Enlarge (credit: Scott Gilbertson)
The Linux world has long maintained a very specific rite of passage: wiping the default operating system from your laptop and plugging in a USB stick with your favorite distro’s live CD. Some of us get a little, dare I say, giddy every time we wipe that other OS away and see that first flash of GRUB.
Of course, rites of passage are supposed to be one-time events. Once you’ve wiped Windows or OS X a time or two, that giddiness vanishes—replaced by a feeling of annoyance, a kind of tax on being a Linux user.
In recent years, the PC industry has finally spawned a few manufacturers offering up machines with Linux pre-installed to eliminate this issue. By this point, I’ve tested most of them around Ars: Dell’s XPS and Precision lines both have Linux-friendly offerings, and dedicated Linux manufacturers like System76 have long offered decent hardware with Linux pre-installed. In all this testing, I’ve yet to encounter a driver problem, which is the real benefit of a machine with Linux pre-installed. (Though to be fair, I could say the same for the Lenovo x240 that serves as my daily driver.)
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