A thread on Reddit is getting a fair bit of attention today, claiming that Lenovo has set up some of its Yoga laptops to block anyone from installing Linux
-- and a Lenovo representative then pointed the finger at Microsoft, saying that it's part of what Lenovo was required to do as part of the Microsoft "Signature Edition" Windows 10 program, though there are reasons to doubt this is true. What is clearly true is that there's a problem installing Linux on a bunch of Lenovo machines. Here's a giant thread
on the problems (which apparently disappeared for a while, but is back as I write this). And here's another
. And here's another
. Some of these threads go back many months. But the issue that has suddenly made it big news is a comment supposedly from a Lenovo "product expert" that the company is forced to block it as a part of the Signature Edition program:
If you haven't heard of the Windows "Signature Edition," it's a program from Microsoft to offer a "clean" (read: no annoying bloatware) version of Windows. Think of it like a Google Nexus phone with a clean Android install, as compared to one from a carrier or handset maker stuffed with annoying bloatware you'll never use. The Signature Edition PCs have received some fairly glowing reviews
-- and many (ironically given this story today) of the news stories about the Signature Edition program use the Lenovo Superfish malware fiasco
as a reason
for why people should
look at a Signature Edition computer if they want to run Windows.
So, yeah, based on this storyline so far, you have Microsoft making a clean install of its operating system without bloatware (good idea!), but then being accused of making Lenovo design its BIOS to block the installation of Linux (bad idea!). There is at least some reasonable skepticism
that the problem here is really because of the Microsoft Signature Edition program. First of all, Signature Edition computers are supposed to only be available directly via Microsoft's stores -- and the laptop that kicked this off was purchased at Best Buy. Also it wasn't labeled as a Signature Edition PC. And it's certainly not unheard of for low level employees in forums to post incorrect information -- and there is even some question as to whether or not the "Lenovo Product Expert" in the forum post above is even a Lenovo employee or a third-party contractor anyway.
So whether Microsoft is truly to blame here is still an open question. At the very least, it does
seem like Lenovo has some questions to answer -- and one hopes that the company will be more forthright and honest than it was back during the Superfish episode when it basically lied through its teeth until it couldn't lie any more.