Also see: Ubuntu Laptop Buying Guide
Getting a new laptop is always fun, no matter which OS you prefer. However, getting Ubuntu installed on a new notebook can be a hit or miss process. Despite those who downplay the compatibility issue, installing Ubuntu on a laptop designed for Windows doesn't always go as planned.
In this article, we'll examine the advantages and disadvantages of laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed, laptops without an OS installed and putting Ubuntu on laptops with Windows installed.
When you wander into a big box store or order a laptop from a popular national vendor, chances are excellent you're going to end up with a laptop that has Windows pre-installed. Things start to get complicated when you want to install a Linux distribution like Ubuntu onto these units. It amazes me when individuals are surprised when something like the audio or wireless chipset turns out to be problematic when installing Ubuntu on a Windows laptop. Of course, it's not "always" going to work out of the box, you purchased the laptop with a non-Linux OS installed!
Granted, I'm familiar with the usual reasons why someone would purchase a Windows build laptop to install Linux on it. Usually, folks purchase these laptops because of their price, but sometimes because they really like the design. Whatever the case, there are some things you need to know before you rush out and buy a laptop running a non-Linux OS:
Another option for purchasing a laptop is to buy one without an OS installed. The obvious advantage is that it will save you having to wipe the old OS before installing Ubuntu. On the flip side, however, you're once again left in charge of making sure the laptop's compatibility is on par with your expectations. Generally, this isn't considered too much trouble, unless you happen to run into issues that the Ubuntu documentation can't help you overcome. Personally, I've never been a big fan of no-OS laptops. They seem great at first—unless a compatibility headache happens to crop up later on.
Now obviously, there are ways of increasing your odds of finding a successful no-OS laptop to meet your needs. The best approach for taking this route would include the following: