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Lenovo is to pre-load ThinkPad laptops with a Linux OS, in response to calls from enterprise customers. Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 is to be available across the PC maker's ThinkPad notebook series starting in the fourth quarter of 2007.

The OpenOffice.org productivity suite, an email client and a web browser are also bundled in with Linux pre-load options.

Lenovo, which inherited the ThinkPad notebook line through the acquisition of IBM's PC and laptop manufacturing business for $1.25bn in 2005, announced the news at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo conference in San Francisco, today. A spokesperson for Lenovo said the move was based on increased enterprise customer demand for notebooks featuring open source software, especially in the education, government and enterprise sectors.

In May Dell said it would ship PCs with Ubuntu 7.04 as an option. It too cited customer demand for the move.

Acer is also dipping its toe into the water with Ubuntu Linux pre-loads - but not in the UK, due to lack of demand. "Therefore, those configurations are not an option [for UK customers] at the moment," an Acer representative told ZDNET last week. "If the demand was there, then Acer would sell it."

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