ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Fedora preloaded available for purchase
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- Many Linux Developers Are Ecstatic Over Fedora On Lenovo Systems - Phoronix
- Word count
- 364 words
Yes! About damn time. Hope they do the T series next.
This is pretty cool. I'm all for more laptops coming with Linux preinstalled. Right now, if you want a laptop with Linux preinstalled, your options are extremely limited. Basically a Dell XPS or one of the many well known companies like System 76 that just rebadge off brand OEM designs.
In fairness to System 76, my understanding is that they are in the process of developing in-house hardware.
You're right. I don't mean it as a slight. I've heard they're stuff is actually pretty good.
There's also Purism.
This may be relevant here: https://anarc.at/blog/2020-07-13-not-recommending-purism/
I was already aware of (some) of the issues with Purism, but hey this read is enlightening, even more so because it's written by a Debian/Tor contributor.
Lenovo's systems are all Linux certified anyway, I've never had a device I haven't wanted to repartition/reinstall straight out of the box, so I'm not quite sure who this is for. Are there people who aren't using linux because their expensive high-end laptop isn't showing up with it already running?
I'd definitely like to be able to deselect Windows as an OS option and save £70 but preinstalled linux just seems like a bit of a waste of everyone's time to me.
I imagine there are many companies that would be uncomfortable with their staff repartitioning and installing Linux on a company laptop, but would be more amenable to a machine that came flashed with a Linux distro from the factory.
This is also a gesture of support towards the Linux community. Devices that can be purchased with Linux are almost certainly going to enjoy first-class Linux support and updates for the entire product lifetime.
Are there corporate IT departments who unbox hardware and just hand it over to their staff? I've never worked anywhere that doesn't put their own images - of whatever OS - on their devices. I certainly wouldn't trust most users on an un-locked-down, un-configured OS.
Lenovo are already fairly heavily involved in the linux community. All their devices are (or are going to be) certified by multiple vendors. Just dropping an OS image on before shipping doesn't really add much. Vendor certification is far more useful to corporate customers than a Fedora image with a Lenovo-branded desktop wallpaper.
I too don't use the preinstalled OS right away, but rather wipe and reinstall it.
The cool thing here is Lenovo's commitment to collaborate directly with the Fedora community and to push hardware vendors to support Linux. From what I've heard, their plan is to upstream as much of their work as possible.
I haven't looked into what this project specifically involves, but Lenovo are already working with bigger distros than Fedora - SuSE, RHEL and Ubuntu - to certify their devices, and have been for years. I can't speak for other distros but the support in Debian (my choice of daily OS) for Thinkpads has been excellent for a very long time. It's one reason I keep buying them.
This post not sponsored by Lenovo but as I am currently in the process of buying a new Thinkpad, I would be happy for it to be if anyone at Lenovo is reading...
Certification for an OS does not guarantee that you can download a vanilla image for that OS and expect it to work out of the box. In fact, that's often not the case, and you will have to stick to images modified by the vendor to include the missing (proprietary?) bits.
The partnership between Fedora and Lenovo is different in that Lenovo guarantees that stock OS images downloaded from getfedora.org will work as intended, since they're upstreaming their work. Not to mention that customer support will even assist customers who have wiped/reinstalled Fedora on their own.
Certification means you can download a specified image and it will work. Which, if you look at this table you can see is generally the stock distro image. There would be little point in certifying a one-off special build, in most situations that's no use to anyone involved. Give them some credit, Lenovo have taken linux fairly seriously for quite a while now.
So... just like that list I linked of stock OS images that a third-party certification service have guaranteed will work with a bunch of Lenovo devices? Or is it like the partnerships Lenovo have had with Red Hat, SuSE and Ubuntu for years already?
I read the linked article, all of Schaller's blog post and a couple of different news items on Phoronix relating to this and I didn't see anything which says this is happening. Supporting linux installations is very different from just shipping them. But apologies if I missed that. I've had a long day and I'm very tired.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of what Lenovo is doing to push desktop linux forward. It's just that all the stuff the Red Hat dude talks about is far more useful and interesting than them just shipping a machine with Fedora already on it.
If you click on the links in that table, you will find out that the majority of those certifications are Pre-Installed only, which means stock Ubuntu images may not work at all. Canonical does not distribute OEM images, so you have to be lucky enough to be in a region where the system you want is sold by the OEM with Ubuntu preinstalled.
Here's a relevant quote:
So if you buy a relatively recent Pre-Installed only-certified system which doesn't come with Ubuntu preinstalled (because it's not an option in your region) with the intent to install it by yourself, you will almost surely encounter hardware compatibility issues. In the worst case, you will have to wait 12 months before receiving the same fixes shipped with OEM images form day one.
The partnership between Fedora and Lenovo is different because certification is not tied to OEM images: you can buy your certified system wherever you want and—if not preinstalled already—install Fedora knowing that it'll work without issues, because all the necessary patches are already upstreamed.
I acknowledge this is something I thought to be true but actually hasn't been confirmed by Lenovo. However this comment and this answer by Mark Pearson (Lenovo's Senior Linux Software Engineer) makes me feel optimistic about customer support with regards to user installations—even of other distros.
For those skeptical about the point in selling a laptop with Fedora preinstalled when users will probably just wipe & install it on their own, please consider this other comment from Mark, which says:
I had a Lenovo yoga 2 pro and it had quite a few issues with Ubuntu. The display not working and the WiFi had issues too IIRC.
It was also a 1300€ laptop unable to display the color yellow...
Hello! It's me! The person this is for! I'm a software engineer and I made it all through college and my first year in the industry without ever using Linux because my school didn't make me use it and installing it on a laptop (even as a dual boot) was more work than I was willing to put into it. I only ever started using it because a coworker gifted me a laptop with Fedora already installed on it. Every time I've tried to install it on a laptop its been full of issues with it not working with my mouse/keyboard, or issues with wifi, or with ethernet, etc. It usually just gets to a point where I get tired of dealing with it and go grab my work laptop (a mac) and start using that instead. If I wanted to buy a new personal laptop, going all the way to cart with one of the thinkpad's would run me $1,392.60, while a similar pro would run me $2,399.00 . I'll take the thinkpad every time if it means I don't have to fuck around with it until things work.
All the Lenovos I've installed Linux on it's just been a case of "put usb drive in, run installer, job done", but maybe I've just been lucky. Dual boot can be a little fiddly but in my experience the fiddliness is always on the Windows side of things.
I refer you to my earlier point about all current-gen Lenovo devices being linux certified but if you can't spare the time to spend half an hour installing your own OS then that's understandable - glad to hear there's at least one person to benefit from this! :)
Shame it's Fedora though, but you can't have everything...
Sorry I should have added a clarifying point: The laptops I have right now mostly aren't Lenovo. They are "old" (3-5 years, not old in my books but some people I know tell me they are ancient), lightly used windows laptops I have laying around and don't use because windows makes me want to scream.
Funnily enough, Fedora and Centos are the distros I'm most comfortable with because they're what different companies I've worked for have used for their servers :)
Out of curiosity: which distro would you have preferred over Fedora and why?
Debian. Never seen a Lenovo machine Debian doesn't just work on, although I have heard there are a few issues with current-gen intel hardware where you might need non-free wifi firmware (which is easy enough to fix by downloading the non-free installer iso rather than the default one)
There's nothing wrong with Fedora per se, it's just if you cut me I bleed apt. So I tend to prefer Debian, or at the very least Debian-based distros.
I prefer apt over dnf too, but I can't live with outdated software. I find Fedora to be the best balance between having bleeding edge software and stability.
I track testing on my personal machines which is almost always up to date enough for my needs (and if it isn't there's pinning or AppImage/etc until things trickle through) and I like my servers to be properly stable so they track stable. Testing never seems particularly far behind.
The thing is that I understand Debian in the kind of way you understand an OS you've been using 20ish years. That's just not the case for Red Hat derivatives (or SuSEs or Arches or Slackwares or all the others). Again, nothing wrong with most of them per se (except the Gentoos, obviously they're bonkers), they're just not what I'm used to.
I assume that means there's a fingerprint reader driver for Linux too? My older Gen 5 X1 is supposed to support Linux, but no one bothered with that missing driver last I looked. That doesn't keep me from loving the laptop, but it is off-putting for "Linux support" in my mind.
Huzza! Thanks. Last I looked was around 12 months ago.
edit: This comment from your linked reddit thread is really great too, and does negate the reason for having the driver at all. Maybe that's why it took so long?
I totally agree and this applies to all biometrics. A whole segment of industry based on a flawed concept?