Buying A Computer With Linux Preinstalled

Linux is a great operating system. But realistically, not everyone wants to install it from a DVD or ISO file. During installation, there’s often hardware capability problems that are difficult to resolve. Instead, you might consider buying a computer Linux installed on it, ready to go. Unfortunately, Linux computers are rarely available from large retail outlets. This is because large computer manufacturers (such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo) only really market Linux computers to businesses.

Dell, which at one time did a good job of supporting Ubuntu Linux, has made it very hard to pre-order Linux-powered PCs. Asus offers a limited range of Linux computers — you can find one available on Amazon here.

Beyond that, you’re going to have to order one from niche retailers that specialize in building Linux machines. Luckily, these vendors are well-regarded and have been in business for number of years (some were even started in the 1990s). If you are new to Linux, I would suggest getting a machine with the Ubuntu or Mint Linux installed.

Listed below are some vendors that specialize in Linux computers.

Update: Here’s another vendor that looks good too: Ohava Computers.


Eight Virtues

Eight Virtues is a Georgia-based business builds its own AMD-powered desktops and Intel-powered notebooks. On these you can either pick their customized Ubuntu Linux; or a variety of others. Their list of ready-to-go Linux distributions includes: CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Sabayon Linux or Linux Mint.

Eight Virtues prices tend to be a bit lower than other Linux-specific desktop resellers. Many of the others aim for power-users looking for high-end hardware.

Emperor Linux

Emperor Linux has been in the Linux PC business since the 1990s. These days they sell high-end Dell Latitude and Lenovo ThinkPad laptops. You get your choice of their own house-brand Emperor Linux, which is based on Fedora, or you can opt for Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED), openSUSE, Fedora, Debian or SlackWare. They also offer not just the current versions, but older ones as well. At Emperor Linux, you really can have your Linux PC your way.

Los Alamos Computers

Los Alamos Computers also specializes in high-end Linux-powered laptops and computers. They offer Lenovo ThinkCenter, ThinkStation, and ThinkPad T and X series laptops. On these, you can get a selection of Linux desktop distributions including Fedora 15; Ubuntu 11.04 and 10.10; and the nothing but free-software Tisquel Linux distro.


It’s a toss-up between System76 or ZaReason as to which is the better known of the Linux-specific desktop companies. Both are very good and they’ve earned their reputations as being outstanding computer vendors. System76 builds their own laptops and desktops. On all their platforms, they only offer Ubuntu 11.04. They tend to be very solid and well-made.


ZaReason also offers laptops, desktops, and servers that they’ve build themselves. Like system76, they offer a range of systems from the inexpensive to the Chimera. ZaReason calls this last one the most powerful Ubuntu laptop around. On these machines, ZaReason offers Ubuntu and some of its variations such as Kubuntu, with its KDE desktop.

Comments 2

  1. Chromebooks have become popular recently, it might be a good idea to review Chromebooks, it is Linux under the hood after all and comes pre loaded.

    In fact an article comparing chrome OS to Ubuntu on pre loaded systems would be an interesting analysis.

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