Device maker Lenovo today issued a statement confirming that its Yoga 900 and 900S convertible laptops cannot boot Linux — only Windows 10.
The statement follows a popular discussion on Reddit’s Linux subreddit page documenting that those devices, among others, could not run Linux. That discussion began after the issue cropped up on Lenovo’s discussion board.
Here’s what Lenovo has to say in full:
As the world’s number 1 PC company, we continue to focus on bringing value to the PC user, and creating unique and innovative form factors such as Yoga. Our consumer Windows PCs are specifically designed for and extensively tested on Windows 10. Yoga 900 / 900S with their 360 degree hinges are specifically designed to maximise the touch functionality of Windows 10. Our Yoga design requires very specific, complex and unique drivers that require even greater amounts of testing, to ensure class-leading performance with Windows 10. To support our Yoga products and our industry-leading 360-hinge design in the best way possible we have used a storage controller mode that is unfortunately not supported by Linux and as a result, does not allow Linux to be installed. Beyond the controller setup limitation, other advanced capabilities of the Yoga design would likely not work with current Linux offerings.
Lenovo does not intentionally block customers using other operating systems such as Linux on Yoga or any of its devices and is fully committed to providing Linux certifications and installation guidance on a wide range of suitable products. These products are listed on our support page:
The issue is fascinating, considering how much Microsoft has done to communicate that it loves Linux, even though Linux has historically represented an alternative to Windows on the desktop and on servers. (Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer once called Linux a “cancer” but recently said that Linux’s threat was “in the rearview mirror,” according to Reuters.) Most recently, Microsoft brought its PowerShell tool to Linux. But in this case, Microsoft is not the one making the statement; instead, it’s the company whose Windows devices are at the center of the matter.
“Lenovo recently adopted RAID on SSDs in certain product configurations, which require additional steps to support all system features,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. “More information can be found on their support page. Recent claims about software installation issues related to Microsoft Signature are inaccurate.”
Lenovo recently unveiled the Yoga 910 convertible laptop. Today’s statement does not specify whether it will be able to run Linux. Lenovo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update on September 22: Added Microsoft’s response.
Update on November 9: Lenovo has released Linux-only BIOS for its Yoga 900, 900S, and IdeaPad 710S laptops, but they are not officially supported.