Lenovo's Signature laptops refuse to install Linux

Lenovo Image copyright Lenovo
Image caption Lenovo says Linux-based operating systems will have to be updated to run on its laptops

Lenovo has confirmed that several of its Yoga laptops are refusing to install Linux-based operating systems.

The Chinese firm said the issue had been caused by its switch to a new storage system, which reads and records data faster than normal.

There had been confusion after one of its employees posted that Linux was blocked because of an "agreement with Microsoft".

However, Lenovo has denied enforcing a deliberate ban.

The restriction affects PCs sold with the "signature edition" of Windows 10.

The term refers to a promise that "junk" software is not pre-installed alongside the OS to avoid slowing down its operation.

'Industry trend'

The affected Lenovo laptops have been on sale for months.

But their inability to support current versions of Linux attracted attention after a post on the Reddit news site.

It referred to frustrated users who had been unable to replace Windows 10 with Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is a free Linux-based OS used by schools, governments and consumers, who are attracted to it being both less demanding on a PC's processor than Windows and also less prone to malware.

Image copyright Canonical
Image caption Ubuntu's developer Canonical says its OS is used by millions of computers

Several tech blogs picked up on the report, some of which blamed Microsoft, before Lenovo issued a statement.

"To improve system performance, Lenovo is leading an industry trend of adopting Raid [redundant array of independent disks] on the SSDs [solid state drives] in certain product configurations," it said.

"Lenovo does not intentionally block customers using other operating systems on its devices and is fully committed to providing Linux certifications and installation guidance on a wide range of products."

It added that once Linux-based operating system developers had updated the necessary code, their products should work on its machines.

One expert said the firm's stance was reasonable.

Image copyright Microsoft
Image caption Microsoft says that Signature Edition-branded laptops offer about 28% longer battery life than normal ones

"I understand why the buyers feel aggrieved and surprised," said Chris Green, an analyst at the business consultancy Lewis.

"But at the same time they bought a machine with a pre-installed version of an operating system.

"Any such vendor ultimately only offers assurances that their PC works with the version of Windows it comes with.

"If the user then wants to wipe it and install an OS of their choice, it's a case of buyer beware."

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