It is best to get a computer built for Linux from the start. But why?
1. Save $ – If you have ever built your own machine, you know that it does not always work out the way it should. Things go wrong.
Even we (Cathy and Earl, founders of ZaReason) made a mistake on this. Over the holidays we had a craving to build a machine from scratch that was not part of the ZaReason lineup. We love, love building machines. Even though we did not have to, we did it anyway.
Christmas morning at 10:32 am: “Dad, what's that awful smell?”
Well, the SSD blew up.
The SSD shorted which fried the motherboard and RAM. Christmas Day was less fun that it should have been. The stinky smell lasted for days.
Several times, “Why didn't we just buy a ZaReason?” Sometimes the best solutions are the most obvious answers.
2. Distro Freedom – the hardware is built to run nearly any Linux distro. The R&D aspect of building a machine is surprisingly important, as we were reminded on the morning of 25 December.
3. Your Future, Your $ – Future versions of Linux will run better on hardware built specifically for Linux distros. Plan for your own future comfort.
You will not need to upgrade every 18 months to keep up with the latest operating system. You save money in more ways than I can list in this short piece.
I say this as I look under my desk and see a desktop that ZaReason built in 2009. It runs like a champ. To be honest, I kind of forgot about it. That is what a good machine should do – be forgettable like the heating or cooling system in your house should be forgettable.
4. Easy Warranty, Work with Real People – I do not know about other Linux builders, but at ZaReason we connect the builder to the repair person: “Connect action to consequence.”
We started this in 2007 when we got a machine back for an RMA and the person doing the repair was not the same person who did the build. I watched the RMA repair in progress and asked myself, “Why do computer companies fail to connect the builder with the maintainer?” Economies of scale, surely. Organizational standards, inertia. But, if you structure the company right, then you can connect people to their work.
5. Make it Normal – You can always get a non-Linux machine, wipe it, and load your favorite distro (and hope for the best) but there is something wonderful that happens, both culturally and personally, when you carry around a laptop that is a Linux brand name. People begin to see Linux as more normal.
Nine years ago when we started ZaReason we would get “Oohs” and “Aahs” when we said we worked with Linux. It made me a little uncomfortable.
Now, I hear people talk about ZaReason and other Linux computer hardware builders like we are normal. Over the holidays, at a party, I asked the person sitting next to me the #1 get-to-know-you question: “What kind of computer do you use?'
When he said, “ZaReason,” of course it made me smile, but the way he said it made it sound so normal, so regular that I swear, my heart skipped a beat.