[Techtalk] Buying a machine without Windows

Akkana akkana at shallowsky.com
Sun Oct 28 21:40:14 EST 2001

Hope this isn't too far off the topic of techtalk (it's not really
a technical question, but ...)

I've recently had a bunch of wonderful Linux successes/discoveries,
and I'm now, finally, Microsoft free (or will be once I buy a new
linux-compatible scanner).  And at the same time, I happen to be
in need of a faster desktop system (probably around a 1.4-1.5GHz P4).

So I want to buy a new system, and I DON'T want any money to go
to Redmond for it.  Preinstalled Linux is optional; I'd be willing
to pay a little extra to encourage it, but I don't need it and I'm
not willing to pay double the price of a Windows machine (I don't
want to reward usury, nor do I want to pay that much).

But that turns out to be easier said than done.  Can't do it at Fry's
or other big computer stores -- all the x86 boxes there have Windows
(except Fry's "upgrade special", but sometimes those have trashy
hardware so I fear things like no power management or no AGP slot). 
I've tried poking around on dell, gateway, and ibm web sites but
haven't had any luck finding a way to buy a machine without Windows
for a price comparable to what I can get by walking into Fry's.

Anyone have any favorite Linux-friendly vendors (or at least one who
doesn't force Windows down your throat)?  Or, is anyone still doing
the "We don't need YOUR OS" Windows rebate protests?
I'm in the bay area, but could mail order if necessary.

Incidentally, in case anyone's curious, my recent epiphanies were:
- CD recording really works quite well in Linux now.
- Pcmcia smartmedia adaptors work perfectly with linux, read AND write
  (unlike usb smartmedia adaptors, which are currently read-only).
- Gimp-print produces better output, more easily, on my Epson Photo
  700 than windows ever did.


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