Give the Gift of Pre-Installed Linux This Year

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Dec 24, 2006 9:05 AM EDT; By D.C. Parris
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LXer Feature: 24-Dec-2006

With Christmas around the corner, you'll be glad to know that you can check out over 100 vendors around the globe who offer desktop and notebook computers with GNU/Linux pre-installed. Put another way, LXer's Pre-Installed Linux Vendor database is now available!

A few months back, LXer reader, cyber_rigger, began compiling a list of vendors who offer GNU/Linux pre-installed. The list quickly grew, even drawing attention from other news outlets. Meanwhile, the LXer team went to work to produce a usable database that anyone can browse and search. We still have one or two features to implement, but users can quickly and easily browse the Pre-Installed Linux Vendor Database of 106 vendors. All vendors in the list offer reasonably-priced desktops and/or notebooks for home and office users, and either offer Linux only, or as an installation option on the system configuration page of their sites.

GNU/Linux For Non-Techies

Typically, when people plan to buy a PC, they shop the major retailers and the web, looking for the best deals they can find. What they normally see is Windows pre-installed. Many people don't realize they have a choice, or the advantages of any given option. What's more, once the person buys a PC, they subsequently discover that they have to pay even more money - often well beyond their budget - to get additional programs. Then there are the security risks inherent with the Windows family of operating systems. Even with a fully-patched system with anti-virus, you still have to acquire anti-spam, anti-spyware and related software to stay relatively safe in an Internet-connected world. For many non-technical users, Windows just isn't worth the hassle.

Until now, it has been difficult to find computer retailers that offer GNU/Linux pre-installed. Now, however, you can browse LXer's database to find vendors, whether you need one in Turkey, other parts of Europe, Australia, or the United States. You can find laptops, desktops, or even workstations for your business. At least one vendor even offers Myth TV systems. Some vendors, admittedly, are more focused on small to medium sized businesses, but many are open to consumers as well. You will also find a range of GNU/Linux OS distributions, so you can pick the right one for your family member. For computing enthusiasts, there are even vendors who simply offer no operating system at all. Unlike Dell, which charges more for an OS-less PC, most of these vendors offer their 'no OS' PCs at a lower cost.

About The Database

If you know where to look, you can find a computer with GNU/Linux pre-installed from Dell. The trick is, you have to know where to look. Most of the vendors in LXer's database either offer GNU/Linux exclusively, or allow you to choose your operating system from the configuration options. There is little need to hassle with where to find the Linux computers. In some cases, you may find special instructions to help you along. The database is very easy to browse, and is aimed at helping non-technical users find just the right PC. Additionally, you'll discover that many vendors are willing to provide further customization, even if they don't advertise that fact. Whether or not that costs extra depends on the vendor.

It might interest you to know that cyber_rigger even did a little research to find out which are the most offered GNU/Linux OSes. Desktops and notebooks have slightly different reigning distros. In the desktop category, Ubuntu (18%), SUSE (14%), Fedora (13%), Linspire (13.5%), and Red Hat (8%) led the list. For notebooks, it was Ubuntu (22%), SUSE (16.9%), Fedora (16.9%), Debian (8.5%) and Red Hat (8.5%). As this only accounts for what is offered, we can't be sure yet which are the most requested distributions. Still, it gives a rough idea of what the shops are willing to offer. Also, our database tells you if the vendor advertises GNU/Linux on the front page. You might consider letting those vendors know how appreciative you are.

We had planned to allow users to filter by model (desktop or notebook). as well as on 'no OS' computers (for enthusiasts). Unfortunately, we ran into a snag, and will add that functionality in later. For now, though, you can browse the database, based on the distributions offered, and the vendor's country. If you don't see a GNU/Linux distribution listed in the appropriate column, the vendor is probably a 'no OS' vendor, although one or two vendors did not say which GNU/Linux distribution they were offering. Currently, the only way to add vendors is by submitting the appropriate information to the editorial team.

You have been planning to give someone a Linux box for Christmas. Or maybe you want to help someone buy one for their family. You didn't want to recommend Dell or Circuit City, and you just didn't know where else to look. Just click the 'Products' link in the top menu on our site. Be sure to do your homework though. Just because a vendor is in our database doesn't mean they provide great service, or even that we approve of them. It just means you have one more choice that you didn't have before. Also, if you find our information inaccurate, please do let us know.


» Read more about: Groups: Debian, LXer, Fedora, Red Hat, SUSE, Linspire, GNU, PHP, Ubuntu, Linux; Story Type: News Story

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