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Where To Buy A Machine With Linux Pre-Installed 229

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the avoiding-the-microsoft-tax dept.
The Berkeley LUG has a neat aggregation of many different places where you can acquire a desktop, laptop, or even netbook with Linux pre-installed. The list starts with a link to Dell's Linux offering, includes many independent vendors, and many updates from user comments, almost all of whom seem to be drinking the Ubuntu kool-aid. "Over the last couple of years, Linux has come a long way in terms of hardware support, and these days it is relatively rare that an installation of ubuntu/fedora will be lacking any drivers for your machine. However, installing any OS can still sometimes be a tedious task and one that scares the wits out of the average computer user. And, for the expert users out there, it's just more fun to buy a computer with Linux already on it and not have to pay the Microsoft tax."
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Where To Buy A Machine With Linux Pre-Installed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 25, 2009 @12:40PM (#28084741)

    "And, for the expert users out there, it's just more fun to buy a computer with Linux already on it and not have to pay the Microsoft tax."

    Actually, for the experts, it's more fun to build the computer themselves and install whatever they feel like.

  • Even if (Score:2, Informative)

    by TechForensics (944258)

    And, for the expert users out there, it's just more fun to buy a computer with Linux already on it and not have to pay the Microsoft tax.

    I thought we paid that tax EVEN IF we bought a Linux laptop.

    • by legirons (809082)

      And, for the expert users out there, it's just more fun to buy a computer with Linux already on it and not have to pay the Microsoft tax.

      I thought we paid that tax EVEN IF we bought a Linux laptop.

      Well you could buy a macbook from EmperorLinux and only pay for the Mac OS X license to use Linux ;)

      or just get an Asus eee - for £156 there's not much room to hide the cost of an unused Windows license!

    • Re:Even if (Score:5, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356) on Monday May 25, 2009 @01:43PM (#28085501)

      I thought we paid that tax EVEN IF we bought a Linux laptop.

      The "Microsoft Tax" is one of those crazy ideas that clog the geek's mind -

      all it really means is that the OEM Windows install makes your laptop a viable mass market product that will outsell Linux by 100 to 1.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ukyoCE (106879)

        Why would a mass market laptop need to be available ONLY with windows pre-installed? The hardware can be mass market and 99/100 can be sold with Windows.

        But why should that imply whatsoever that I can't buy 1/100 of those mass-produced laptops with Linux pre-installed and a lower purchase price?

    • by asdf7890 (1518587)

      I thought we paid that tax EVEN IF we bought a Linux laptop.

      Not quite. You pay the Dell-don't-collect-on-the-bribes-to-include-extra-trial-software-on-your-machine-so-they-extract-those-$-from-you tax.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday May 25, 2009 @12:42PM (#28084771) Homepage Journal

    Because, of course, not using Microsoft's Windows or Apple's Mac OS X isn't enough.

    You need to use an obscure Linux distro or else you'll still be a mindless sheep that other Linux users will laugh at.

    You're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    I'll be at Milliways if anyone needs me.

    • by belmolis (702863)

      I don't think that's the point. Ubuntu is probably the best choice for people migrating from MS Windows. However, there are other markets. For example, I have used Unix in one form or another for 25 years. I do most of my work from the command line. I want more-or-less traditional configuration files and controls and I want to install all sorts of development tools. Ubuntu is not the ideal distribution for someone like me, and, I suspect, a lot of other people who read /. At the same time, I like the abil

      • Re:Ubuntu kool-aid (Score:4, Insightful)

        by isorox (205688) on Monday May 25, 2009 @02:12PM (#28085841) Homepage Journal

        Ubuntu is not the ideal distribution for someone like me, and, I suspect, a lot of other people who read /.

        Hmm, I moved from redhat to debian when potato came out, partly based on slashdot (and linux newbie) raves about apt, so Ubuntu is natural when I want it to just work.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by BrokenHalo (565198)
          ...I moved from redhat to debian when potato came out, partly based on slashdot (and linux newbie) raves about apt, so Ubuntu is natural when I want it to just work.

          OK. And did you spit chips when you went to edit /etc/inittab and found it wasn't there? I'm not saying that RedHat/Debian/Ubuntu are good or bad, but expecting Ubuntu to "Just Work" can be a tall order if you're used to other Unices.
      • For example, I have used Unix in one form or another for 25 years. I do most of my work from the command line.

        ...and therefore you're probably quite willing and capable of installing whatever distro you like.

        As a techie, odds are, that the first thing you'll do with a new PC is zap the hard drive and re-install everything the way you want anyway.

        The only benefit to such people of getting a machine with Linux pre-installed is some assurance that maybe, just maybe, the supplier has the nous to only use components with reasonable Linux support.

    • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gn u . org> on Monday May 25, 2009 @01:47PM (#28085531) Homepage

      You need to use an obscure Linux distro or else you'll still be a mindless sheep that other Linux users will laugh at.

      I use DARKSTAR Linux, you insen... wait, I'm the insensitive clod, you sheep!

    • by cyphercell (843398) on Monday May 25, 2009 @01:47PM (#28085545) Homepage Journal

      Hey, I'm not going to be happy until I get full support for Linux From Scratch. I want it all to "just work". Uh, wait...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by scrib (1277042)

      Seconded.

      It's one thing to support your favorite distro, it's another thing to slur one with allusions to a cult. (Ironic, too...) How is that good for anyone?

      I got a taste for *nix in college in the early 90's, but joined the workforce writing software for Windows. I've installed, and deleted, many different distros over the years. Sure, I could use them, compile drivers, find hardware that was supported, but I knew that there was no way that anyone else in my family would make the leap.

      Recent developments

    • I happen to like red-colored sugar-water drinks.
  • by siloko (1133863) on Monday May 25, 2009 @12:44PM (#28084799)
    I have lived with three dudes over the past two years and they are all now running Ubuntu in one form or another having not even heard of any windows alternatives before. Simply seeing it work, being close to someone who can help when they come up against problems and experiencing the sheer breadth of free applications on offer is enough for many people to make the switch. Incidentally one of those guys didn't even own his own computer when I met him . . .
    • by westlake (615356)

      I have lived with three dudes over the past two years and they are all now running Ubuntu in one form or another having not even heard of any windows alternatives before

      Translation:

      I live in the college dorm.

      My bunk mates get 24 hour free technical support.

      They are refugees from the Land of The Lost who have never seen an add for the Mac.

  • Netbooks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Monday May 25, 2009 @12:47PM (#28084823) Journal

    I bought myself a Asus netbook with the Linux pre-install. It didn't last long and installed a different Linux distro which was not as childish and crippled as the pre-installed Linux version (not any Ubuntu flavour). Maybe there should be an option when buying machines for NO OS installed by default. It wouldn't prevent the manufacturer adding crapware for their Windows install CD's.

    It would be interesting to know which OS would be more frustrating to the average user to install. Every Linux install I've done, it installed everything a typical install does in one go and needed one reboot (setting up SuperUser and user accounts). The last time I installed WinXP on my desktop I lost the will to live after 35 reboots to install the OS and countless other drivers which insisted on full reboots.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Abreu (173023)

      Microsoft would quickly oppose any attempt to sell computers with no OS... on the grounds that it would support piracy

      • Is functionally equivalent to book publishers opposing the sale of blank paper.
      • by westlake (615356)

        Microsoft would quickly oppose any attempt to sell computers with no OS... on the grounds that it would support piracy

        WalMart won't stock your bare-bones PC because they can't sell your bare-bones PC - and they sure as hell don't want to accept it as a return.

        Bare-bones is strictly for the enthusiast and the IT pro.

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      I have someone's machine here right now that needed a full reinstall. The machine took a power surge. The surge damaged the hard drive, memory, and sound card. Knowing the preinstalled version of Windows, it has so much crap it isn't even funny. I could spend hours cleaning those out, or put a nice clean install on.

      When I use a Windows machine (hey, it helps for gaming), it's always nice to have a clean install, versus the vendor provided crap, even if I have to go through

    • Try nLite. Master your XP cd, plug it in and walk away.

      http://www.nliteos.com/ [nliteos.com]

    • [after installing XP] I lost the will to live after 35 reboots to install the OS

      Try doing that and watching it get Sasser'd twenty seconds after you plugged in the network cable :(

    • by asdf7890 (1518587)

      I bought myself a Asus netbook with the Linux pre-install. It didn't last long and installed a different Linux distro which was not as childish and crippled as the pre-installed Linux version (not any Ubuntu flavour).

      That might be a little unfair to Linpus. Admittedly I replaced it with UNR in short order, but it is not without its advantages once you've visited the official update page that gives you a more recent version of Firefox (3.0.x upgrade from 2), OpenOffice, VLC, and so forth.

      The default install (once FF is updated) is perfectly fine for basic users, who do not need the flexibility you or I desire/require, and all the hardware definitely works out of the box. It also boots (and gets to the point of being able

  • There is also a comprehensive and international list of vendors which provide laptops, notebooks, PDAs and mobile phones with Linux pre-installed [tuxmobil.org]. This list is accompanied by a survey of laptop and notebook manufacturers which provide Linux pre-installed [tuxmobil.org], a survey of mobile phones with Linux pre-installed [tuxmobil.org] and an overview of media players with Linux pre-installed [tuxmobil.org] (these manufacturers are marked with an asterisk).
  • It looks like Dell.ca isn't selling laptops [www.dell.ca] anymore. For reasons (in no particular order) of patriotism, currency and hardware/warranty hassles, I'm interested in buying a laptop with working suspend-to-ram from a Canadian company...does anyone have any suggestions? (I know about the netbooks, but I'm wondering if there's anything else.)

  • Dell (Score:5, Informative)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Monday May 25, 2009 @12:58PM (#28084947)

    So far I've bought 2 Ubuntu machines from Dell and they absolutely rock! I bought a Dell Latitude and a Mini 9. They were both rock solid, isn't too OEMified (i.e. no crapware preinstalled).

    I'm a huge Dell fan now, because they give me what I want!

    Rah rah rah, go Dell! ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lolocaust (871165)

      One thing you should watch out for is the really long delivery times for Dellbuntu systems, at least in my own experience. My brother bought an m1330 (with Vista) and it arrived in two weeks with no issues. I decided to buy my own but with Ubuntu pre-installed and I was given the same two weeks estimate. However for about two months I kept getting emails about unavailable stock and that the delivery estimate was moved back each time. This is despite the fact that the flashy stock checker said everything was

  • by hubert.lepicki (1119397) on Monday May 25, 2009 @01:00PM (#28084965)

    It's more about getting "clean" laptop without any OS (or proprietary one) installed and hardware compatibility with free OSes.

    I'd love to see some vendor shipping laptops "Tested with Ubuntu, Fedora, NetBSD and OpenSolaris".

    From my experience (had 3 laptops with Linux pre-installed so far - 2 with Linpus and one with Xandros!), I always had to switch to something else than what came with laptop. With Acer laptops it was easy - hardware was fairly standard. Other thing was with early version of Eee PC, that had all sorts of problems with drivers for almost a year until I could install "stock" Debian on it.

    If I even got a laptop from Dell with Ubuntu, I would:
    - re-partition and encrypt hard drive
    - upgrade to something more recent than 8.04

    That means I don't need a laptop with Linux pre-installed, but one without Windows, with fairly standard hardware. I think most of you here would agree with me.

    • by Larryish (1215510)

      If your laptop uses an onboard Intel graphics chip, you may need to stick with 8.04 to get the best performance.

      http://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/359578 [launchpad.net]

      http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-1132722.html [ubuntuforums.org]

    • by sherriw (794536)

      Well, if that's the case, you can always go to your local PC shop and have them custom build one for you. OEM isn't the only choice out there.

    • With the first Eees, the problem was mainly that most distros didn't care to support it. I ran Mandriva 2008.1 on my 701 with absolutely no problems. My 1000HA runs Mandriva 2009. Mandriva were really the only Linux vendor at the time that saw netbooks as something worth including support for in the basic distro rather than trying to get OEM contracts for a customised distro with an "easy mode" UI.
  • Sure, they're mostly servers, but they do have Workstations. They'll even sell you Windows if you want it. http://pogolinux.com/ [pogolinux.com]
  • Heh, the US has it easy. Try finding anything preinstalled with Linux in Bulgaria.
  • The $10/£10 you pay for MS is often trumped by the $30/£30 they add to the cost as it costs them more to support it, and that is ignoring the £20 that companies pay to preinstall crap on your PC). Don't worry about Microsoft getting rich off your £10, they don't care about the money from the home market, just the market share (which they loose if you uninstall it anyway).

    Decide if you want full floss (ati/intel/atheros) or are willing to use proprietary (ati/n

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ratboy666 (104074)

      Microsoft LOSES market share if you install something else over top?

      I would beg to differ -- all machines are still counted as Windows(tm) machines. This allows demonstration of the ABSOLUTE and CRUSHING numerical superiority of Windows.

  • The article links to a local Ubuntu-friendly retailer ZaReason. Now I'm all about buying from local businesses, but given some of the text on their pages [zareason.com], I'm wondering if these guys got a little too "Berkeley," if you know what I mean:

    SD/MMC slot -- download photos, anything from your phone (if it holds an SD card), your printer... extreme usability

    Are they trying to tell me that I can "download a printer" or "download photos from my printer" ? I dunno about them, but usually photos come out of my printer, not the other way 'round.

  • in the UK (Score:3, Informative)

    by legirons (809082) on Monday May 25, 2009 @01:20PM (#28085229)

    In the UK, try: http://www.efficientpc.co.uk/ [efficientpc.co.uk]

    don't bother with Dell - once you've found a machine that you want, there's no way they're going to put linux on it unless you request an offline quote that means you get no discounts and can't do easy comparisons between different configurations. Or unless you go through their "linux portal" that makes everything more expensive.

    Oh, and Dell will only sell you the most expensive possible version of the most expensive linux distribution unless you get one of their "toy" pink laptops from the 'home' section. (and who knows, they might give money to Microsoft on your behalf anyway)

  • freegeek (Score:5, Informative)

    by sugarmotor (621907) on Monday May 25, 2009 @01:51PM (#28085597) Homepage

    freegeek ( http://www.freegeek.org/ [freegeek.org] ) recycles PC's and sells them if they have some left-over.

    Linux pre-installed.

    Have to check if there is one where you live.

    Stephan

  • I bought one of the first $200 Everex gPC boxes (reviewed here [lightandmatter.com]), and although their linux distro was awful at that time (it was a prerelease version), the hardware has worked fine. I put ubuntu on it, and it's a great machine.

    However, they seem to have recurring problems with production and/or distribution channels. They were originally selling them through Walmart; you'd order it via Walmart's web site, and it would be shipped to your local store for you to pick up. Now Walmart no longer has them. If yo

  • You could one from CAI [computeraid.org], if you are in the non profit sector.
  • As a linux user for 5yrs (and ex PC design engineer) - I really cannot see linux becoming the OS of choice of the masses (i.e. your dumb neighbor or the kooky lady in accounting). The Windows XP environment is what they know (more or less).

    They are not motivated or driven to learn a "new way" of doing things. As an IT guy I easily bounce between XP - OS X - and linux ... my normal friends are running XP and a few OS X.

    And both Apple and M$ learned that making wholesale GUI changes generally upsets the masse

  • Another link (Score:2, Informative)

    by KIAaze (1034596)
    http://linuxpreloaded.com/ [linuxpreloaded.com]
  • by mcubed (556032)
    But where can I buy a machine with Free|Net|Open BSD preinstalled? I don't wanna pay the Linux tax....!
  • But is it cheaper? There should be no Windows Tax (Per Processor License), but experience in the past has shown some of these machines to actually be more expensive then the Windows equivalent hardware from the same vendor.
  • I bought a Dell XPS configured with Ubuntu and immediately put Fedora on it. It works really well. There was a hardware problem with the display and they arranged for a guy to come to my house and fix it. I have fought with drivers for laptops to run Linux many times and it is a PITA. ndiswrapper, etc etc. No need for any of that with this machine. Did I mention it works really well?

    On the Dell site look for "open source pcs" - it's not that prominent but you can find it.

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