Dear Laptop Vendors...

By Andrew Price, 2009-07-11 01:43:33 in General.

... my parents have set me the task of selecting a laptop for them to buy, to replace their ageing desktop machine. The time frame is fairly generous: early 2010. (At this point it may be useful to note that we live in the UK). Now, listen closely because here comes the tricky part. The desktop machine has been running Ubuntu for a few years, which means they want the new laptop to run Ubuntu. No ifs, no buts. That's what they want. They're happy with Ubuntu.

Reading about David Woodhouse's painful adventures in laptop purchasing (and others') left a sour taste in my mouth. I don't want to subject my parents to a similar experience. That is, I have no interest in advising them to buy a laptop with Windows installed on it, only to tell them they'll have to contact one or more companies to request a refund, forensically and photographically document the removal of Windows from the hard disk, threaten legal action when said refund doesn't materialise and jump through the other flaming hoops involved in buying a laptop without paying for an unused copy of Windows.

The fact that my parents want Ubuntu does not necessarily mean that they want it preinstalled; it simply means that they do not want to have to pay for Windows in the first instance. Focus on that small-but-important detail.

So, laptop vendors of the UK, you have until next year to offer my parents a good customer experience.


Chad writes: They're in the US, but have a great service department. I'm sure they'll be willing to ship to the UK. They sell some really nice machines (desktop & notebook) preloaded with Ubuntu. The notebooks are well set up, and all of the expected features work.

2009-07-11 03:18:33

Andy writes:

Hi Chad, yes I've heard (good things) of System76. I'd prefer to stick to UK vendors though for several reasons: after-sales support convenience, UK keyboard, three-prong 240V power supply, shipping cost avoidance, etc. I hope they manage to branch out to the UK.

2009-07-11 03:39:12

The Open Sourcerer writes:

Do look at our site called We have a growing list of vendors who supply without *any* OS and several will pre-install your preferred flavour of GNU/Linux too.



2009-07-11 10:45:09

kad writes:

I was about to suggest, but they are from the US, intl shipping though.

2009-07-11 20:12:48

JohnCC writes:

I've never used them but I believe sell laptops with no OS and some people swear by them as a vendor.

2009-07-12 23:20:05

Andy writes:

Thanks all for your comments. Novatech looks promising - they even have a retail outlet in my home city. Perhaps I'll pay them a visit and see if they'll let me stick a liveCD in their display laptops :-)

2009-07-12 23:36:00

Eric writes:

Dell actually sells computers with Ubuntu.

2009-07-13 00:20:33

Andy writes:

Dell seems to only offer one netbook with Ubuntu on it from their UK site. We're not aiming to get a netbook but if we were I suspect we'd want more choice in hardware than that ;-)

2009-07-13 00:31:38

john smith writes:

Inspiron Mini 10v

N-Series Intel® Atom™ Processor N270 (1.60GHz, 533MHz, 512K cache)

Ubuntu 8.04

10.1" Widescreen WSVGA with Truelife (1024x576)

Integrated Intel® Graphic Media Accelerator 950

1024MB 533MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM

8GB Solid State Hard Drive

Black back cover

1Yr Limited Warranty - Collect & Return


2009-07-13 08:03:58

ikkefc3 writes:

Laptop vendors actually get sponsored if they install Windows+ the usual trialware. So if you don't want it, you will probably pay more. If you buy a Windows laptop and you ask for a refund, there is actually a chance of paying some less money for your laptop. Otherwise, it would be more expensive.

2009-07-13 10:37:41

Anon writes:

So you gave up on Linux and gave them OSX? :P

2010-08-22 22:22:50