Looking for a new system? Time to upgrade? Skip the Microsoft Tax and buy Linux preloaded. Often the most difficult part of buying a new computer is finding reputable companies that sell Linux based systems. Even then, some still buy Windows systems, wipe them, and load Linux (thereby still buying a Windows system and paying Microsoft).
Why does it matter? For starters, if you don’t want to use Windows then don’t you shouldn’t have to pay for it let alone buy it. Very very few computer manufacturers are going to refund you the famed Microsoft Tax now. Many have EULAs that state you are buying the computer and preloaded software together. They go on to say that if you refuse the software to return it the whole unit for a full refund and that the software is not specifically eligible for a refund.
Another good reason for buying Linux preloaded? It tells the computer companies that people want Linux. Big names Dell and Lenovo started offering Linux options only after enough people petitioned. Now it entirely lies upon enough people buying these computers for the manufacturers to keep offering them and eventually pushing/advertising them.
I think it is entirely critical for Linux to get it preloaded and out there for consumers. I don’t believe in the Year of Linux or any such nonsense. I do believe there can be a year when Linux dies and I don’t want to see that. I believe the future of Linux relies on taking over the desktop now with all the bad press that Vista has.
So finally, I present the preloaded Linux options. This isn’t a review per se, only a listing of the computer manufacturers selling Linux preloaded.
A tiny link on the Home and Home Office page for Open-Source PCs is all that Dell seems to advertise its Ubuntu offerings. Dell offers one desktop and one notebook for customizing with Ubuntu Linux. The systems are less expensive than their Windows counterparts (even cheaper if you consider all the money you would spend on the extra software Dell offers with Windows). My big complaint? Why does Dell offer Windows only software on a computer without Windows? Don’t believe me, go look for yourself.
Now famed for their $200 desktop computer sold at Wal-Mart, Everex is better known for cheap computers. The company seems to be trying to reinvent itself or else just find a way to offer even cheaper computers. They released the Cloudbook at CES 2008. They are also a backer of Good OS (gOS).
IBM has long offered strong Linux support and Lenovo (who bought out IBM’s computer division) has continued that tradition. Lenovo announced their plans to offer preloaded Linux only a few months ago (and I’m writing in January 2008) and they already have information up. They’ll be offering Novell Suse 10 for sell beginning February 19, 2008. It’ll be available on the Thinkpad R61 and T61 notebooks. I think my only problem with all this is that they’re using Suse. It was once a great distro and now Novell is aligned with Microsoft. What a shame.
A small computer company based out of Denver, Colorado, System76 looks promising. They have a nice variety of laptops, desktops, and servers all preloaded with Ubuntu Linux. Microsoft Windows isn’t even offered here which is an added bonus. This company is definitely devoted to Linux but also to wildlife and working on relationships with African wildlife protection organizations. All I think that System76 needs is a real name. What exactly does System76 mean? I guess I don’t get it. However, if I had the money, I would be buying a computer from them right now.
More Linux systems vendors will be added as I find them. I’m looking for high quality worthwhile systems. If you have suggestions or you run your own company, let me know, I’m certainly interested.