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Talexe
May 10th, 2010, 07:37 PM
Hello! :)

I'm going to university soon. That means leaving my desktop computer at home and buying a laptop for general computer use.

Overall, I'm a fan of Ubuntu and open-source; it would be great to use it on my laptop. However, there seem to be a few key problems I've found in my as yet brief research.

Almost all new laptops come with Windows 7 pre-installed. If I plan on (almost) exclusively using Ubuntu, the money spent on this license, the 'Windows Tax', is a waste.
A small proportion of laptops are sold with Linux pre-installed. However, these seem to be primarily low-end, while I would prefer a mid-range laptop to suit general needs.
Due to the limited variety, the best (most critically acclaimed) laptops are often absent.

The only solution I can see - to get rid of the existing, expensive OS and install Ubuntu - seems irrational for a beginner/intermediate user like me, in spite of the virtues of Linux and open source.

I understand that by posting this on a Linux forum, responses will come from a strongly pro-Linux viewpoint. Regardless; is it sensible to get Linux on a laptop? Is the choice of so-called 'Linux Laptops' sufficient? Or, as a user with relatively limited technical ability, would Windows 7 be the more sensible choice?

mikewhatever
May 10th, 2010, 08:33 PM
You may benefit from W7 in college, in fact, will probably be required to use a version of Windows. As for getting a more specific advice, you'll benefit from revealing your whereabouts in the world.

Talexe
May 10th, 2010, 08:53 PM
I live in London and will be studying somewhere in England. I'd be news to me if you had to run Windows, but I guess it would simplify my dilemma somewhat!

dalee
May 10th, 2010, 08:56 PM
Hi,

I think I would tend to agree with mikewhatever. You may well be better off dual booting between the two OS's. Depending on your classes, you may need run a Windows only program.

The MS tax isn't so high that you can't afford it on a new computer, even as a poor student.

dalee

mikewhatever
May 10th, 2010, 09:04 PM
Hi,

I think I would tend to agree with mikewhatever. You may well be better off dual booting between the two OS's. Depending on your classes, you may need run a Windows only program.

The MS tax isn't so high that you can't afford it on a new computer, even as a poor student.

dalee

Actually, I think MS tax is ridiculously and outrageously high. :P Too bad it's so hard to avoid, especially if you are a student.

Talexe, if Windows is not required at the college you are going to, take a look at http://www.linuxemporium.co.uk/products/laptops/.

Method X
May 10th, 2010, 09:07 PM
1. Do not delete preinstalled Windows. You can use it for some practises at university, games, e.t.c.. Alternative OS makes you stronger.

2. Forget about preinstalled Linux. I bought a netbook some years ago, with preinstalled Suse linux. Great OS, but it was preinstalled horrible.

Have fun with your new notebook.

cph05a
May 10th, 2010, 09:13 PM
I'm currently a student in the US and I've been running linux on my laptop for about 3 years now. I'd say about 99% of the time, I never need any MS software. Having said that, if they have nice laptops with windows preinstalled, you might as well duel boot just in case. Hard drive space is cheap these days anyway.

In my case, I'm a Software Engineering major and the two times I've needed microsoft software was in a project management class, where I ran MS Project in Crossover, and a class which used XNA (for the XBox 360), where I duel booted for a bit.

pricetech
May 10th, 2010, 09:23 PM
The "ms tax" really isn't that high since ms makes it cheap for the OEMs so it will be installed everywhere. I doubt you'd save enough to be worth the trouble of getting a laptop without it. Besides, the vendor is unlikely to support it with anything besides windows on it, in case you have a problem.

I'd recommend dual boot. Just give Ubuntu half your hard drive and use it as much as you can. That way you still have windows in case you need to work out anything under Ubuntu and you'll have it for school if it's needed.

Just remember to defrag windows before you start and let it run its scandisk the first time you boot into windows after you resize the partition.

Have fun and learn stuff.

Mitchell Hale
May 10th, 2010, 09:45 PM
http://www.system76.com/

They got some fairly high end ones.
If you need Windows you MIGHT be able to use WINE.
And you could always obtain it "legally".

mikewhatever
May 10th, 2010, 09:56 PM
http://www.system76.com/

They got some fairly high end ones.
If you need Windows you MIGHT be able to use WINE.
And you could always obtain it "legally".

To bad they only ship in USA and Canada, while the OP is in England. ;)

akand074
May 10th, 2010, 10:09 PM
I'm pretty sure you can have any laptop you want pre-installed with Ubuntu with Dell. Saves you the money for the license for Windows. But I doubt you'll never need Windows, I only use Windows on my laptop for University though I'm currently working on setting it up so I have everything I need on Linux and the few windows applications I would like to use to have working through Wine so I don't need Windows any more (I would still keep it for last resort, when it comes to school I can't take chances). About the guy that said don't get Linux pre-installed because its pre-installed terribly Linux is free..... reinstall it yourself the whole point is to not pay for the Windows license.

Talexe
May 10th, 2010, 10:35 PM
Thanks for all the information and advice! Dual booting seems like the sensible option. Will sharing the hard drive have any impact on performance when running either OS?

Mitchell Hale
May 10th, 2010, 11:09 PM
Thanks for all the information and advice! Dual booting seems like the sensible option. Will sharing the hard drive have any impact on performance when running either OS?

Shouldn't.
Except of course you won't have as much drive space, but that's a given.

mikewhatever
May 10th, 2010, 11:36 PM
I'm pretty sure you can have any laptop you want pre-installed with Ubuntu with Dell. Saves you the money for the license for Windows. But I doubt you'll never need Windows, I only use Windows on my laptop for University though I'm currently working on setting it up so I have everything I need on Linux and the few windows applications I would like to use to have working through Wine so I don't need Windows any more (I would still keep it for last resort, when it comes to school I can't take chances). About the guy that said don't get Linux pre-installed because its pre-installed terribly Linux is free..... reinstall it yourself the whole point is to not pay for the Windows license.

What's the source of such confidence in Dell? The company used to offer a few notebook models with Ubuntu in North America, mind you, not any model, but even these are not available any more. Anyway, North America, England, don't see the connection.

akand074
May 11th, 2010, 06:24 AM
What's the source of such confidence in Dell? The company used to offer a few notebook models with Ubuntu in North America, mind you, not any model, but even these are not available any more. Anyway, North America, England, don't see the connection.

Its not really any confidence at all, I just said that I thought you could. I browsed through their site and also I have a friend that used to work for Dell and he told me a story about how Dell offered Ubuntu as an alternative to Windows to customers explaining that it would save her money and that they have great alternative open-source software to use and this one particular woman thought it was a good idea and decided to take Ubuntu. Later she complained about how Microsoft Office would not install on it and tried to get her money back and was on the news about it. That was a couple years back but I just figured if they offered that woman Ubuntu then its possible that you can ask for Ubuntu instead on any model and thought he could look into it. I don't really see why a different country would make such a big difference, Dell computers are sold in England although different countries have different models of laptops I don't see how the OS would matter. Any ways it was just a suggestion. The OP already concluded that it would be best to keep both operating systems. Which I personally think would probably be a good idea for University.

EDIT: For the sake of it I searched Ubuntu in the dell website in my country and in England and I got the same results for laptops, mind you only about two laptops showed up but that's just a quick search.