Lenovo which bought IBM’s personal computer business, announced today that they would be offering Novell’s SUSE Linux distribution on selected models including the T Series (directed at business users) of the famous ThinkPad laptop product line starting in 4Q2007. Does this finally herald the arrival of the Linux PC for everyday users?
It seems like the never-ending Linux desktop quest is finally getting a bit closer as SVN reports that Lenovo will preload Suse on the Thinkpad T60 (a nice machine. Technically I think HP was the first OEM to ship a Linux laptop a year or so ago but it was a clunker, both in terms of form factor and usability. Thinkpads have great keyboards and are virtually indestructible.
From the embedded link to Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols:
Finally. For years, the holy grail of the Linux desktop has been to get a major computer vendor to commit to preloading a Linux desktop. It finally happened.
On August 4th, we found out that Lenovo Group, the company that has taken over IBM’s Personal Computing Division, had made a deal with Novell Inc. to preload SLED 10 (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) on its ThinkPad T60p mobile workstation.
For the first time, a major OEM (original equipment manufacturer) has committed to preloading a Linux desktop.
The T60p isn’t just any laptop. It boasts a high-end, 2GHz Intel Core Duo processor T2500, with a minimum of 512MB of RAM, which can be pushed up to 2GB of memory. For graphics, it uses an ATI FireGL V5200 with 256MB of RAM.
The system is also expected to come with what Lenovo is calling a “ThinkPad Experience” under Linux, which includes: Access Connections, Configuration Utility, Power Manager, warm and cold docking support for USB and video, and Help Center support.
The Linux option hasn’t made the Lenovo ThinkPad T-Series page yet, but presumably it is coming. It’ll be interesting to see if it is any cheaper than the Windows versions of the T60p which seem a bit pricey.
Update 8/15: InfoWorld:
The suggested retail price for the 14-inch model is $3,099 and $3,199 for the 15-inch.
Both products are now available for purchase on the Lenovo Web site and through retailers.
I still can’t find it yet on the Lenovo Web site, but these seem rather expensive especially since a regular T60p starts at $1,919.
Over at his PC Magazine blog, Michael J. Miller has a preliminary review of the Toshiba Portege M400 convertible tablet PC. Frankly, it doesn’t seem all that different from other convertible tablets except for the compact 12 inch screen size which is the main point:
I’m a big fan of both small notebooks and tablet computers. I like my laptops light, because I’m a train commuter, and carry my laptop a lot. And I like tablet computers mostly because I like reading on them (with the screen in a vertical position), and for occasionally annotating notes and documents with the pen.
Ultimately, Miller remarks that he prefers the Lenovo Thinkpad X41 12 inch convertible tablet which is even lighter at 3.7 pounds than the M400 at 4.5 pounds. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Eric Mack who teases his readers with news of an “ultra-wide screen” tablet PC that he is expecting shortly from an unnamed manufacturer:
I just got off the phone with an excited representative from a well known computer manufacturer who called to let me know that, because of my blog, I’ve been selected to evaluate one of their new ultra-wide screen Tablet PCs. She promised me that it was perfect for Tablet PC mind-mapping and that I would be very happy with the display resolution and size.
Since Mack also says he’d “be happy with a 2.5″ thick Tablet the size of a Tecra M4 with a fold-out screen twice the size of an M4″ which is 14.1 inches, it’s clear he’s not worried about portability.
I can see the merits of both points of view, but the real problem is that the amount of time I really want a tablet PC of either size is vanishingly small. Battery life inhibits true portability and I am not comfortable enough with tablet technology to have some monster version parked permanently on my desk taking up space. I’m hopeful though, that one of these days there will be a tablet that convinces me.