6 Benefits of Getting Your Computer From a Linux PC Maker

6 Benefits of Getting Your Computer From a Linux PC Maker
6 Benefits of Getting Your Computer From a Linux PC Maker

You may not see Linux on any computer in a big brick-and-mortar store, but there are plenty of companies that will sell you a PC with Linux pre-installed online. Although these retailers often have higher prices, these companies are worth seeking out when considering your next purchase. These are some of the reasons why.

1. Your hardware is guaranteed to work

The computers you buy at a big box store are designed to work with the operating system they came with. That usually means Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, or Google’s ChromeOS.

There’s a decent chance it could replace the pre-installed OS with Linux, but this isn’t something the manufacturer intends or supports. The fact that many people can do this successfully is a testament to what the Linux community has been able to accomplish, but the process is still not without its risks.

Sometimes your hardware will not work well. Sound may not work, your computer may not resume reliably, or your system may not detect Wi-Fi networks.

When you buy from a Linux PC manufacturer, you eliminate risk. You know that your computer will work fine with Linux. Even if you decide not to stick with the pre-installed version, you know that any other version of Linux will still work. This can feel quite liberating.

2. You support the Linux ecosystem

Linux is an operating system that anyone can download, install, and even make changes to for free. This has led many people around the world to use Linux to create great things. But when it comes to the desktop experience, there isn’t as much money floating around. Much of the software comes from volunteers who contribute code out of passion, working on other life responsibilities.

When a company ships computers that come with Linux, they invest in providing a good experience for their customers. If there are bugs, they are more inclined to try to fix them. They can create software to fill in the gaps.

These companies all take different approaches:

  • Purism it prefers to contribute code upstream, which is part of the reason that PureOS doesn’t seem all that different from Debian. Purism has spearheaded efforts to make GNOME Software mobile-friendly and has developed other code that various communities have adopted to help make traditional Linux work on a phone.
  • System76 it is geared downwards to make a desirable experience on the machines it specifically sells, however this code remains open sourced for anyone to use. This has helped distinguish Pop!_OS from Ubuntu. System76 sometimes sends patches upstream to fix bugs they find.
  • star labs It may not employ as many developers, but the company contributes a portion of some purchases to the communities that make the Linux distributions available on their machines.

3. You invest in your values

Many of us have increasingly bitter views of the tech giants. Apple, Google, and Microsoft collect information about how you use your machine (though Apple does less than the other two). All three also operate monopolies on their platforms (here, Apple does more than the other two).

If you value free and open source software, or the broader concept of ethical software in general, the big proprietary operating systems don’t offer you the option of voting with your wallet.

When you buy from a Linux PC maker, you’re investing your money in the kind of computing ecosystem you’d rather see. These are companies that see the value of the free software community and contribute to its development. Nor are they big enough to lobby governments and shape legislation to favor their interests over ours.

4. Buy small, buy local

When it comes to technology, we rarely have the option to buy local. Whether online or offline, these products are usually available at various retail chains. You can’t go to the farmer’s market and buy a laptop or a server.

These technological devices come from massive conglomerates. The operating system comes from a tech giant, the laptop comes from a massive corporation, and the story of servers or phones is no different.

Dedicated Linux hardware companies operate on a different scale. Often these are small businesses with relatively few employees.

In some cases, these companies may also be closer to your corner of the world. If you live in Europe, based in Germany TUXEDO computers o UK-based Star Labs let you buy a computer from a company that doesn’t operate outside of the US or Asia. Even in the US, buying from System76 allows you to get a computer from a company that works in Denver, Colorado.

5. Improve your privacy

You are also investing in companies and communities that value your privacy and are not building business plans based on collecting data and selling ads. In a sense, you are giving money to the people who see your computer, not you, as the product they are selling.

Linux comes with real privacy benefits over its proprietary counterparts. No need to create an online account. No one logs what software you install or how you use your apps. In the vast majority of distributions, there is no telemetry at all. You will be able to use your computer with greater peace of mind.

6. Better customer service

If you have a problem with a computer you bought at a big box store, you usually can’t take the computer to the store for help. The manufacturer might have a support forum. If there’s a number you can call for support, you can expect to talk to a machine, and then get through to someone who may actually know less about the PC than you do.

With many small Linux PC manufacturers, you can expect to reach out to someone who will take the time to help you fix your problem. This is often done via email or a live chat system, but the interest is there. Sometimes they’ll even walk you through opening up your machine and doing the repair yourself if you think you’re up to the task.

There are plenty of Linux PC manufacturers to choose from

You might be surprised how many companies have gotten into the business of selling computers that come with Linux. Some send their own custom distribution. Others will install the version of Linux of their choice. Some are aimed at commercial use, while others have options for players. Chances are, there’s a PC out there for you with Linux pre-installed and ready to go.

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