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ThinkPad--now with Suse Linux

Novell and Lenovo are teaming up on a new ThinkPad laptop with Novell's Suse Linux operating system preinstalled.

Engineers and designers in need of a mobile workstation now have the option for a preloaded version of Novell's Suse Linux on a ThinkPad laptop computer.

Lenovo and Novell plan to announce at the LinuxWorld conference Tuesday that the ThinkPad T60p will ship with Novell's new Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED). The Linux laptops will be geared toward engineers and other high-end users, but they will be available for purchase by anyone on Lenovo's Web site, said Bill Iori, worldwide segment manager for ThinkPad T Series.

In addition, Lenovo will provide Linux support for the laptop, including drivers and its ThinkVantage technologies found on ThinkPads loaded with Microsoft's Windows operating system, he said.

As the industry gathers for another Linuxworld this week in San Francisco, desktop Linux watchers have a reason to feel hopeful that this might be the year. Desktop Linux has yet to make much of an impact on the overall business PC market, although it has its corporate-based proponents for tasks like engineering, call centers or kiosks, said Justin Steinman, director of product marketing for Novell.

One reason Novell and Lenovo are more excited about the new T60p is that the Linux kernel now offers better support for notebook-friendly technologies such as sleep mode, Iori said. Novell and Lenovo did their own work on top of the kernel to ensure SLED would work well in a mobile environment and take advantage of ThinkVantage technologies such as RapidRestore for backup and recovery and Access Connections for discovering wireless networks, he said.

Customers who purchase the T60p with SLED will be able to call Lenovo for support, unlike in the past with other Linux deployments where users were basically on their own, Iori said. Two systems will be available in 14-inch and 15-inch display configurations, with many high-end components. Prices start at $3,099 for the 14-inch model.