Sunday, December 25, 2011

Trying to Buy a Linux Laptop

So my old lappy is giving up on me bit by bit, and it is clear that I need to invest in a good replacement.

Of course, I am a Linux geek, and I want to avoid the Microsoft Tax and all the garbage of pre-installed software that comes with OEM systems.

The bad news is that finding a Linux computer isn't as easy as it sounds, and sometimes downright disappointing.

Now, lemme first say what I am looking for. I want a bit of processing power, so Intel i3 processor or equivalent is a must. 4 GB of RAM and 320 Gb HD is also a minimum. And I would appreciate a bill less than 600$.

When it comes to the big players, the selection is poor.
HP: We cannot buy those systems online. Huh??? Serious? Or if it does, you are sent to a retailer with no customization possible... so back to windows.
Dell: Underpowered systems... not gonna help me build LibreOffice any time soon.
Acer: their interface make choosing based on OS near to impossible. Man! So clicky clicky click... nope, no FreeDOS or Linux
Toshiba: Same as Acer.
Asus: At least their 'compare' feature is somewhat usable... only to NOT tell me what the OS is half of the time. But since I am comparing product families, I can do some good guesswork. If only they didn't have a gazillion products... And what a bummer... even the eeePC is with windows.
Lenovo: The website makes getting the data easier. But still no luck. And then I found out that they won't sell those directly anymore.
MSI: Meh

Specialty Shops, thanks to LXer and TuxMobil:
Linux Certified: USA stuff, doesn't seem to mention north of the border so much. Oh well.
System76: A bit on the pricey side, but notices Canada off the bat!
The Linux Laptop: Looks US-centric, again. And they are charging me to install Linux on it??? Dude!
Sub300/Sub500: Oh boy is the performance/price ratio plain wrong.
Zareason: Also a bit pricey, and some are out of stock.
EmperorLinux: Super expensive.
SWTechnology: Pricey
ERacks: Even pricier
GamePC: Even pricier... I need a better word here.
Alvio: underpowered
Puget: underpowered
PCsforeveryone: Decent interface. But 49$ for installing Linux? Duuuude! At least they make it simple to choose no OS.
PowerNotebooks: Make No-os easy. It looks like they are starting at i5 processors.
AvaDirect: Interesting starting prices, but underpowered. Decent hardware is expensive.
8Virtues: I like the no-nonsense website.
Alpha PC: underpowered
Think Penguin: I like the obvious jab at Apple in their names. It is attractive, but cranking it up to spec really hurts fast.

The leading contenders are, in my sense, System76, Zareason, PCsforeveryone. They are all above 600$, whereas my local store will send me Windows-infected hardware below that.

So I got myself a Gateway laptop for much below my price target and now I'll fight for a Windows refund


  1. I wish you a lot of patitence en strength to get the windows refund.
    I had the same experience as you, buying a Windows laptop is just cheaper, but I was to lazy to fight for the refund...

  2. I am looking at They supply laptops without windows as at a reasonable price as far as I can see.

  3. Some Lenovo models is without OS and easily work with Linux.

    For example Lenovo X201i 3323-A22 (last year I bought, I install Ubuntu Studio 10.04 for making music :))

  4. Sorry what I mean should be "Thinkpad" . Mine is Lenovo Thinkpad X201i 3323-A22

    It's mine :

  5. Hi, I bought an Lenovo Thinkpad X220i without OS and also for a special price for academic institutions. Just 690 Euro for this excellent laptop. Everything works out of the box in Ubuntu 11.10. Surely, because the X220i is officially certified by Ubuntu.

  6. You could try this one: It's a german Startup which sells ubuntubased Notebooks which are assemblied to work out of the box with linux systems. the preinstalled Ubuntu is so to say a standard ubuntu with customized theme and of course you can install whatever distribution you want. Good to know: it works just fine!

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