Buying a Linux Machine - Where to Shop?

Traversing the Maze of Linux Hardware Providers

I am thinking of purchasing a new Linux machine, probably a desktop or laptop, and wanted to share the process of searching for a machine. My first thought was to simply visit Dell, HP and other standard manufacturers however I discovered a whole range of companies that I have never heard of when doing a simple search. On Google, I entered “buying linux machine” and came up with a host of new companies to consider and a great link via Slashdot to the Berkeley Linux User Groups site, Where to Buy a Preinstalled Linux Desktop/Laptop.

With all these new options I wanted to find a site comparing the machines to better evaluate these hardware providers. I discovered the Linux on Laptops site that lists manufacturers and provides links to specific information on a given machine. For example, on a Pico Envoy box running Red Hat 6.0 I am able to find a posting about the setup and configurations. Using this Linux on Laptops site I am able to see examples of machines running various Linux distributions providing me with confidence in selecting a device from the list.

I also found a site, The Novice Guide to Buying a Linux Laptop giving me information on what to consider when searching for my hardware solution. This page also gives a list of more companies to consider for purchasing. To further confuse myself, I visited the Linux community groups on Hardware and found a few groups from companies that are building hardware. For example, the System 76 company has a “group for people who have System76 computers or are thinking of getting one.” This is a great place to post questions about their products and get the information necessary to make a purchasing system.

As an open source enthusiast and Linux fan, I like the idea of purchasing a machine from a smaller manufacturer exclusively making Linux equipment. I am leaning heavily in that direction and would like to get more feedback from readers who have purchased Linux machines.

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