Linux has become 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, aside from Chromebooks. Fortunately, that’s less of an issue as more of us do our shopping online. Now it’s only a matter of knowing where to look and what to look for.
Here is a list of large corporations, smaller companies, and resellers that are happy to sell you a laptop with Linux preinstalled.
Dell was one of the first major manufacturers to ship desktop Linux preinstalled on a laptop. In the past, these machines were tucked away, but the company has since made them much easier to find. You can now purchase XPS, Precision, and Latitude laptops that ship with Ubuntu.
As you may have noticed, these are Dell’s business-oriented machines. You don’t have the option to select other Dell lines such as Inspiron or Alienware and opt to swap out the OS.
Looking for a more diverse range of options? Lenovo delivers. The multinational offers numerous ThinkPads that come with Linux preinstalled. There are the standard ThinkPads known for being rugged, or you can try the X1 Carbon or the X1 Yoga 2-in-1.
Lenovo offers Ubuntu, but the options don’t stop there. The company has worked with Red Hat to certify these devices for the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and some models even come with Fedora as a preinstalled option.
System76 is an America-based company that makes a variety of Linux laptops, ranging from 14 to 17 inches. Much of the hardware is rebranded Clevo machines made of plastic, but the company has made investments into designing its own hardware, as is the case with the Thelio desktop PCs.
System76 produces Pop!_OS, a Linux distribution that comes preinstalled but is also available for anyone to freely download and use on their own non-System76 computers. Pop!_OS has since become one of the most well-known Linux distros for its ease of use.
Purism, also located in the United States, makes computers with privacy and security in mind. The company’s laptops are custom designed and offer minimal branding, though they come with a relatively high price tag. Privacy switches are less of a novelty these days, but they were original when Purism first debuted them on its Librem laptops.
Purism devices all run PureOS, a Free Software Foundation-approved derivative of Debian. Rather than try to make PureOS stand out from other distros, Purism invests directly into improving the community-provided software that PureOS depends on.
So the work to make GNOME more adaptive in order to run on a Librem 5 smartphone, for example, has benefited the entire GNOME community on desktops and mobile devices alike. Purchasing a computer from Purism supports this work.
StarLabs is a Linux PC maker based out of the UK. The company consists of a team of passionate Linux enthusiasts making hardware to support the community and others passionate about Linux.
While the company once shipped rebranded 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 make its own distro, Star Labs offers a choice of multiple to pick from. Depending on which one you pick, a portion of your purchase may go back to the distro makers.
Slimbook is a Spanish company specializing in making Linux computers, offering up your choice of numerous distros as well as the option to preinstall Windows. Slimbook has a large selection of laptops, all with a premium look and feel. You can even buy some with Tux on the keyboard.
Slimbook has worked with the KDE community to produce the KDE Slimbook, a laptop that comes with the Plasma desktop preinstalled plus KDE branding on the back and the Super key. While there are other ways to purchase a Plasma-equipped computer, this is perhaps the coolest.
Pine64 has quickly become 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 up later priced at $199 with more power under the hood. These machines aren’t powerful, but if you have a light enough workflow and realistic expectations, the Pro can serve as your primary machine.
Pine64 has a web store, but orders often go out in batches and sell out quickly. So if you want to get your hands on any of this hardware, make sure to follow Pine’s blog or other channels.
ThinkPenguin is a Linux supplier endorsed by the Free Software Foundation. Unlike most other companies on this list, it will not only sell you a computer with your choice of Linux distro pre-installed but also provide hardware that you can run without needing any proprietary drivers, even in the kernel.
ThinkPenguin doesn’t only supply machines. It provides a lengthy list of peripherals guaranteed to work with your Linux computers. So even if you already have a PC running Linux, 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 stickers or quirky mousepads, those are available too.
Have You Found Your New Linux Laptop?
If not, you may be surprised to know that these aren’t the only options out there. Whether you’re after a gaming rig or an old ThinkPad with all the proprietary bits removed, there’s someone catering to your particular niche.
Since Linux has now become too easy to install, it’s worth pointing out the option of browsing eBay or another second-hand source and purchasing any machine from a couple of years ago. Linux works great on older hardware and this approach also saves you money and keeps machines out of landfills.
Thinking about buying a new computer? Here’s why a used, refurbished, or pre-owned PC might be a better option for you.
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