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How to find out if your PC is compatible with Linux

Chris Hoffman | Aug. 27, 2015
Can your PC run Linux? Probably. But here's how to find out for sure.

Just buy a PC designed for Linux

But let’s back up. You don’t need to dig through hardware compatibility databases to buy a PC you know will be compatible with Linux anymore. Many PC manufacturers offer laptops and desktops with Linux preinstalled. This means that those PCs are guaranteed to work properly with Linux. You can often even save some money when buying these—a Windows license isn’t included, so you’re avoiding the “Microsoft tax” you usually have to pay when buying a PC for Linux.

Dell offers a line of Linux PCs, from affordable sub-$300 Inspiron laptops all the way up to the XPS 13 ultrabook and Precision M3800 MacBook Pro-competitor. Dell’s Linux laptops are nothing to sneeze at, either; the XPS 13 is one of the best lightweight laptops you can buy.

System76 is well-known in the Ubuntu community and sells a variety of laptops and desktop PCs with Ubuntu pre-installed. (The laptop at the top of this page comes from System76.) ZaReason offers a similar line of Linux PCs with a choice of Linux distribution—or none at all. Linux Mint is partnering with a hardware manufacturer to sell a “MintBox Mini” PC. You can install your favorite Linux distribution afterwards, of course.

LinuxPreloaded.com provides a more comprehensive list of other manufacturers offering Linux PCs and where they ship to around the world. In the past, Linux geeks could only dream of having so many options.

 

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