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The search for the Linux Laptop

I'm in the market for a simple laptop - something I can do web and flash based things on, check my email, stuff like that. So I'm searching around, and I see that Dell has a $500 notebook that's plenty powerful enough, light and etc. It also comes with Vista Home Premium, which at this point I'm not really interested in. I know I'll have to make the switch eventually, but I'm not really ready to do it now I think.

Anyway, this gets me thinking - the license for Vista alone must be half the cost of that setup - so I wondered what I could find in a simple Linux laptop...

A bit of (non exhaustive) searching later, and I was dismayed. Linux laptops for $1600? I figured I'd be better off buying thing $500 Dell and wiping the drive and installing Ubuntu myself.

IS there someplace the specializes in non-os, or Linux OS laptops geared towards end users? Or am I dreaming to think that a "free" OS is going to actually lower the cost of the computer?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 23rd, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
I know that the Asus eee is running a Linux OS; I don't know how much power or screen you need for what you want to do on it, but it's a starting place.
Jul. 23rd, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
I'd recommend looking for slightly older models and seeing if you can get them on clearance. They are more likely to have all the drivers available and will be just as powerful (if not more) than they would under WinDoze.

The license cost per retail PC for Vista is actually fairly negligible. The expense when buying an OEM version standalone is due to lack of bulk pricing and to keep build-your-owns from undercutting bundled system vendors.
Jul. 23rd, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Linux is harder to get working on a laptop than on a desktop machine, because the hardware is more idiosyncratic. I have a Gateway that limps along with Mepis; it doesn't reliably do sound and I never got its internal wireless working. There must be something better.

The economics are such that manufacturers don't really save by offering an OS-free laptop; what they save on licenses is lost on the small volume of the separate line. Some company may have found a way to offer a laptop minus Windows and pass the savings on, but most haven't.
Jul. 23rd, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
I tried installing Ubuntu 7.10 -- Gutsy Gibbon -- on a Dell Latitude CPx laptop. It worked fine, except for when I installed the wireless network card and the modem card. It would search for a wireless network for 60 seconds, then stop. It wouldn't recognize the modem card.

If you have plenty of time to futz with hardware, do as bedlamhouse suggested and find a closeout laptop.

Jul. 23rd, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
If Dell pay even $50 for a Vista Home Premium licence I'd be totally surprised.

You should be able to get a second-hand laptop that does all that for under $300 I'd have thought. Certainly can in the UK.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )