Open Source

What's the best laptop for running Ubuntu Linux?

I want to find the best laptop to run Ubuntu Linux in a business setting. Check out my requirements and then post your best recommendation.

Ever since I wrote the article The market has rejected Linux desktops - Get over it, I've had a number of passionate requests asking me to reconsider the topic.

Keep in mind, that my primary argument in the article was not that there were technical problems with Linux. I was simply saying Linux has had its shot to win over businesses and consumers during the past decade and it has failed to grow beyond 1% to 2% of the market for desktop and laptop PCs.

Nevertheless, I've decided that it's time to give Linux another look by setting up a new laptop running Ubuntu and using it for daily work. I will be comparing it to the work I do on two similar systems, a ThinkPad T400 running Windows and a MacBook Pro running Mac OS X.

I've toyed with nearly every flavor of Linux in the past and I currently have Ubuntu installed on a couple netbooks. However, in order to be fair, I need to set it up on a laptop that is in the same class as the ThinkPad and the MacBook Pro. At the same time, I'd also like to run it on a current laptop, preferably a popular new model. That way, I can also do a review of the laptop as part of this test (in order to get an extra article out of the experiment).

With all of that in mind, I'm looking for recommendations on the best laptop for running Ubuntu. I've listed my basic requirements below, as well as a few of the systems I'm currently considering.


  • Light: Under 5 pounds
  • Thin: Less than 1.5 inches thick
  • Dual core CPU
  • Large, functional touchpad
  • Bright display, at least 1366x768
  • CD/DVD drive (preferable, but not mandatory)
  • Budget: $800-$1200


Do you have experience with Ubuntu on any of these systems? If so, please post your feedback in the discussion below.

Which brand is best for Linux?

Your recommendation

Do you have a specific laptop series or model you'd recommend for running Ubuntu? Please post it in the discussion thread below.


Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.

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