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9/12/2008
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Lenovo Drops Linux ThinkPads From Web Site

The decision to drop the product was based on Lenovo choosing to use its online store to push the company's most popular computers.

Lenovo has stopped offering through its Web site ThinkPad notebooks with preinstalled Linux, saying there haven't been enough online orders to justify the offering.

Lenovo customers who want Linux ThinkPads will still be able to buy the machines through the computer maker's sales reps and distributors, which have always accounted for the bulk of such orders, Lenovo spokesman Ray Gorman told InformationWeek Friday. In addition, Lenovo is not making any changes to its support for Linux on its ThinkPads or other products.

"Our commitment to Linux has not changed," Gorman said. "What has changed is you can no longer buy preinstalled Linux on the Web."

The decision to drop the product was based on Lenovo choosing to use its online store to push the company's most popular computers.

"We want the focus on Lenovo.com to be those products that customers are most interested in," Gorman said. "The amount of individual orders for pre-installed Linux was limited on the Web site."

Gorman declined to discuss whether sales of Linux ThinkPads were increasing. The company offers Red Hat, Novell's SUSE, or Ubuntu Linux on its computers.

Lenovo does appear to be moving ahead with the open source operating system. The company next week is expected to introduce in the United States low-end servers that will run Linux or Windows. In addition, the company next month is expected to start offering IdeaPad netbooks with Linux.

Netbooks are defined as sub-$500 laptops with screen sizes of 10 inches or less. The machines are offered as a lightweight second computer for e-mail and Web browsing on the road, or as a first computer for young students.

The IdeaPad S10 has a 10-inch screen and is powered by Intel's Atom processor for mobile Internet devices. The base model comes with 512 MB of memory and an 80-GB hard drive. Pricing starts at $399.

Lenovo is not alone in offering Linux on PCs sold to consumers. Dell, for example, offers Ubuntu on desktops and notebooks.

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