No, Microsoft Isn’t Locking Linux Out of PCs

Posted on September 21, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 0

No, Microsoft Isn't Locking Linux Out of PCs

This week, spurious reports emerged about Microsoft—or Lenovo, or Windows 10—blocking the install of Linux on Signature PCs sold through the Microsoft Store. Sorry, conspiracy buffs. It’s not true.

I was alerted to the, um, news this morning via Twitter. Beware: Windows 10 Signature Edition Blocks Installing Linux one particularly ill-informed post exclaims. Was it true? I was asked. Is this even legal?

Well. I could tell right away it wasn’t true. There’s no such thing as Windows 10 Signature Edition. And even if there was, there is no way for Windows or any other OS to block the install of other OSes on a PC.

But as it turns out, this sad little blog post was just the tip of the iceberg. It was based on a Reddit post, naturally, and reported elsewhere, and less sensationally, by ZDNet.

So is there something to this? Was Microsoft’s Signature PC team—the smallest freaking province in Terry Myerson’s Windows empire—actuallyrequiring Lenovo to “block” Linux? Was Microsoft?


No. Come on, people.

We see conspiracy everywhere, it’s one of the things that makes us human. But as is so often the case, this conspiracy is just so much hot air. And you don’t have to know the details of any of this to know that the world’s biggest PC maker doesn’t give a crap what Microsoft wants, and would never throttle one of their own machines just for the privilege of selling it in a store no one event visits.

More to the point, the belief that Microsoft would do anything to harm Linux at this point is more than a bit out-of-date. Are we seriously not paying attention to Microsoft’s recent behavior?

But let’s think about this from a different direction. Let’s pretend it ishappening. That Microsoft did require Lenovo to block Linux. Who would this hurt? Are Linux guys actually buying PCs … at all? Let alone from Microsoft, at one of their stores? It seems …. unlikely.

But, our opinions don’t really matter. Because in this case, common sense has in fact worked out to be the reality.

“Lenovo does not block customers using other operating systems on its devices but relies on the alternative operating system vendors to release appropriate drivers,” a Lenovo spokesperson told Tech Republic, noting that the issue is that some of its SSD-based PCs use RAID, and that is screwing up Linux. Not some conspiracy. “To improve performance, the industry is moving to RAID on the SSDs and Lenovo is leading with this change.”

End of story. Nothing to see here. Move along.