Linux has grown into a perfectly capable and easy-to-use operating system, but where can you actually buy a Linux laptop? You won’t find them in big box stores other than Chromebooks. Fortunately, this is less of a problem as more of us shop online. Now it’s just a matter of where to look and what to look for.
Here is a list of big companies, small businesses, and resellers who are happy to sell you a laptop with Linux preinstalled.
Dell was one of the first major manufacturers to offer desktop Linux preinstalled on a laptop. In the past, these machines were hidden away, but the company has since made them much easier to find. You can now buy XPS, Precision, and Latitude laptops that come with Ubuntu.
As you may have noticed, these are Dell machines for business. You do not have the option to select other Dell lines such as Inspiron or Alienware and choose to swap the operating system.
Are you looking for a more diverse range of options? Lenovo delivers. The multinational offers many ThinkPads that come with Linux preinstalled. There are the standard ThinkPads known to be rugged, or you can try the X1 Carbon or the X1 Yoga 2-in-1.
Lenovo offers Ubuntu, but the options don’t end there. The company worked with Red Hat to certify these devices for the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and some models even come with optional Fedora preinstalled.
System76 is an American company that manufactures a variety of Linux laptops, ranging from 14 to 17 inches. Much of the hardware is renamed Clevo plastic machines, but the company has invested in designing its own hardware, as is the case with Thelio desktops.
System76 produces Pop! _OS, a Linux distribution preinstalled but also available for anyone to download and use for free on their own non-System76 computers. Pop! _OS has since grown into one of the best known Linux distributions for its ease of use.
Purism, also located in the United States, manufactures computers with privacy and security in mind. The company’s laptops are custom designed and offer minimal branding, although they come at a relatively high price point. Privacy switches are less of a novelty these days, but they were original when Purism first introduced them on its Librem laptops.
Purism devices all run PureOS, a Debian derivative approved by the Free Software Foundation. Rather than trying to differentiate PureOS from other distributions, Purism invests directly in improving the software provided by the community that PureOS depends on.
So the work to make GNOME more adaptive to run on a Librem 5 smartphone, for example, has benefited the entire GNOME community on desktops and mobile devices. The purchase of a computer from Purism supports this work.
StarLabs is a UK based Linux PC manufacturer. The company consists of a team of Linux enthusiasts who manufacture hardware to support the community and other Linux enthusiasts.
While the company once shipped renowned Clevo machines, the various models available now are custom machines. The Star Lite in particular is relatively unique as an 11-inch aluminum laptop that harkens back to the days of netbooks.
Rather than creating its own distro, Star Labs offers several choices. Depending on which one you choose, a portion of your purchase may go back to the distribution manufacturers.
Slimbook is a Spanish company specializing in the manufacture of Linux computers, offering your choice of many distributions as well as the possibility of preinstalling Windows. Slimbook offers a wide selection of laptops, all of which feature a premium look and feel. You can even buy some with Tux on the keyboard.
Slimbook worked with the KDE community to produce the KDE Slimbook, a laptop that came with the Plasma desktop preinstalled as well as the KDE branding on the back and on the Great key. While there are other ways to buy a computer with a plasma screen, this one is perhaps the coolest.
Pine64 quickly became one of the most well-known names in Linux hardware. Pine64 made headlines when it first released an $ 89 ARM-based laptop running Linux.
The Pinebook Pro followed later for $ 199 with more power under the hood. These machines aren’t powerful, but if you have a fairly light workflow and realistic expectations, the Pro can serve as the primary machine.
Pine64 has an online store, but orders often go out in batches and sell out quickly. So if you want to get your hands on any of these materials, be sure to follow Pine’s blog or other channels.
ThinkPenguin is a Linux vendor approved by the Free Software Foundation. Unlike most of the other companies on this list, it will not only sell you a computer with your choice of Linux distro preinstalled, but also provide hardware that you can run without the need for proprietary drivers, even in the kernel.
ThinkPenguin doesn’t just supply machines. It provides a long list of peripherals that are guaranteed to work with your Linux computers. So even if you already have a Linux PC, ThinkPenguin can be a handy resource for finding anything from a printer to a fully open source router. And if you want to decorate your workstation with original stickers or mouse pads, these are also available.
Have you found your new Linux laptop?
Otherwise, you might be surprised to know that these aren’t the only options available. Whether you’re looking for a gaming rig or an old ThinkPad with all the proprietary bits removed, there’s someone out there that caters to your particular niche.
Since Linux has become too easy to install, it’s worth pointing out the possibility of browsing eBay or some other used source and buying any machine from a few years ago. Linux works great on older hardware and this approach also saves you money and prevents machines from going to landfill.
Thinking of buying a new computer? Here’s why a used, refurbished, or used PC might be a better option for you.
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