What Lenovo’s recent announcement means for Linux and the open source community

    Lenovo is now tossing some critical assist behind Linux. Read Jack Wallen’s tackle this announcement.

    2020 has performed every little thing it may possibly to rob of us pleasure and progress. It appears there’s some new bit of reports that deflates all hope and sucks the wind out of our sails. But then, we get the slightest glimmer of fine information and, irrespective of how insignificant it could appear within the grand scheme of issues, we maintain onto prefer it prefer it was a pot of gold on the finish of each rainbow within the sky.Such is the case when Lenovo made the announcement that they have been broadening their assist for desktop Linux. You learn that proper, Lenovo is about to assist Linux on the desktop, in an enormous method.SEE: Implementing DevOps: A information for IT execs (free PDF) (TechRepublic)To be clear, this comes on the heels of various new Linux desktop assist information. This 12 months we have seen the rise of Purism, Tuxedo Computers, Pine64, Juno Computers, Vikings, Dell’s continued assist with the XPS Dev version laptop computer and the Precision line, and now Lenovo.

    But Lenovo is taking this one step additional by providing full certification and assist throughout their whole line of workstations. Again, you learn that proper. The whole line of Lenovo’s workstations shall be licensed to run Linux (minus the IdeaPad). On prime of that, they’re going to be promoting each ThinkStation PCs and ThinkPad P Series laptops with both Ubuntu or Red Hat Enterprise Linux preinstalled. To sweeten the deal additional, this is not only one mannequin in every line, it is each single mannequin.

    Lenovo can be together with full internet assist in addition to devoted Linux boards, configuration assist, and extra.This is a tectonic shift within the panorama. This is an enormous firm exhibiting critical assist for each Ubuntu Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Rob Herman, the final supervisor of the Executive Directory Workstation & Client AI Group at Lenovo, put it merely when he mentioned, “More than 250 million computers are sold each year and NetMarketShare reports that 2.87%—roughly 7.2 million users—are using those computers to run Linux.”Numbers do not lie and Lenovo is sensible in trying on the quantity as a substitute of the proportion. 7.2 million customers is not a blip, it is a reality.Has larger information for Linux come via the pipe in latest historical past? Not that I can keep in mind. And this comes on the heels of Linux already seeing an increase in desktop market share.But I’ve to admit, I’m a bit torn on this.Before you react, let me clarify.A little bit of prefaceIn the grand scheme of issues, the Lenovo information is an unbelievable windfall for Linux and open supply. It places an finish to the times of being the underdog. Linux is now accepted by the most important PC OEMs on the planet. That can not be disputed–it’s reality.But, what then occurs to all of the smaller distributors? System76, Zareason, Purism, Tuxedo Computers, Vikings–all of those companies which have been tirelessly supporting open supply and promoting excellent {hardware} pre-installed with Linux. Thing is, with the likes of Lenovo providing Linux-based {hardware}, these smaller corporations won’t be capable to compete.Or can they?Pricewise, the Dell XPS, and the Lenovo ThinkPad P laptops are much like these offered by System76 and Tuxedo Computers. We’re not going to see these smaller distributors shedding out to Lenovo–at least on the buyer stage. But, when you think about that companies are likely to get giant quantity reductions from huge OEMs, that worth level match would possibly begin to change. Can the smaller corporations match these discounted costs? A fast scan via a number of web sites appears to point they don’t. Note: I’ve reached out to System76 on this difficulty and can replace accordingly.What’s necessary to know is that assist from the open supply and Linux communities for these smaller retailers should proceed. Companies like System76 are an enormous cause why desktop Linux continued climbing up that steep mountain referred to as “Acceptance.” Had System76 failed, there isn’t any telling the place desktop Linux can be in the mean time. If I needed to guess, with out the assist of System76, Linux on the desktop can be precisely the place it was within the early 2000s.It’s necessary to recollect who has had the backs of the Linux and open supply communities all this time.And but, it is nonetheless nice informationWith that preface out of the best way, I can return to the, “Oh, wow, this is great news” half.It is nice information.But it would not simply finish with {hardware}. Case in level, Lenovo shall be upstreaming their gadget drivers to the Linux kernel. That means every little thing will work on their {hardware} out of the field. No tweaking and compiling to get issues like fingerprint readers, sound, and Wi-Fi to work.  I’ve been utilizing Linux since 1997 and I can inform you that no announcement has held such weight as this. Lenovo’s announcement would possibly nicely be the tipping level Linux has wanted. With enterprises relying on Linux for his or her backends, pipelines, and DevOps supply techniques, seeing an organization like Lenovo supporting the open supply working system on the desktop could be simply what they should lastly settle for that Linux is not only a viable possibility for an end-user working system, however the smarter possibility.The caveatAll of this nice information comes with a caveat, one which I’ve had so as to add to so many articles over time. Lenovo’s assist of Linux begins and ends with success. Once Lenovo begins promoting laptops and desktops preinstalled with Linux, it is as much as customers and companies to really buy them.That’s been a sticking level with Linux customers. Why spend a grand on a brand new laptop computer or desktop, when you possibly can slap a light-weight Linux distribution on the previous machine and eke out a number of extra years of use? That’s the accountable factor to do. It’s additionally one thing many Linux customers have performed and can proceed to do. But if Lenovo’s program fails, it is going to finish. Because of this, Linux customers have to dig into their pockets and purchase.  At the identical time, in the event that they cease supporting the little guys, these companies which have helped prop up Linux on the desktop for years would possibly fall.It’s a high quality line to stroll, however one which needs to be travelled with care. Maybe you purchase a laptop computer from Lenovo and a desktop from System76. After all, it is my opinion that Lenovo (or any firm) is not going to greatest the System76 Thelio on the desktop.No matter which path you are taking, you now (as a Linux person) have extra choices than you beforehand did. And even with 2020 doing it is best to kick us whereas we’re down, that small bit of fine information appears all of the extra higher.Especially for these of us who’ve watched the gradual, regular rise of Linux on the desktop.

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