Lenovo has said that it will start selling laptop computers preloaded with Linux software from Novell instead of Microsoft Windows operating system.

The companies will offer SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 from Novell to commercial customers on Lenovo notebooks including those in the popular ThinkPad T Series, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007. The ThinkPad notebooks with the Linux-preload will also be available for purchase by individual customers.

For the first time, Lenovo will provide direct support for both the hardware and operating system. Novell will provide maintenance updates for the operating system directly to ThinkPad notebook customers.

The move comes after companies like Dell have started offering machines with other operating systems other than Microsoft Windows installed on them. In May this year, Dell began selling three models to US consumers that come preloaded with another version of Linux, from a non-profit group known as Ubuntu.