By Allison Randal
Last week at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, I spoke with Carl Richell, co-founder of System76. For years I've been seeking the Nirvana of a company that would ship me professional, high-quality, Linux-only hardware. Various large companies offer half-hearted Linux options. Several sketchy-looking resellers offer brand-name hardware with Linux installed over the top, but it's either a distro I don't want, or it's all old hardware. So, I build my own servers, and have resorted to Mac laptops because I don't have time to get all the pieces working.
I stumbled on System76 a couple months ago while doing some hardware research for a friend whose Mac/Gentoo laptop is dying. I had a moment of shock when I first looked at the site, thinking I'd found a Mac reseller. There was the multimedia Mini and the sleek set of black and silver laptops, plus a variety of desktops and servers. Like Apple, they take care to show off the applications available in a practical way: not “here are the 500 text editors available”, but “here's how you'll check email, browse the web, edit office documents, watch movies, and manage your music collection”. I can send my non-technical friends and relatives to buy computers there without terrifying them.
Each machine ships with the needed drivers already installed and the laptops have power management features configured and tested. They're also working to ensure that major third-party peripherals are supported. And, any modifications they make to support their hardware, they contribute back to Ubuntu so the whole community benefits.
I know where I'll be buying my next laptop. [O'Reilly Radar]