|ThinkPad T420. Shiny and new.|
It is with incredible reserve that I discuss my new Lenovo ThinkPad T420, such is my excitement. As a natural born geek, software developer and sysadmin, there is something about a ThinkPad which is “just right”.
The lure of a ThinkPad is unquestionable. It’s the promise of your best bit of code ever. It’s the idea that it’ll be with you for years; your faithful companion. It’s the reassurance of industry-leading build quality and top-spec engineering, using high quality components. But it’s more than that too. It’s an identity, a bit like that of Apple users – but thankfully in more self-respecting way. You have a ThinkPad, you join an elite. It’s everything you want.
You want this so badly that it comes as a bit of a surprise when all is not quite what it seems.
|Branded accessories – one of those indulgences.|
Better the devil?
As Lenovo only offer such spiffing hardware bundled with a throwaway operating system, you must suffer the wasted hours and ridiculous horseplay that ensues from such choices being made for you. We are all too familiar with this scenario… so, I’ll continue!
Here is my experience, abridged:
- Unbox, connect battery, plug in power, switch on. It switches itself off. And then back on – phew!
- Windows 7 starts up and completes its install process. You are prompted to answer a few questions along the way:
- Do you wish to use Norton to protect your PC? I choose No.
- It prompts again: “Are you really, really sure you don’t want to use Norton???”. I really, really confirm that yes, I don’t want to use Norton, thanks all the same.
|Creating recovery media fails. Classic.|
Not to be
So far, any reasonable, sane person would not feel very confident using Win7 on this machine. The dream probably wouldn’t be shattered, but clearly the software configuration is dysfunctional, ignoring user preferences and showing some worrying reliability issues out of the box.
Luckily, being part of an elite means that you don’t follow the masses. The throwaway software, bundled with the machine, is designed for people who don’t, won’t or can’t think. It’s also designed for those who blythely accept it, probably “because it’s safer”. Well, luckily for Windows users it must be a lot safer now that Norton is installed, regardless of your wishes! Phew!
|Fedora 16 live CD, running on this T420.|
The alternative, as always, is to not accept what you are given. Instead, seek a better solution that you can feel confident in. For this ThinkPad T420, the better solution is GNU/Linux, Fedora 16 flavour.
Here is how easy Fedora is:
- You download a live CD, burn it to disc and restart the computer.
- The CD boots up into a “live desktop” (this doesn’t affect any data on the hard drive).
- From the live desktop, you run software (e.g. Firefox) as if it were installed on your computer. On the ThinkPad, all hardware is automatically recognised and usable immediately.
- From the live desktop, you have the option to install this software to your hard disc. How refreshing: choice.
But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself.
If, that is, you have the mind to.