A Guide To Buying A Linux Laptop

It goes without saying that if you go to a computer store downtown to buy a new laptop, you will be offered a notebook with Windows preinstalled, or a Mac. Either way, you’ll be forced to pay an extra fee – either for a Microsoft license or for the Apple logo on the back.

On the other hand, you have the option to buy a laptop and install a distribution of your choice. However, the hardest part may be to find the right hardware that will get along nicely with the operating system.

On top of that, we also need to consider the availability of drivers for the hardware. So what do you do? The answer is simple: buy a laptop with Linux preinstalled.

Fortunately, there are several respectable vendors that offer high-quality, well-known brands and distributions and ensure you will not have to worry about the availability of drivers.

That said, in this article we will list the top 3 machines of our choice based on the intended usage.

Linux Laptops For Home Users

If you are looking for a laptop that can run an office suite, a modern web browser such as Firefox or Chrome, and has Ethernet/Wifi connectivity, System76 allows you to design your future laptop by choosing the processor type, RAM / storage size, and accessories.

On top of that, System76 provides Ubuntu lifetime support for all of their laptop models. If this sounds like something that sparks some interest in you, checkout the Lemur or Gazelle laptops.

Lemur Laptop for Linux
Lemur Laptop for Linux
Gazelle Laptop for Linux
Gazelle Laptop for Linux

Linux Laptops For Developers

If you are looking for a reliable, nice-looking, and robust laptop for development tasks, you may want to consider Dell’s XPS 13 Laptops.

This 13-inch beauty features a full HD display and a touchscreen Prices vary depending on the processor generation / model (Intel’s 7th generation i5 and i7), the solid state drive size (128 to 512 GB), and the RAM size (8 to 16 GB).

Dells XPS Laptop for Linux
Dells XPS Laptop for Linux

These are very important considerations to take into account and Dell has gotten you covered. Unfortunately, the only Linux distribution that is backed by Dell ProSupport on this model is Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (at the time of this writing – December 2016).

Linux Laptops for System Administrators

Although system administrators can safely undertake the task of installing a distribution on bare-metal hardware, you can avoid the hassle of searching for available drivers by checking out other offers by System76.

Since you can choose the features of your laptop, being able to add processing power and up to 32 GB of RAM will ensure you can run virtualized environments on and perform all imaginable system administration tasks with it.

If this sounds like something that sparks some interest in you, checkout the Kudu or Oryx Pro laptops.

Kudu Linux Laptop
Kudu Linux Laptop
Oryx Pro Linux Laptop
Oryx Pro Linux Laptop

In this article we have discussed why buying a laptop with Linux preinstalled is a good option for both home users, developers, and system administrators. Once you have made your choice, feel free to relax and think about what you are going to do with the money you saved.

Can you think of other tips for buying a Linux laptop? Please let us know using the comment form below.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below if you have questions or comments about this article. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Gabriel Cánepa
Gabriel Cánepa is a GNU/Linux sysadmin and web developer from Villa Mercedes, San Luis, Argentina. He works for a worldwide leading consumer product company and takes great pleasure in using FOSS tools to increase productivity in all areas of his daily work.

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  1. Bought a Linux laptop from them and came very well tested. Could play movies, video and Warcraft out of the box. Never had an issue. Solid as a rock!

  2. These companies are the hallmarks for keeping Linux viable in a world where a lot of people lack a decent sized attention span. LoL! I like System76’s designs and hardware, and I’m still on the fence as to whether I should go for one of their high-end models or the middle-of-the-road offerings. I’m also in the market for a desktop and they seem to have all the bases covered there as well.

  3. There is one more option for Linux laptops. The guys at https://puri.sm have a 13″ and a 15″ models. The hardware that is included in these laptops is only that for which open source drivers and firmwares are available. They also have their own distribution, called PureOS, which is based on Debian.


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