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Where to Buy a PC Preloaded with Linux

written by: rdubas•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 2/2/2012

A look at which companies offer PCs preloaded with Linux. Looking at big names such as Dell and Asus, and also smaller 3rd party vendors such as System76, Emporer Linux, and The Linux Emporium.

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    Finding a Linux PC

    So, you've decided to take the plunge to support open-source and buy your next computer with a Linux operating system. You go to your nearest Best Buy and ask the sales kid with all the piercings, "Where are the penguins?" He shakes his head and points you to the video section where they have that documentary about the arctic birds marching about. Just like it can take a little extra time to configure Linux on your laptop, it also takes a little more work to buy a computer with the venerable free operating system. But it can be worth it.

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    They were one of the first to make a big name selling Linux computers with their portable Eee PC and Asus still offers the popular net-book which runs a customized Xandros Linux. They now offer a number of netbooks from 7" to 10" with 2 to 160 GB hardrives, bluetooth and the newest 802.11n wireless. See their product comparison chart for specifications.

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    Dell's consumer Linux offerings are powered by the popular Ubuntu 8.04 LTS. Not the newest version of the OS, Dell instead decided to stick with this more stable, longer-supported version. Of course, you can always upgrade Ubuntu to the latest version for free. Dell isn't selling out-dated machines either in an effort to move older units. High-end options include Intel dual core processors, DVD burners, and 4 GB ram. While Dell doesn't have a lot of models with Linux, they do have one in each main consumer category - a desktop, high-end laptop, mid-priced laptop, and portable netbook.

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    Other Vendors

    There are also a few websites that sell computers with pre-loaded Linux and they offer more choices than many of the big-name vendors. Linux has links to various 3rd party vendors who sell Linux machines. As a convenient touch, they also list what country they ship to, in order to help narrow your searching. sells both Asus netbooks with Linux and unbranded computers. They feature netbooks, laptops, and low-wattage, compact desktop systems. They even offer keyboards that replace that certain Redmond key with one sporting the image of a penguin or Ubuntu's logo. Nothing says you love Linux like that!

    System76 is one of the better known Linux computer vendors. They sell laptops ranging from the 12.1" Darter Ultra to the 17" Bonobo Professional with a 500 GB drive. All laptops can be fitted with 4 GBs ram, Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and bluetooth. You can also show off your OS preference at the coffee shop with their bright-colored Ubuntu laptop case badge. Desktops start with the compact Koala Mini and go up to the Wild Dog Performance featuring 1 TB drive, 8 GB of ram, and an impressive 2 GB graphic card.

    If you live in the UK, try Linux Emporium. They offer laptops and desktops with Ubuntu and also SUSE. They sell laptop brands from Asus and Lenovo, and desktops from Shuttle, which specializes in space-saving designs. Computers from Linux Emporium have one-year email support. They also sell CD sets of various Linux and BSD OS's. Unfortunately, they don't ship outside the UK.