Lenovo and Novell next week are set to announce joint work on Lenovo's new Think servers. However, the Linux faithful are distracted this week by reports that Lenovo has stopped selling SUSE Linux on certain PCs. Now, both Lenovo and Novell are weighing in with responses.

The controversy started when DesktopLinux.com noticed that online buyers could no longer purchase Lenovo ThinkPads with Novell's SUSE Linux preloaded.

Lenovo's spin: The PC giant says it will  increase its commitment to Linux on forthcoming NetBooks and Think servers. But the future of Linux preloads on ThinkPads seems unclear, based on Lenovo statements in this updated DesktopLinux.com article.

Novell's Perspective

In an email to The VAR Guy, Novell Chief Marketing Officer John Dragoon wrote:
"We believe we have Lenovo's commitment for select SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop preloads through the end of this year at the minimum.  We also believe that recent revamping of Lenovo web site may have broken some links to access the Linux preloads and that this situation is being remedied."
Ironically, Novell's SUSE Linux relationship with Lenovo on the desktop paved the way for Novell to work more closely with Lenovo on the company's forthcoming Think servers -- which are set to be unveiled next week at Interop.

As The VAR Guy reads between the lines, he's unclear about the future of Linux on ThinkPads but sees accelerating momentum for Linux on NetBooks. Dell just announced its Mini 9 NetBooks, equipped with Ubuntu or Windows. And Hewlett-Packard is leveraging major retail chains to promote NetBooks with Novell SUSE Linux. Lenovo appears ready to join the Linux NetBook party in the next few days or weeks.