Ubuntu – Where to Download Special Ubuntu Images Designed for Pre-installed Systems (OEM)



My Lenovo X250 is arriving in two weeks, which according to Ubuntu Certified Hardware will work well only with "a special image of Ubuntu pre-installed by the manufacturer."

This Linux systems seller points out that the X250 has "Excellent" compatibility to the Linux OSes they install. On the other hand, a quick search on Google or Ask Ubuntu shows that a standard image of Ubuntu on the X250 is rife with hardware problems.

Ubuntu Certified Hardware acknowledges this for the X250: "Standard images of Ubuntu may not work at all on the system or may not work well." This certification page for the X240s clearly shows the difference between an Ubuntu standard image installation and the one that comes pre-installed by the manufacturer. Hardware seems to work fully on the OEM version.


Any idea where we may access or download these "special images of Ubuntu"?

(Hopefully not only for the X250, but also for the other systems out there.)

Best Answer

I have mostly ignored this certification programme until now and I currently don't know who actually contributes to this team, maintains the entries and how this certification is done.

I just clicked the link let us know link which leads to Ubuntu-Certification and has a few interesting links

  • How do I install drivers on my system?

    Almost no surprises here if you have been around in Linux for some time.

    On Ubuntu, most of the drivers like touchpad, webcam, Ethernet card...etc are already included in the kernel, they should be working as expected when you have the latest Ubuntu installed. The only driver you might need to install is for the AMD / NVIDIA video card and the Broadcom wireless controller

    To install the proprietary drivers for the aforementioned video / wireless card, please:

    1. Connect to the Internet.
    2. Run a system update with the "Update Manager" from the dash to update the software list.
    3. Open "Additional Drivers" from the dash and install the proprietary driver with it

    Driver packages for Dell: …

  • What's the difference between Certified (Pre-Installed) and Certified?

    Certified (Pre-Installed only) means that a system was tested using the exact same testing tools, however the OS may have been modified to fix issues that are commonly found when putting Linux on brand new hardware. These certifications work a little differently, and ONLY apply to the custom Ubuntu ISO image that was provided to the OEM for pre-installation on computer systems that are sold around the world.

    In a nutshell, it works like this:

    The OEM sends Canonical a new system.

    Canonical then works on the system and gets it running to an accepted level with Ubuntu. This could mean custom drivers, kernel patches or other work.

    Canonical then gives the OEM a custom ISO image that is used to pre-install Ubuntu onto these new systems.

    Also, at current time, Canonical can not provide those OEM images to the public.

    The goal is to get all fixes that make these custom ISOs work into stock Ubuntu via the normal Ubuntu development cycle.

    So all improvements towards Linux hardware compatibility are intended to land sooner or later in Ubuntu (and upstream), no proprietary "Ubuntu-only" bits. Once you identified which issues were fixed, if any, you could safely install the most up to date release of Ubuntu yourself and no longer depend on the OEM or scarce "certification" information.

My advice

Compare a normal installation that you would do on this machine with another hard drive to the pre-installed one. Look at which packages are installed in which version (dpkg -l) and what files are in the filesystem (hash all files and compare them, look at configuration files and scripts in a diff viewer like meld or use the terminal).

This is what I would do with an untrusted system that I did not install myself and a comparable known to be good state.

A word of criticism

I fail to see how the seemingly intransparent nature benefits consumers interested in certified or "Ubuntu Edition" computers.

Instead of being free to install what ever Linux distro or release I choose, there is a special image that I don't have access to (no reason given why) and uncertainty of what to do in case the system becomes unstable or corrupted. The last thing I want to do is looking at the wasteland of an OEM support site (I'm just looking at the Lenovo site and I only see RHEL/SUSE) or explain my issue to a support agent who never installed an OS. To the uninitiated it gives the impression that there is a secret list of bugs and it's never revealed when they where solved.

One also has to probably pay extra for the special edition when any other model of the series or some other hardware would do too for either less or getting more capable hardware. It spells FUD to me the same way as all the other low information marketing campaigns in tech do (and it shouldn't be that way, but about trust).


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