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I've been searching the web for days now trying to find a linux or no-os laptop as cheap as what I can find with windows. It just doesn't make sense to me... why is it that I can buy a Microsoft Windows XP laptop with 80 gb / 512 MB / CD/DVD burner / Celeron M 1.6 for as little as $499 at Best Buy, but comparably specced linux or no-os laptops are at least $6-700, and in many cases $1200+? As I see it, if I'm not paying for Windows XP and will instead use linux, shouldn't it be *cheaper*?
Anyone know where I can find a linux laptop (I'd rather not deal with used) without windows on it that is actually cheap? I'd say my min config is something like 512mb/80gb/celeron, and I want to pay around $500 or less for it. I know this is possible with windows PC's (just look on the Best Buy website). I really do not want my money going to Microsoft, but it's hard to justify spending $200 just to keep $100 out of Bill Gates' pocket... after all, that $200 means more to me than $100 does to him.
The best I've found so far is a 40gb/256mb MSI no-os laptop for $537... that's a less powerful machine than the xp laptop at best buy (80gb/512mb) for $499.
Any ideas? If you know of anything better than what I've found I'd appreciate it.
Your best bet is probably to buy one of the windoze laptops and toss linux on it. Most "Linux Laptops" are from companies that buy windows laptops, wipe the windows off them and install linux. That's why they cost more - the company you buy it from is just another middleman. Most of the time, MS still gets their cut anyways, so if that's the issue it probably won't help much to buy a linux laptop.
If you'd rather buy locally, go to a place that builds their own, and tell them you want to run Linux on it. The beauty of generic brands is that their is no proprietary, cutting-edge hardware. I have installed Linux on a half dozen different generic brand laptops and never yet encountered significant problems. You might pay a little more, but cheap usually means non-replaceable proprietary hardware.
I read an article on linux.org a couple months ago that explained why pre-installed linux or even no-os computer actually cost more. I don't remember details but I remembered it actually made sense from the vendor's point of view. The reasons were very economical. Something like: with Windows and volume licensing it costs the vendors less so they can sell the computers for less. And when it comes to non-Windows systems, it's a case of supply vs. demand.
You might find the article in the linux.org archives.
The laptop for your needs is the one you might place a higher priority on. The Linux Distro that you decide to run and spend alot of time with is more important than where the laptop was before it was yours. Find the one you will stay happier with because the Distro and the hardware are symbiotic partners. Then your challenges will be related to your endeavors and opportunities during your escapades in computing. Not with the frustrations of bottlenecking in a free society that exploits the middleclass with horrific pricing monopolies, and software restrictions.