Two Lenovo ThinkPads To Support Novell SLED 10


The ThinkPad T60p Linux Mobile Workstations will ship without a Microsoft operating system in both its 14-inch and 15-inch configurations, Lenovo executives said. Copies of and licenses for SLED 10 can be acquired from Novell separately, and then installed after both have been purchased, said Raj Aggarwal, worldwide product manager for the ThinkPad T series at Lenovo, Raleigh, N.C.

"Really, what we're trying to do here is release a Linux-enabled solution on a ThinkPad T60pa mobile workstation that we feel fits current demand and market requirements out there today," Aggarwal said.

Lenovo will offer the units at list prices of $3,099 for the 14-inch model and $3,199 for the 15-inch model via its Web site and the channel. The models are targeted at the CAD and engineering segments. The ThinkPad T60p with SLED 10 will support warm and cold docking while running the operating system, and support as much as 4 Gbytes of memory.

"Let me be clear: We are not preloading," Aggarwal said. "What we're giving the customer is more choice in the ability to go to Novell and get the license and the operating system. We're providing the drivers and the utilities."

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Reports in some trade publications, without naming sources, incorrectly stated that Lenovo would offer SLED 10 preloaded on ThinkPads.

"From a customer perspective, it's a good opportunity and it's a good option for customers who are looking to be a little on the bleeding edge, and are looking for a non-Microsoft OS," said Robert Venero, CEO of Future Tech Enterprise, a Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider and Lenovo partner.

"From a VAR perspective, it's actually a better option in that there's additional opportunity for a revenue stream in configuring those machines," Venero said. Venero said he has not yet seen a groundswell toward Linux on the desktop, although, he noted, "We're past what I would consider the testing phase."

Rather, Venero said, "We're seeing a lot of organizations adopting [Linux] within pockets of their companies. Where the challenge really comes in is the applications to be supported under it. That's what's going to take the largest amount of time."

No tier-one PC vendor currently preloads any distribution of Linux on a desktop or notebook personal computer. Some, including Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, Calif., have certified the operating system as being compatible with a few of their systems.

Aggarwal made special note, though, that for the first time, Lenovo is providing help-desk support for the SLED 10 workstations. That will include support for ThinkVantage Technologies, drivers and some Linux configuration and hardware issues.

Novell, Waltham, Mass., will support "core operating system questions and issues," the company said in a statement prepared for release ahead of the announcement, and provided to CRN.

SLED 10 was released in June and is priced by Novell at $50 per year, per license. With the OS, the company also bundles some applications, including the OpenOffice productivity suite; executives say the SLED 10 bundles provide 90 percent of the functionality of Microsoft software at 10 percent of the cost.