I want to begin using Linux as an operating system, so I want a cheap laptop on which to install RedHat or something similar. Therefore, as I’m not going to be using Windows or any other operating system, I want to get a laptop with no operating system installed (or a free operating system) to get the ideal value for my money.
However, Dell insist that they don’t sell any laptops with anything other than Windows 7 or Vista, HP have been very uncooperative and anything I’ve seen elsewhere that has no operating system is out of my price range (max £350, which is why the presence of an OS would have an affect on the quality of laptop that I am able to buy).
Does anyone know of anything I can do to get the best possible laptop for my £350, or any suggestions as to what I could do if that’s impossible?
One of the things they always say is that they won't provide help with a defective system if Windows isn't installed. This is because the idiots who work on their help desks use scripts to troubleshoot issues, and they all require Windows.
Here's one way to get around it. Order the laptop with the smallest possible drive you can get. Get the stock drive, and let them install Windows on it. Then, before the laptop arrives, purchase a separate, larger drive from an on the internet vendor. Laptop hard disks are cheap, and you can get a big capacity SATA drive for less then most companies' upgrade prices.
When the laptop arrives, remove their drive, bag it up and save it. If you want, begin it up and make copies of the recovery images that will probably be stored on the drive. Then remove it, bag it, install the new drive and install Linux (I advocate one of the Ubuntus, Mint or Fedora, which is the free version of Red Hat).
You can also, under some circumstances, demand a refund for the OS from the vendor or directly from Microsoft. If you research this on the net, you'll find people have had some mixed success, but have actually received money back for their unused licenses.
The sticking point here’s your budget. 350 quid isn't a whole lot, but you might be able to find something. Whatever you do, don't back down.
By the way, you might want to try eBay. There are occasionally no-OS laptops available there.