Buying a Linux laptop - without paying the Microsoft Tax

Tags: laptop, linux, microsoft,

Added: 2009-02-23T20:12

Buying a Linux laptop - without paying the Microsoft Tax

So. The time has come for me to buy a laptop. I want it for coding, development, and various other bits and bobs. And of course, I have no intention of running anything other than Linux on it.

I've used an HP for a year or two, and a Dell D620, and I've thought that the Dell was pretty good (apart from a really odd problem developing towards the last few months whereby when it was cold (i.e. just turned on after a night's shutdown) it would actually run really slowly. I mean everything. The POST, the boot loader, booting into the OS, running apps, everything. However, if I left it running for 5-10 minutes, and powered it off, and straight back up again, it ran fine, at normal speed. I guess it's something to do with the CPU speed detection, but I could only find one other post on the net about it.)

I want 4GB of RAM, a 250+GB disk, and bluetooth, WLAN, a GFX and a soundcard that all work natively in Linux. I also refuse to pay "the Microsoft Tax" - the £70 or so that is added onto the price to cover the Windows costs, and also that provide a huge chunk of Microsoft's profits.

This presents a problem. Some manufacturers do offer laptops without Windows (e.g. ), but it's usually a limited range of offerings, and now, with the "netbook" craze, it is sometimes limited to those only.

So, the options are: To find a decent laptop, which doesn't come with Windows, and is cheaper than the equivalent one with Windows. Or, failing that, and with a heavy heart, to look into the Windows Refund situation. However, I am loathe to do this. As you can see from those results thrown up by Google, it's usually a fairly tricky, lengthy process.

So, after trawling round manufacturers' websites, including the useless Acer one (go to , click Products, and then Notebooks - what use is a big list of all the laptops - where is the option to filter by memory, options, etc?), I decided to send them all an email.


I am looking to buy a laptop, but as I am a Linux user, I am not
prepared to pay "The Microsoft Tax" - i.e. the part of the price that
includes the cost of the Windows licence.

Do you have a range of laptops that come (cheaper) either without an
OS installed, or with some Linux distro installed?

Many thanks for your reply.

I had two replies on the first day. One from Lenovo (formerly IBM) saying:

I'm afraid we don't do any notebooks with Linux, and all of our machines will come with a Vista OS installed.


The other was from Dell.

Dear Customer

Please call the sales team on 08444445219 press 1 then 1 again for
outlet sales they can advise you

Kind regards

I'll be giving that a go tomorrow, and seeing what they can do.

posted by Calum on 2009-02-23T20:12 under



so what happened?


Yeah, what did they say?!


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