available directly to its customers. It announced neither pricing nor a specific shipping date.

Dell has announced two consumer PCs in Europe — the Inspiron 6400n and the Inspiron 530n — with Ubuntu 7.04 factory installed.

Available now in the U.K., Germany and France, the systems are Dell’s first Linux-based PCs that it’ll sell outside the U.S. The company said the announcement was a direct result of feedback received via its www.ideastorm.com site. About 30,000 IdeaStorm community members persuaded Dell to offer systems with Linux pre-installed, and more than 100,000 participated in a follow-up survey to help determine customer preferences, including which Linux system to offer initially.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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