September 13th, 2007 by lucas
After Dell, Lenovo decided to ask users which Linux distribution they should put on Thinkpads. Seriously, who cares? If I buy a laptop that comes with Linux pre-installed, my first step would be to reinstall it from scratch, exactly like with a laptop with Windows pre-installed. Because the choices that were made wouldn’t match mine (think of partitioning, etc). Or simply because I wouldn’t totally trust the hardware manufacturer.
So, what would make me happier about a laptop?
- That installing any recent enough mainstream Linux distribution works without requiring tricks
- That it’s possible to buy it without an operating system, with no additional charge (and no, I don’t buy the “we need the OS installed to do some quality tests before we ship” argument. USB keys and CDROMs have been bootable for years.)
I couldn’t care less about which distribution comes preinstalled. If Lenovo wants to make me happy, there are two ways:
- Talk to free software developers: kernel developers, etc. Not distribution developers. And get the required changes merged in, so they will land in my favorite distribution after some time.
- If they prefer to play on their own, they could create an open “Linux on Lenovo laptops” task force, where they would provide the needed drivers in a way that makes it dead easy to integrate them in Linux distros and to report problems.
It’s not _that_ hard: some manufacturers got it right, at least for some of their products. There are many manufacturers contributing code directly to the Linux kernel, for network drivers for example.
But maybe this is just about marketing and communication, not about results? Because after all, Dell and Lenovo will look nice to the random user. While playing-by-the-rules manufacturers are hidden deep in the Linux changelog.