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Re: Laptop Recommendations?

Tim Wescott wrote:
I need a new laptop, and if possible I want to get one without paying for Windows.

After looking around the web and asking locally, I've found two sources of laptops that come new with Linux loaded. One is Linux Certified, the other Emperor Linux. Linux Certified has name-brand laptops (Lenovo) at very attractive prices. Emperor Linux has rebranded laptops at premium prices, but they come very highly recommended.

Does anyone have any mileage with either of these vendors?

I ordered a "Rhino" system (Dell Latitude D800) from EmperorLinux 2 1/2 years ago -- still working great. I had them install Debian on it, which I believe at the time was some combo of testing and unstable in order to get all the hardware working correctly.

I thought they were very responsive to tech support issues. They give you a nice little manual with it as well. They also have the ability to login to your laptop and do some maintenance for you if you're *really* stuck -- only after you run a script to give them an ssh tunnel (I wouldn't want to create the impression that their systems come root compromised or anything!).

In the end, I wondered if it was worth the extra money. I probably won't order another laptop from them in the future because my sysadmin skills have improved enough that I think I could handle the setup, kernel tweaking, etc., myself. But 2 1/2 years ago I wasn't as familiar with Debian and/or general Linux admin as I am now, and having everything working out of the box was very nice.

The only regret I have had about it was I didn't make the laptop dual boot with the Windows install that came with it. I wanted to force myself to have a clean break from M$-land and I didn't want the crutch there. However, Dell won't support Linux on their laptops so if you have a hardware issue you can end up SOL. It's probably worth getting a larger hard drive and keeping a Dell-supported OS on there as a dual boot option just so you can verify that any problems you're having are not hardware related. But if you're more hardware savvy than I am, that might not be an issue for you (this is my first laptop I've ever owned).

Overall, my experiences with EmperorLinux were positive. Although they are pricey if you already have the admin skills necessary to make Linux nice on a laptop.

Oh, and you're not really getting a laptop "without paying for Windows" when you order from EmperorLinux (unless things have changed). But on the plus side I was able to make my paid-for Window$ license work for me in a VMWare virtual machine that I can fire up on this laptop if I really need to.

Rick Reynolds
"If you have any trouble sounding condescending, find a Unix user to show you how it's done" -- Scott Adams

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