Monthly Archives: august 2006

Lenovo preloads SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 on ThinkPad

“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 huge huge benefit Linux will get from Lenovo preloading it is that people who buy it can know nothing about installing an OS, just turn it on and use it, all ready to go, like they can with Windows, until they get their first piece of spyware, then it’s out the window and off to the shop to buy a new one, which is very ironic as these Windows machine are perfectly good machine, but the OS is compromised like a swiss chease.
All modern Linux distributions are so easy to install these days that everyone who can install Windows can install Linux, but what about the people who can’t install Windows, because they don’t have the knowledge, or maybe don’t wish to have that knowledge, to install it, then they can’t install Linux either, by buying it preloaded and all ready to go, this major roadblock suddenly disappears. I’m confident that Lenovo won’t try to sell this to consumers, but like you can buy SLED 10 from novell.com even if you’re a normal Joe user, you probably will be able to buy one of these ThinkPads, it doesn’t make any sense not making this possible, as more ThinkPad sales means more income for Lenovo.

If anyone from Lenovo is reading this, I’d like to thank you for supporting Linux, and especially thank you for now preloading it! 😀
I think a lot of my fellow Linux users are thanking you as well, you’re certainly on the top of my list for when I need to get a laptop! 😉

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Novell Goes on the Atkins Diet

“It was reported this week that Novell has banned all proprietary software from their Linux offerings.Kevin Carmony discusses this issue.”

Novell only banned proprietary kernel drivers, such as ATi and NVIDIA’s graphics drivers, because the GPL doesn’t allow proprietary code to be linked to GPLed code, not proprietary software in general.

Also, in the case of the proprietary graphics drivers, they have a new third party driver process that makes it easy for the user to install those if he wishes to do so.

Personally, I think there are two big advantages of this.
1. Novell won’t get in trouble with kernel hackers accusing them of violating their copyrights.
2. This new way of packaging drivers that Novell has created, is a lot more efficient, and also a lot more user friendly, as it provides the user an easy way to install third party drivers that may be released after Novell releases a version of SUSE Linux. They used to have a kernel-*-nongpl package that contained a bunch of DSL and modem drivers, but if an updated version was needed for a newer hardware revision, the user was forced to install it the old manual way, which is not every easy if you are not familiar with Linux and the commandline in general, same was the case with the NVIDIA driver, if you wanted to use the latest version, you had to use NVIDIA’s commandline installation procedure, which is not that hard, but wasn’t very intuitive from a Windows user’s point of view. Today, if you wanna install either ATi’s or NVDIA’s graphics driver on SUSE Linux 10.1 or newer, you just add the corresponding repository to the package manager you’re using (http://www2.ati.com or http://download.nvidia.com/novell) install a few packages and you’re done! 🙂

Appearantly, Mr. Carmony, fails to realize this, Novell has NOT banned proprietary software in general, only proprietary kernel drivers, as distribution of those along with the distribution would be a GPL violation, which he may want to consider for his own Linspire and Freespire distributions, as non-Free kernel modules, increasingly, are something a lot of kernel hackers feels are violating their copyright.
Novell does distribute proprietary software with their latest enterprise desktop product, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, such as Flash, RealPlayer (Needed to provide the user with legal MP3 playback), Acrobat Reader, Sun Java, and a few other things.

I know a lot of people will whine about this, but why is it so bad to download third party drivers for Linux, when it’s perfectly fine for Windows?
Also, I’d argue that once you know how to install ATi’s or NVIDIA’s driver on SUSE Linux, you’ll find it substatially easier than on Windows, as it will automatically get updated as new versions are released through the standard update process.

One last thing I wanna mention, this is old news, Novell dropped distribution of proprietary drivers when they began the development of SUSE Linux 10.1, the reason it’s “news” is because that change in policy has on now affected their enterprise products, as SUSE Linux 10.1 is the base of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server/Desktop 10.

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