Hardware for Open Source Operating Systems

One of the characteristics of the Linux operating system is that it requires less sophisticated hardware than the more recent Windows operating systems. Obviously the more modern the chip, the larger the available memory and the faster the hard drive the better the system will perform.  These pages will deal with the specifications for Ubuntu 14.04 but would be similar for many of the other Linux distributions. Linux handbooks often contain statements like "Ubuntu will run on almost any computer/laptop" this is true within limits. As discussed at the end of this page, users may have to resort to the command line to install the necessary drivers for some peripherals. Loading the software to run from the hard drive will allow you to identify at least some of these problems before you make any binding decisions on loading the software.

Ubuntu Compliant Hardware: The Ubuntu website at http://www.ubuntu.com/certification/ provides lists of Ubuntu compliant laptops and desktops, including an indication of whether or not Ubuntu comes loaded on the equipment.

Pre-Installed Systems A number of companies sell computers with Ubuntu or other versions of Linux pre-installed. Because the model numbers are constantly changing the companies will be listed and a link to their main web-site will be included below. A note will be made of companies who specialize in providing Linux compliant computers. It is interesting to note that for some companies which provide computers with other operating systems that similar machines running a basic Windows 7 cost less than the Ubuntu systems with their free software. These lists are not exhaustive and will be added to when more information is available. None of this equipment has been tested in the preparation of the web site.

Ubuntu on its website notes that machines which come with Ubuntu installed may be using a modified version and "standard images of Ubuntu may not work at all on the system or may not work well".

Problems/Issues:While Ubuntu may load and run on most modern machines it is not without its problems. Ubuntu and other Linux versions suffer from a lack of drivers for both printers and wi-fi access--specifically drivers which allow these peripherals to be used with the need to load drivers through the command line. Web-cams can also be a problem, although there is a generic driver which can be used, although it may not enable all of the functions of the web cam. Ubuntu does provide lists of compliant printers at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Printers many of these require resorting to the command line to install the drivers.

Copyright 1998/2015 GRI Updated 15 April 2015