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Old 08-10-2013, 04:41 PM   #1
higher_primate
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Laptop running Linux


Years ago I became anti-Windows and purchased a MacBook. I've finally decided it's time to man up and go with Linux. I am entirely new to Linux so I have a few questions about purchasing a laptop for Linux. I mainly use my computer to web browse, create documents, organize/store family photos, and download music/tvshows/movies, and keep a well organized music library.

Would you guys recommend buying a laptop with Linux already on it or getting a Windows laptop and doing it myself? What are some good systems to look at? I came across ThinkPenguin but haven't had time to truly research them.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 04:53 PM   #2
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Hi, welcome to LQ!

Hard to say which would work best for you - if you can find a laptop (Dell
for instance offer Ubuntu preinstalled) you can save yourself paying license
fees for something you don't want.


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 08-10-2013, 04:53 PM   #3
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by higher_primate View Post
Would you guys recommend buying a laptop with Linux already on it or getting a Windows laptop and doing it myself?
neither of these. I'd choose a machine with no OS pre-installed, because whatever system it may come with - the first thing I'd do is to wipe the preinstalled system entirely and start over from scratch, choosing my personal favorite distro and applying my personal favorite configuration (like partitioning, to begin with).

Quote:
Originally Posted by higher_primate View Post
What are some good systems to look at? I came across ThinkPenguin but haven't had time to truly research them.
My personal favorite is Linux Mint, but looking at what you're going to do with your computer, almost any contemporary distro would be okay, whether it's the conservative Debian, its popular descendant Ubuntu, the kindergarten-style SuSe, the expert's choice Gentoo, or the alternative Fedora. My recommendation is to download and try a few distros as a Live CD/DVD, and just get an impression about which suits you best.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 08-10-2013, 05:17 PM   #4
TroN-0074
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I think you are making a good decision however, everybody will have different point of view about your questions. I think if you will buy a new computer anyway why not buy something that was made to run Linux. That way you wont be having issues with compatibility or missing driver

Check out System76 and see if they offer something that is in your budged range here is their link
https://www.system76.com/

I think they will ship in USA, Canada, and UK. you can always check in their site for the area where you live.

Good luck to you
 
Old 08-10-2013, 05:29 PM   #5
273
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I think it depends a little upon which country you are living in. In the UK we seem to have a lack of Linux machines on sale and I don't recall ever seeing a PC installed without an OS. I do notice that there is no saving when I do choose Linux over Windows when given the choice.
The problem nowadays, of course, is secureboot and Windows 8 -- if it weren't for that I would almost say that in the UK it is better to buy a Windows machine and install Linux since you'll pay the windows license fee anyhow so you might as well get a copy.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 05:30 PM   #6
itlb
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Imo I've always bought second hand laptops for ebay etc. Apart from the fact that you save money there is usually better driver support for the older hardware. For example, 2 months ago I bought a Lenovo x220 which I've installed various distributions on with no hastle at-all.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 05:52 PM   #7
lleb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by higher_primate View Post
Years ago I became anti-Windows and purchased a MacBook. I've finally decided it's time to man up and go with Linux. I am entirely new to Linux so I have a few questions about purchasing a laptop for Linux. I mainly use my computer to web browse, create documents, organize/store family photos, and download music/tvshows/movies, and keep a well organized music library.

Would you guys recommend buying a laptop with Linux already on it or getting a Windows laptop and doing it myself? What are some good systems to look at? I came across ThinkPenguin but haven't had time to truly research them.
we have 3 of the Asus A55* line of laptops. They take Fedora out of the box and all of the hardware works including but not limited to the wifi and the camera/mic.

the look is nice they are i5 chips that can take up to 8G of ram, so you are limited there a little. They also have the intel 4000 graphics shared memory GPU that is more then powerful enough for the average user or semi gamer even. I use it to play WoW (world of warcraft) via Wine with zero issues and even in the busy cities i still get 20-30 FPS so not bad performance for a mid range laptop.

I have never paid more then $400 for one of them as i get them refurbished and they are just great little work horses.

The first one shipped with win7 pre-installed, I made backup DVD's of the restore partition. The other 2 came with win8. I did not even bother backing that up to DVD and just blew away the entire HDD including the MS Windows restore partition as they did not come with win8 key to reinstall the OS anyways. Disabled the secure boot, and poof away they went running Fedora 19.

so for under $1100 USD i picked up 3 of those laptops and they are great.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 05:52 PM   #8
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
I think it depends a little upon which country you are living in.
it does, indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
In the UK we seem to have a lack of Linux machines on sale and I don't recall ever seeing a PC installed without an OS. I do notice that there is no saving when I do choose Linux over Windows when given the choice.
In Germany, the vast majority of PCs are sold with Windows preinstalled. Not surprising, is it? There are very, very few offers that include some Linux distro in the bundle, though I wonder why. I would never trust in something that somebody else has prepared for me who I don't even know.
And there are some dealers, mainly mail-order services, that offer bare PCs with no OS at all. These are the ones I go for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
The problem nowadays, of course, is secureboot and Windows 8
Is that really a problem? I don't think so. Even on PCs with an EFI BIOS capable of supporting that awful "secureboot" feature, it can be disabled, so that they behave normally and allow the installation of any system.
But you're not all wrong ... sometime, very soon, the most important question we will have to ask the PC dealers is: "Is it possible to install a real OS instead of Windows?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
if it weren't for that I would almost say that in the UK it is better to buy a Windows machine and install Linux since you'll pay the windows license fee anyhow so you might as well get a copy.
And then you can sell the Windows license on ebay. I'm not sure about the UK or other countries, but German law allows that. I purchased my Windows XP licenses that way. None more than 30 Euros.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 08-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #9
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc CPU View Post
Is that really a problem? I don't think so. Even on PCs with an EFI BIOS capable of supporting that awful "secureboot" feature, it can be disabled, so that they behave normally and allow the installation of any system.
[X] Doc CPU
If dual boot isn't wanted then it isn't a problem and (perversely) "Windows 8 Approved" PCs ought to be better as it's guaranteed you can disable secureboot. It is worth bearing in mind, I think, if you considered the windows pre-install as a dual-boot system.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 06:08 PM   #10
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
If dual boot isn't wanted then it isn't a problem and (perversely) "Windows 8 Approved" PCs ought to be better as it's guaranteed you can disable secureboot. It is worth bearing in mind, I think, if you considered the windows pre-install as a dual-boot system.
that's indeed an interesting thought. I would've assumed that this secureboot feature can always be disabled. Otherwise I'd call that PC a cripple and would turn it in as soon as I discovered this mutilation.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 08-10-2013, 06:14 PM   #11
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc CPU View Post
Hi there,



that's indeed an interesting thought. I would've assumed that this secureboot feature can always be disabled. Otherwise I'd call that PC a cripple and would turn it in as soon as I discovered this mutilation.

[X] Doc CPU
It is purely theoretical, since Windows 8 certification on *86 requires secureboot be easily disabled. I would find it strange to discover a machine that was not running windows 8 but had secureboot which could not be disabled -- you never know though. I also would guess at it being illegal in Germany anyhow.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 07:07 PM   #12
k3lt01
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I notice the OP doesn't have a location in his profile so suggesting buying a Dell because they sell them with Ubuntu preinstalled may not actually be quite accurate. Dell, and possibly others, only sell Linux preinstalled in certain markets. They do not in places like Australia. The suggestion about buying a laptop without a OS installed has similar issues.

It would be good if the OP put his location on his profile so answers could be less generic.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 07:17 PM   #13
colorpurple21859
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Be wary of laptops with duel/hybride graphic cards, they are not well supported and can be problematic.
 
Old 08-10-2013, 08:46 PM   #14
higher_primate
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Thanks for all the responses guys. I'm going to start gathering more information. I didn't have any intensions of running dual OS's. I don't use many, if any, programs that won't be compatible for Linux. I can't think of any right off hand.

I live in the US. Sorry about that!
 
Old 08-11-2013, 04:32 AM   #15
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
The suggestion about buying a laptop without a OS installed has similar issues.
you mean, they don't sell "clean", bare PCs everywhere? Well, I can't imagine. Software, usually including the OS, has always been an item to purchase separately. AFAIS, it's just a convenience (for the majority of end users, but also for MS) to include a copy of Windows in each packacge because "everybody needs it anyway". For about 90% (just a rough guess) that may be true.

However, not offering clean PCs at all would be like selling subway tickets that also allow you to visit the local zoo, regardless of whether you're interested or not, and charging an increased price for them. Forcing people to pay for something they don't want is not how economy works, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
It would be good if the OP put his location on his profile so answers could be less generic.
Yes, definitely. Or specify the country explicitely in such a specific question.

[X] Doc CPU
 
  


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