Users of Lenovo's Yoga PCs are finding that they are unable to install Linux on their own devices. That's what a thread on Reddit says, at least, and quite a few people in Lenovo's support forums. The issue only seems to affect Signature PCs, but what's troubling is that, according to a "Lenovo Product Expert", it's part of a deal between Lenovo and Microsoft.
Never mind the idea that Best Buy doesn't really sell Signature PCs, and the device isn't listed as one; known affected PCs are the Yoga 900 ISK2, Yoga 900S, and Yoga 710S, but if Lenovo's statement is accurate about an agreement with Microsoft, this could be a more widespread problem. Of course, support forums are never really a great place to find out information like this.
These are user reports, so there is always more to the story. In one of the support threads, a Lenovo staff member responded, saying the following:
This issue has been escalated to the Development team. I am unable to offer a timeframe for fix at this stage in the investigation. With previous cases, BIOS fixes have been delivered anywhere from several weeks to several months.
I will post again when I have more information on the investigation.
At one point, one of the forum threads was taken down, and then added back without the ability to post more comments. An administrator said that members were violating the following community guidelines:
It is acceptable to state concern for how a particular Lenovo policy, performance, or procedure does or does not meet the expectation of a particular member, but it is not acceptable to use this forum in an attempt to broadly organize or incite members en mass, to cancel orders, return systems, undertake legal action or otherwise disrupt the normal business processes of Lenovo.
Lenovo is no stranger to PC blunders. Last year, we learned about the company's pre-installation of Superfish, and how dangerous that was for PCs. And then this year, it turned out that Lenovo Solution Centre was putting PCs at risk as well.
Of course, the answer to all of these problems was always to buy a Signature PC, which is a clean version of Windows without any - or minimal - third-party software. If there is indeed some sort of deal between Lenovo and Microsoft for Signature PCs to lock them down, it's a big problem for not only Lenovo, but Microsoft as well.
Of course, we reached out to Lenovo for more information, and the company issued the following statement to Neowin:
To improve system performance, Lenovo is leading an industry trend of adopting RAID on the SSDs in certain product configurations. 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 - https://support.lenovo.com/us/
en/documents/pd031426. Unsupported models will rely on Linux operating system vendors releasing new kernel and drivers to support features such as RAID on SSD.
Let me emphasize:
Yoga 900 is designed for Windows 10 and is not on Lenovo’s Linux supported list. As mentioned, Lenovo has an extensive list of Linux supported and/or certified products.
The statement is a bit ambiguous. It clearly says that the Yoga 900 is not officially supported by Lenovo to run Linux, and the company also said that it doesn't actively block users from installing third-party operating systems. It seems to say that if you want to install Linux on your Yoga 900, it's your job to figure out how to do it, which isn't really anything new.
Update: Microsoft has issued a statement to Neowin, confirming that it does not block Linux installations on Signature PCs.