10 super sweet laptops that come with Linux pre-installed
Dell XPS 13
See it now: XPS 13 at Dell
Configure this sweet machine with up to an 8th generation Kaby Lake i7-8565U processor, 16GB of RAM, and 2TB SSD. Dell will sell it to you with Ubuntu pre-installed.
While Dell is known for offering Linux pre-installed, we found a number of higher-end Dell machines previously listed as supporting Linux that no longer are available with Linux. So shop carefully. Even so, the XPS 13 is sweet, even if you're limited to onboard Intel UHD graphics.
Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured in this gallery.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen
See it now: ThinkPad X1 Carbon at LAC Portland
Let's stay with name-brand machines for just another moment. We reviewed the Windows version of this hot performer just last year.
If you want to get it pre-installed with Linux, the place to turn is LAC Portland. You can get the X1 preinstalled with Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, Fedora, CentOS, and more. Unfortunately, with 8GB RAM and a core i5, you're a bit limited in performance. On the other hand, you're running Linux, so you'll be rockin' no matter how it's configured.
System76 Galago Pro
See it now: Galago Pro at System 76
Next on our list is the sleek 13- or 14-inch Galago Pro. This svelte beast can be configured with a hefty 32GB RAM and 8th gen i7 processor.
Plus it's got USB-C, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, HDMI, and a mini DisplayPort, as well as an SD card slot. It ships with Pop!_Os, a customized distro built from the original Ubuntu repositories, but with a System76's custom additions. That said, if you want true Ubuntu, just check the box in the configurator.
System76 Serval WS
See it now: Serval WS at System76
Next on our hit parade is the monster Serval WS, a workstation-class machine that you can configure with a 15- or 17-inch monitor, up to an i9 desktop-class CPU, GeForce RTX20-series GPUs and a whopping 64GB of RAM.
It's got ports, it's got power, and it's got pounds. You're going to be lugging 7.5 pounds for the 15-inch monster, and a full 8.6 pounds for the 17-inch. But with enough power to run pretty much any code you want, it's worth the weight. Like its little sister, the Galago Pro, you can configure it with Pop!_OS or pure Ubuntu.
Libreboot X200 tablet
See it now: Libreboot X200 tablet at Minifree
This is one of those machines where you may need to act now, or you may not be able to get it. Sold by the Ministry of Freedom (that's really its name, I swear), the Libreboot X2 Tablet is listed as having a shortage of sourcing, but it's in now.
It's a tablet that comes with "a built in wacom Tablet" (so it might be Wacom-like, or it could be a typo). It ships with Trisquel GNU/Linux, a build based on Ubuntu.
See it now: Libreboot X200
If you like the idea of a Ministry of Freedom machine without the difficult-sourcing upcharge for the X200 Tablet, consider the base X200.
For its relatively low power and low RAM footprint (it maxes out at 8GB), it's a pretty chunky machine. But, starting at €218.00 (about $250 US), it's a relatively inexpensive entry into the pre-installed Linux world.
See it now: Penguin J2 at ThinkPenguin
If you're looking for pretty, look no further than the Penguin J2. This looks for all the world like a pre-portless MacBook Pro from circa-2015 -- but with more power.
You can configure this sweet ride with up to an i7-8565U processor, fast SSDs, and 32GB RAM. Plus, thank Cobblepot, this Penguin comes with ports, glorious ports. Lots and lots of ports. Fully configured, you're looking a bit north of $1,500, but it also ships with the latest release of Ubuntu.
Pureism Librem 13
See it now: Librem 13 at Pureism
Pureism is all about secure computing and privacy. These devices ship with a hardware kill switch that lets you physically cut power to the microphone, webcam and radios. If you're not sure your computer is listening to you, you can physically kill the power.
The Pureism 13 ships with PureOS, a security focused Linux distro. CPUs are a bit behind, shipping with Seventh Gen processors, but the i7-7500U is still nothing to sneeze at. RAM can go up to 32GB.
Pureism Librem 15
See it now: Pureism Librem 15
The Pureism Librem 15 has all the advantages of the Librem 13, plus a 15.6-inch 4K matte display. Unfortunately, even though you're able to display up to 3840x2160, you're still limited to onboard Intel HD Graphics 620. It's workable, but it does have its limits.
That said, this is a gorgeous, slim 15-inch Linux-based laptop that weighs just four pounds. It's not super-light, but it's also not the 8 pound beast that the Serval WS is.
See it now: Star LabTop
Our final star laptop is the Star LabTop. With this security-conscious i7-8550U machine, you can disable the Intel Management Engine, your wireless network, and your webcam.
This machine ships with a USB-C port, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a Micro SD card reader built-in. You can order it shipped with Ubuntu or Mint, plus the company has tested it with a variety of other distros and publishes compatibility testing results.