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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).


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Old 09-09-2009, 08:09 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2009
Posts: 16

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Good current laptop brands for Linux?

Hey everyone.

I was thinking about maybe buying a new laptop. I would like my primary OS to be Linux, and I was wondering if any knowledgeable people here can inform me about a handful of laptops or vendors that fit this profile:

1. The laptop by itself does not have ANY EULA-bound, proprietary software embedded in it. By this I do not mean pre-installed Windows, but rather firmware, BIOS, ROM code or any similar thing that cannot be removed from the laptop without killing functionality. In other words, I would not like to worry about license restrictions.

EDIT: The mentioned code MAY be proprietary, but I do not want to bind myself to a license to be allowed to use it.

2. The hardware is pretty well suited for Linux use, with good, legit drivers available. Special features (you know, play-music buttons and all that) that are not essential do not need to work.

These things are not absolute requirements (although #1 is extremely important to me), but it would be good if the machine suites them.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by csvan; 09-09-2009 at 08:10 AM.
Old 09-09-2009, 09:04 AM   #2
Simon Bridge
LQ Guru
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Waiheke NZ
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 9,211

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Not Acer then

You are unlikely to find any commercial laptops without proprietary firmware. The core-boot project offers ways to reflash the firmware. RMS uses a lemote.

All proprietary code binds you to a license to use it. So does free software. So you need to consider which restrictions concern you.

Usually, firmware is so much a part of the machine that it is as restrictive as the electrical components themselves.

Apart from that - you are looking for HW supported by free software drivers.
This usually just means that you avoid all nvidia, and newer ATI cards.
You can get a good workhorse with intel chipsets, but have a look at what the vendors are selling with gnu/linux pre-installed.

The best practice is usually just to decide what features you need and what you are prepared to pay for them, then canvass vendors with your requirements. Once you have a selection, google them with your distro name. You can ask to test them out on a live distro.

For you, you will want to specify free-software driver support and tell the vendor that you are installing gnu/linux. Anyone who wants to reduce your warranty on the HW should be avoided. Especially since you are not interested in anything that can be made to run linux - but something actually OOTB compatible.

You will find there is a wide range which you can choose from. There must be at least one lappy from each vendor in each price-bracket.
Old 09-09-2009, 03:05 PM   #3
Registered: May 2008
Location: Ohio
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 267

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I've installed Linux(Slackware, mostly) on 7 laptops now; the most recent is a new Toshiba. Some required more time and effort to get everything working, but no insurmountable problems so far. Hardware probably isn't going to be your biggest issue, IMO.


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