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Old 04-22-2008, 07:58 PM   #1
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.04, Mint 11.11, Xubuntu 11.11
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Buy Linux preinstalled on laptop

I am looking to replace my trusty 5 year old Dell D600 laptop with something new. I intend to buy a laptop with Linux preinstalled and was wondering if anyone had any advice on the different vendors. I have looked at Dell, System 76, and Zareason and am leaning toward Zareason.

I know that I can buy any laptop with Windows preinstalled and install Linux with little effort and spend not much more (maybe even less); I have no interest in giving any more of my money to Microsoft and wish to support Linux vendors. I have been running my D600 with only Linux for a couple of years now and have no desire to dual boot, so not getting a copy of Windows is no big deal.

Anyone have any experience with the Linux vendors?

Old 04-22-2008, 08:31 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2005
Location: India
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You may find laptops without OS (or with something like "FREE DOS"). I had seen such thing on Dell's website lately. But to my surprise, the price became almost equal to that one with Windows Vista.(As per my hardware requirements). I really hate to see Micro-sucks always come with new hardwares leaving the buyer no choice at all.

I hope you will find one such vendor. (Here I get!)

Old 04-22-2008, 08:39 PM   #3
Simon Bridge
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I understand the feeling - it is frustrating to find bare-bones laptops are more expensive than the "designed for XP" ones.

I have had some experience with the vendors.

Acer - are new to the linux scene and don't seem to know what they are doing. Their Ubuntu preinstalled laptops tend to have non-functioning HW.

DELL - have been at this for a while and have taken some trouble to learn the ropes. I hear their tech support rep is fairly good - but not geared to the home tinkerer.

Lenovo - offer Ubuntu or SUSE preinstalled on a wide range of notebooks and IBM have taken great pains to really get on-side with linux stuff.

Watch out for smaller vendors - they are often selling an installation service on top of a regular OEM-Windows laptop. i.e. They buy a Win laptop, remove windows, and add linux with a markup - so you are still paying a Redmond tax even though you never see windows. They are usually up-front if asked to explain why their sans-windows laptops are more expensive.

I have had good experience with hp personally - when they ship a laptop with linux, it all works.
Old 04-22-2008, 09:03 PM   #4
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As as alternative to off-the-shelf brand names, you could also look up computer shops in your area. You can get some pretty good deals. I've never yet bought a brand name box. All of mine have been custom made, with my choice of hardware, for about the same price as the brand name variety.

Subtracting the default OS (as in windows) resulted in reduction in my cost. So, let your fingers do the walking through the phone book, make some calls, etc. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Old 04-22-2008, 09:25 PM   #5
Registered: Jan 2008
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At work we have ordered from Emperor Linux and we were very satisfied.

We burned a few hours trying to get all the new devices on a new dell laptop working under Redhat so we just bought a new dell from Emperor and everything worked great out of the box.
Old 04-22-2008, 11:31 PM   #6
Simon Bridge
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For that matter - the most rewarding option I've seen is to buy a second hand machine, particularly a laptop. Find some places that recondition ex-rentals, and phone around. Specify you do not want any MS products and ask what the likely reduction is. The good bit is, somebody else has paid MS - they're not getting any more money.

If you have some friends also shopping, you'll get a bulk discount (bulk = 3, so it's worth a bit of extra effort) - or you can buy three and sell two off for profit.

I found that if I timed it right, the company would have a bunch of machines pre-reconditioned. In which case, I'm asking them to work less. They are usually keen - if puzzled.

On top of which, I've spread the word about linux demand

The downside is, you are buying an old computer. It need only be a year old...
Old 05-02-2008, 09:03 PM   #7
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.04, Mint 11.11, Xubuntu 11.11
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I appreciate everyone's responses. I have done some research and I think that I am going to buy from Zareason. I like what they are offering, I like the price, and I have heard nothing but good about their tech support. I know that they are only a few years in the business and there is a risk that they will not be around in a year, but hey, you only live once. I'll be purchasing two identical laptops from them (in about Aug), one for myself and one for my 12 year old daughter (who btw actually prefers Linux to Windows). As long as I can get WoW running on Wine she will be a happy camper.

Again, thanks for all of the responses,


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