If you are planning to buy new hardware and you wish to use it with Free Software, where do you buy it? Which of any given vendor's models are supported? Where can you buy a laptop without any proprietary software on it? How can you support vendors who are themselves supportive of Free Software?
Finding a Hardware Vendor
- Finding a Hardware Vendor
- Personal Computer Systems
- Mobile Devices
- Single-Board Computers
- General Links
This page attempts to provide guidance on vendors who already did the hard work of ensuring that their hardware works with Free Software. It also provides some information about Free/Open Hardware projects in each device category. Please submit any info that might help. Thanks!
To edit the tables, take a look at HelpOnImprovedTableParser for help and syntax information.
The content of this page does not constitute a statement by FSFE.
Some pages do not use the terminology we would like to see. Some of the vendors listed do not seem to be aware of the freedoms we pursue, but are merely listed because they sell hardware with no software installed. There are other vendors that do care about Free Software and they should be rewarded. Please join the Hardware_vendors/Discussion how we could establish a kind of ranking mechanism.
Below, vendors of different categories of devices are listed separately. Since interested parties are often looking for a particular kind of device, it makes sense to group them primarily by form factor even if some vendors sell more than one kind of device.
Some hardware categories are not currently included on this page. For example, embedded product categories such as those served by products like the Arduino range of devices are not covered because these typically do not offer "ready to use" solutions for end-users, even though they support Free Software and even though a large number of the available devices are also "open hardware" products.
Personal Computer Systems
On this page, personal computer (PC) systems encompass desktop systems, laptops/notebooks and netbooks. Traditionally, complete systems have been sold by vendors with bundled software, which in the vast majority of cases has been the proprietary Microsoft Windows operating system software, typically in combination with additional applications software, trial software, "adware", and so on. This phenomenon of having Windows pre-installed is known as the "Windows Tax" or "Microsoft Tax", since purchasers typically have no choice as to whether they receive such software when buying a computer and are thus obliged to make a purchase that gives money to Microsoft regardless of their wishes.
Although Microsoft appear to be obliged to offer what is known colloquially as the Windows Tax refund, the experience is less than optimal and may involve the vendor concerned and Microsoft disclaiming responsibility unless pressure is applied, potentially through legal avenues. Thus, by avoiding products with bundled proprietary software, one can hopefully acquire a computer with an appropriate specification without rewarding anticompetitive business practices.
Remember that if you build your own system by selecting cases, motherboards, components, and so on, you can ensure that your system is capable of running your own choice of software and also avoid being sold software you don't want. However, this is usually only possible for desktop, server, "home theatre" or "barebone" systems and not laptops or netbooks which have a tighter level of integration between their parts. Remember also that laptops and netbooks are usually sold with a specific keyboard layout, and whether you can change this when ordering may influence your choice of vendor.
Products Sold with Free Software Pre-Installed
Several vendors in the table below pre-install Free Software operating systems - this is noted where known and applicable - but other directories of such vendors exist and are mentioned in the certified and supported hardware section.
Products Sold without an Operating System
In the table of vendors below, if a vendor is said to offer systems without an operating system (OS), then the price of such a system should be lower than the price of any bundle consisting of the hardware and a proprietary operating system (such as Windows). This is because the price of such a bundle of products should include the additional cost of the proprietary operating system licence. Please ensure that vendors offering systems without OS are actually reducing the price when they "remove" the operating system; otherwise you may still be paying the "Microsoft Tax".
|IT||Sells desktops without OS, and desktops/netbooks with Ubuntu||2015-12-19
(site currently unavailable)
|Whole computers or parts||2015-12-19|
|Sells workstations, mobile workstations and servers without OS or with GNU/Linux||2015-12-19|
|Sells barebone laptops without operating systems and does occasional GNU/Linux tests||2015-12-19|
|Sells desktops without OS (ignoring the promoted proprietary products); a highly flexible configuration tool is available for hardware customization; free shipping across Europe||2015-05-19|
|US, DE||If the system includes an OS it can be removed with a refund; OS appears optional on some netbooks and via the "PC Konfigurator"||2015-12-19|
||Currently provides one laptop with Ubuntu; everything else appears to bundle proprietary software||2015-12-19|
|Mini-PC desktops sold without operating system or with Linux Mint pre-installed (resellers exist in Europe and elsewhere)||2015-12-19|
|Fully free Thinkpads (FSF approved)||2015-12-19|
|SE, FI||Ubuntu 12.04 offered on most systems||2015-12-19|
|One of the laptop models is apparently using GNU/Linux||2015-12-19|
(de, en, fr)
|US||Sells the Letux mini-notebook||2015-12-19|
|Desktops apparently sold without OS or with Ubuntu||2015-12-19|
|They offer fully free systems with fully Free Software compatible hardware (making a donation to the FSF) as well as a wider selection of systems||2015-12-19|
(de, en, no)
|Sells workstations, servers, various form factor PCs and notebooks without OS, with GNU/Linux distributions installed at no cost on some systems||2015-12-19|
|Offers discount if you buy a computer with only GNU/Linux.||2015-12-19|
|Mini-PCs (from Koan, who also seem to offer single-board computers]])||2015-12-19|
|Desktops, laptops and netbooks, compatible printers etc.||2015-12-19|
(de, en, es, fr, it)
|Can buy without OS or with GNU/Linux distribution at no cost||2015-12-19|
|Los Alamos Computers||US
|Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops with GNU/Linux preinstalled||2015-12-19|
|Mini-server and laptops/netbooks without OS or with Ubuntu installed at a cost with support included||2015-12-19|
(es, en, de, fr, it, pt)
|Desktops, workstations, servers, laptops and mobile workstations without OS or with GNU/Linux.||2015-12-19|
|Various||Sells laptops without OS||2015-12-19|
|Sells a variety of single-board and plug computers||2015-12-19|
|Sells systems without OS||2015-12-19|
|Possible to leave out any software for most desktop models, some laptops with GNU/Linux||2015-12-19|
|Sells systems with/without OS and install range of open source softwares.||2015-12-19|
|Sells systems with/without Windows||2015-12-19|
|Sells systems without OS||2015-12-19|
(de, en, es, ft, it)
|In each section of the system configurator, there is a link to "Shuttle Systems without operating system", as well as on the product category page||2015-12-19|
|International shipping (but only covering Western Europe); systems have Ubuntu pre-installed||2015-12-19
(Very "heavy" site)
("504 Gateway Time-out")
|The Linux Emporium||UK
|Antec/Shuttle desktops, Lenovo laptops/netbooks, WLAN cards||2015-12-19
(Doesn't appear to list any products in the store, though)
|Offers a desktop with Ubuntu pre-installed||2015-12-19|
|Various||Worldwide shipping; only freedom-compatible hardware (printers, hardware that does not require proprietary software). They put Trisquel in their hardware but are open to ship it with the distribution requested by the customer. Very responsive to mail requesting info.||2015-12-19|
|Pre configured Hardware||2015-12-19|
|All-in-one Mini-PC and notebooks; FreeDOS at no cost, GNU/Linux at small cost||2015-12-19|
|Various||Lenovo ThinkPad laptops with Debian/GNU Linux pre-installed||2015-12-19|
|Zeta Storage Systems||UK
|Sells without OS or with a GNU/Linux distribution at no cost (with proprietary options at extra cost)||2015-12-19|
Products and Initiatives
Various products are available that support Free Software at many or all levels of their hardware system. Unfortunately, few products are based on genuinely open hardware, where the hardware designs might be adapted and legitimately produced independently of the original vendor.
|Genesi||Efika MX Smarttop and Efika MX Smartbook|
|Lemote||Desktops (Fuloong) and netbooks (Yeeloong)|
Single-board computers overlap with the traditional product categories and feature in the retailer/vendor table, and they are more likely to support Free Software and be open hardware products.
See also the guide to cloud computing which covers some of the hardware and initiatives around decentralised network computing.
On this page, mobile devices encompass personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile telephones, smartphones and mobile music/media players. Although laptops and netbooks are obviously also mobile devices, this category focuses exclusively on "pocketable" devices. Traditionally, mobile devices have employed a range of operating systems, and no single software vendor has been dominant. However, the software provided has often been proprietary, and where Free Software has been used, it has not always been possible to exercise the "four freedoms" and benefit from the use of Free Software as an end-user.
|dshop||CH||Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner||2012-08-23|
|Golden Delicious||DE||Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner||2012-01-08|
|Hackable Devices||FR||Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner||2012-07-30|
|OpenMobile||NL||Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner and Ben NanoNote||2012-01-08|
|Pulster (EN)||DE||Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner||2015-12-19|
|TrueBox||UK||Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner||2012-01-08|
Products and Initiatives
A substantial amount of attention has been given to producing mobile devices which not only support Free Software but can also be manufactured as genuinely open hardware by those with the facilities to do so.
|DragonBox Pyra||Successor to the Pandora handheld games console||?|
|Golden Delicious||GTA-04 smartphone|
|OpenMoko||Neo FreeRunner smartphone|
|OpenPandora||Pandora handheld games console||note|
|Qi Hardware||Ben Nanonote PDA/micro-notebook|
|Rockbox||supports existing devices by providing Free Software firmware, ThinkPenguin sells a digital audio player with rockbox preflashed|
This category of devices potentially overlaps with the personal computer and mobile categories, in that some products are mostly suited to use with external peripherals that typically make up a desktop system, whereas others could potentially be integrated into mobile solutions.
Products and Initiatives
Since devices in this category are often aimed at software and product developers instead of end-users, a greater focus has been placed on supporting Free Software development as well as making designs that can be manufactured as genuinely open hardware by those with the facilities to do so.
|Raspberry Pi Foundation||Raspberry Pi||note|
|Rhombus Tech||upcoming PCMCIA form factor products such as the EOMA68 Micro Desktop||note|
|Texas Instruments / BeagleBoard community||BeagleBone|
Raspberry Pi uses a system-on-a-chip that requires a proprietary firmware image to be able to boot into Linux, along with proprietary drivers. An interesting summary of the device's openness is given in Why Raspberry Pi Is Unsuitable for Education.
Rhombus Tech previously planned to assert hardware patents as a means of regulating implementations of the standards developed by the initiative. Since this use of patents conflicts with the spirit of open hardware definitions such as the OSHW (Open Source Hardware) Statement of Principles and Definition, the policy has since changed, and the initiative now intends to certify products implementing the developed standards by licensing associated "certification marks".
Links to other resources are provided here. As always, the quality of such resources may vary in terms of how coherent, recent or comprehensive they are. Thus, links marked with indicate resources that appear to be actively updated and conveniently navigated.
Certified or Supported Hardware
Some hardware may be certified to run Free Software or have Free Software pre-installed and supported on it. The following resources provide information on these topics, similar in some respects to the information presented on this page.
Computer vendors that pre-install Debian - this list should be checked periodically and vendors verified to be offering solutions could be added to this page
linuxpreloaded.com is focused on North America, but since some vendors there ship worldwide, it can be relevant to European buyers. If they list a European vendor who is not listed here, please add it to this page!
Certified hardware for Ubuntu - a mixture of compatibility reports and pre-installation information about systems running (or able to run) Ubuntu GNU/Linux distributions
Linux HCL (hardware compatibility list)
LXer: Pre-installed Linux - a mixture of current and former vendors of systems, useful for tracking down vendors not already listed here
The list of open source computer hardware suppliers on Wikipedia can be a useful source of vendors
The open computers category on Wikipedia provides information about computers considered to be open hardware
linux-tested.com appears to be a provider of testing services with some results published online
Various sites exist that attempt to indicate whether devices are compatible with Free Software. Unfortunately, these resources often lag behind the current retail situation because it takes time for people to buy and assess whether such devices are fully compatible with GNU/Linux distributions and other software. Thus, such sites are mostly useful for situations where buyers are presented with special offers from vendors offering generic hardware with no claims about Free Software compatibility (and most likely with pre-installed proprietary software).
Some resources exist to warn buyers away from certain products:
Once you have a system running Free Software, it is obviously important that peripheral devices can work with that system. Various sites provide compatibility information on this topic.
Printer List (supported by the Linux Foundation) is a database of supported printers
SANE - Supported Devices is a database of supported scanners
PortablePlayers, indicating portable music/media players supporting the Xiph family of audio formats such as Ogg Vorbis