Lenovo’s come under scrutiny for firmware issues on its notebooks once again, but this time, the vendor isn’t at fault. A Reddit thread in the Linux sub-reddit claimed that Microsoft and Lenovo are preventing a few models in the Yoga series, the Yoga 900 and Yoga 900S, from installing Linux. Both manufacturers have clarified the situation, stating that the issue at hand has to do with lack of drivers for the RAID configuration on Linux.
In an official statement, Lenovo has mentioned that the Yoga models require a storage controller mode that is not compatible with Linux:
Lenovo, as always, is focused on bringing value to the PC user, and creating unique and innovative form factors such as Yoga. Our consumer Windows PCs are specifically designed for and extensively tested on Windows 10. Yoga 900 / 900S with their 360 degree hinges are specifically designed to maximize the touch functionality of Windows 10. Our Yoga design requires very specific, complex and unique drivers that require even greater amounts of testing, to ensure class-leading performance with Windows 10. To support our Yoga products and our industry-leading 360-hinge design in the best way possible we have used a storage controller mode that is unfortunately not supported by Linux and as a result, does not allow Linux to be installed. Beyond the controller setup limitation, other advanced capabilities of the Yoga design would likely not work with current Linux offerings.
Lenovo does not intentionally block customers using other operating systems such as Linux on Yoga or any of its devices and is fully committed to providing Linux certifications and installation guidance on a wide range of suitable products.
Lenovo’s support document clearly shows that most of its notebooks work just with Linux. In this instance, it looks like the RAID configuration on the Yoga notebooks is making those particular models incompatible. Microsoft has chimed in as well, saying that it doesn’t block Linux installation on notebooks it sells directly:
Lenovo recently adopted RAID on SSDs in certain product configurations, which require additional steps to support all system features. More information can be found on their support page; https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/documents/pd031426. Recent claims about software installation issues related to Microsoft Signature are inaccurate.
There you have it. Microsoft isn’t working with Lenovo to intentionally block Linux installations on its products.