Inquiries to Microsoft about testing Linux on the Surface Book brought forth this response from Microsoft's Natasha Brack: "Thanks for your interest in Surface Book. As Surface Book and all Surface products are designed, tested and optimised for Windows 10, our review units come with Windows 10 installed, therefore this is not a request we can fulfil."
The request in question was for a Surface Book on which I would install Linux and test it. Nobody asked Microsoft to install the free operating system which it claims to love.
The response is funny; anyone who buys a device running Windows, wipes the operating system and installs something else pays what is called the Microsoft Tax anyway. This is the amount that Microsoft charges OEMs who choose to install Windows on the hardware they sell.
With Lenovo, the response was equally paranoid.
The situation was somewhat different: there had been reports that Linux could not be installed on certain Lenovo Yoga models. This was not strictly true, but Lenovo issued patches that made it possible for Linux to be installed with ease.
Desiring to test this, I asked Lenovo for a sample notebook. Lenovo senior account manager Amy Brinker who wrote back to me seemed unaware of what her own employer had done to make it possible to run Linux on the hardware in question.
Said she: "To support its 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."
But her own colleague had issued firmware fixes to allow Linux to be installed. Ignorance, they say, can be bliss.
We are slowly coming to an era when operating systems are losing their importance yet these individuals representing a company that runs 92% of the world's desktop systems and another that is the top-selling PC vendor display what can only be described as outdated attitudes.