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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 01-24-2008, 11:16 AM   #1
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Where to buy a PC with no OS license

Maybe this has been discussed already, but I couldn't find anything in the archives.

Anyway, I'm with an educational institution in the U.S. and we have recently become unhappy with the supplier we've been using. We're looking for someplace where we can spec out a computer and buy it without any OS license (i.e. no Windows, and no Microsoft License). Then we can configure it and install whatever distro we choose. Cost is an issue, but quality, performance and service are also issues.

Dell doesn't work. They seem to have a home machine that can be done this way, but the education store doesn't offer that model.

We've considered SWT, but we're looking for alternatives, comparisons, and first hand experience.
Old 01-24-2008, 12:44 PM   #2
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You can always buy bare bones systems at sites like

Seeing how they are bare bones, you can then order separate parts that fit your specs and you plug them in when they arrive via UPS/Fedex. It's pretty cheap that.
Old 01-24-2008, 12:49 PM   #3
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Dell small Business Servers are the onlyx86 based systems that i know of tthat have the option to purchase the system with no os.
Old 01-24-2008, 04:14 PM   #4
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Dell has the n-series which comes with no OS or with FreeDOS, and the option of Linux.

How large is the institution? I work for Rutgers University, and we order from Dell or HP by the pallet. If we asked them to put Emacs as an operating system, I'm pretty sure they'd make it happen. On a serious note, when you get into large volume sales, they know that you'll be wiping and re-imaging the systems anyway... part of it may be that we have a site license for Windoze, so the licensing isn't an issue...

If you're looking for Linux systems, your best bet is probably a white box vendor (think Systemax, eMachines, and the rest) or one of the vendors listed at


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