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Best Linux Laptops

Updated on July 13, 2015

An Open Source Laptop Solution

There are tons of advantages to installing Linux on your PC or laptop, but for me the situation was borne out of frustration. I bought a Sony Vaio laptop in 2007 with a brand new install of....windows vista. It was a terrible operating system: it frequently froze, would restart without warning, and not load properly. Needless to say I started looking for solutions: and that's where I first learned about Linux. Now, six years later, my Sony Vaio is still working, and runs like a breeze. But it's come time to upgrade to a new laptop. In testing out a few new models, I've found a list of laptops that work well with a Linux OS.

There are a few new problems for us open-source software lovers: Windows 8 tries to prevent 'dual-booting', where you can have two operating systems at the same time. Many PC laptop makers have touchscreens now, and only a few versions of Linux are able to work with a touchscreen. Hopefully this guide will help you avoid potential mistakes when it comes to choosing your new device.

Image Credit: Matthew Simpson

best ubuntu laptops - acer
best ubuntu laptops - acer

3 Tips When Shopping for a Linux Laptop:

Image Credit: Acer 11.6" Chromebook available at Amazon.com

Compatibility - Each laptop works differently, and Linux works better on some laptops. Ubuntu (a version of Linux) has a list of certified hardware that's been proven to work seamlessly with Ubuntu.

Price - When you buy a computer, you are in part paying for the Windows OS (which you'll never use). Buying a laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed is a great way to save money right off the bat!

Touchscreen Compatible? - Most PC's are touchscreens now, and not every Linux version is optimized to get the most out of a touchscreen. Make sure you get the most current version of your chosen operating system.

A Crowd-Sourced Poll (is there any other kind?)

Have you ever used Linux before?

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1. Touchscreen Laptops that come with Ubuntu

Some of the criticisms of Windows 8 have led PC makers like Asus to release Windows and Ubuntu versions of their touchscreen laptops. The advantages of getting a pre-installed Ubuntu computer is that you don't have to pay for the Windows OS (only to uninstall it). As a result the Ubuntu versions tend to be $80-$100 cheaper than the regular models.

2. Install Linux on a Chromebook

Chromebooks are Google's new entry into the laptop market. They don't run windows, but instead run their own operating system called Chrome OS. Chrome is actually based on Linux, so installing it is easy. Another advantage is that Chromebooks are mostly cheaper than other laptops, despite having similar equipment inside.

Here's a great step by step guide from How-to Geek for installing Ubuntu on your Chromebook:

Install Ubuntu on your Chromebook

Google Chromebook Pixel 2013 (WiFi) with 12.85" LCD Display Intel i5-3427U 4GB DDR3 RAM and 32GB SSD
Google Chromebook Pixel 2013 (WiFi) with 12.85" LCD Display Intel i5-3427U 4GB DDR3 RAM and 32GB SSD

This is the most expensive Chromebook, but it is Google's answer to the MacBook Air. In fact, in < a href = "http://gizmodo.com/5986747/google-chromebook-pixel-awesome-just-not-1300-worth-of-awesome">Gizmodo's Review of the Pixel, they said it was a beautiful ultrabook held back by the Chrome OS. So if you want an open-source version of the MacBook Air, the Chromebook Pixel is your best bet.

 
Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch) - Silver (Certified Refurbished)
Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch) - Silver (Certified Refurbished)

Samsung's Chromebooks are thin, light and have a bright, detailed display. This version is wi-fi only, but there is also a 3G enabled version of this same Chromebook (you can select it once you click through).

 

3. Install Linux on a MacBook Pro (or MacBook Air)

Since Apple's famous Mac OSX operating system is based on Linux, all of Apple's famous devices are able to handle Ubuntu. If you need to add Linux to your MacBook Pro for a computer science class or something, you can follow this guide to dual booting.

4. Find Ubuntu-Installed Laptops on eBay

Of course eBay is a place where people sell used goods, so there's plenty of people who take old laptops, install Ubuntu and then sell those laptops on eBay. There's even rare versions of Dell and Toshiba laptops that came with Ubuntu pre-installed.

Here's to the Open-Source Community! - All questions and comments are welcome!

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