In January 2008, Lenovo finally began offering ThinkPads with Linux preinstalled. Now, if you want to purchases any of those systems from Lenovo's Web site, you have no choice but to pay the "Microsoft Tax" and get it with Vista installed. This can be seen as quite a blow to the loyal ThinkPad Linux community, where ThinkPads are the laptops of choice for Linux users.
Ray Gorman, Lenovo's executive director of communications, is reported to have stated that "Lenovo is not abandoning its commitment to choice of operating system, and actually is increasing the role of the Linux operating system in Lenovo's product portfolio." He apparently continued, "In 2008, Lenovo offered preloaded Novell SLED 10 Linux on some of its ThinkPad notebooks, targeting business users. We are now seeing greater demand for Linux from consumers and those in education, and are bringing Linux preloaded on soon-to-be announced Lenovo netbooks targeted to education."
Still, normal ThinkPad Linux consumers are being left in the cold for the foreseeable future at least.