Hardware Vendors

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

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.

Hardware Categories

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".

Vendors

Vendor

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Desktops

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Laptops

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  1. Laptops
Netbooks

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  1. Netbooks
Country
(site languages)
Keyboard
for laptops/netbooks
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Link verified

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Abaco Computers (./) (./) IT
(en, it)
IT Sells desktops without OS, and desktops/netbooks with Ubuntu 2012-01-31
Ahtec (./) (./) (./) NL
(nl)
Sells systems without OS 2012-01-30
Ahtec (./) (./) ES
(es)
Sells laptops and desktops that can be bought without OS. 2013-03-13
Ankermann (./) (./) (./) DE
(de, en, es, fr)
Appears to sell desktops without OS at a discount and some laptops/netbooks without OS or with GNU/Linux 2012-01-25
Azken Muga (./) (./) ES
(es)
Sells workstations, mobile workstations and servers without OS or with GNU/Linux 2013-03-16
Brück-Computer.de (./) DE
(de)
2012-01-24
BTO Notebooks (./) NL
(nl)
Sells barebone laptops without operating systems and does occasional GNU/Linux tests 2013-06-12
CheepLinux (./) UK
(en)
Desktops with a selection of distributions pre-installed 2012-01-25
Digital Networks UK (./) UK
(en)
Sells without OS or with a GNU/Linux distribution at no cost (with proprietary options at extra cost) 2012-01-25
DiTech (./) (./) (./) AT
(de)
US, DE If the system includes an OS it can be removed with a refund; OS appears optional on some netbooks 2012-01-24
EBuyer.com (./) (./) UK
2013-03-04
fit-PC (./) IL
(en)
Mini-PC desktops sold without operating system or with Linux Mint pre-installed (resellers exist in Europe and elsewhere) 2013-06-18
FOX Elektronix - Fux (./) (./) (./) CH
(de, en)
de_CH (netbook) Mini-PC desktop, Lenovo laptop, Asus netbook 2012-01-24
Garlach44 (./) (./) (./) IT
(en)
Ubuntu pre-installed 2012-02-11
GeekStop (./) UK
(en)
Desktops mostly offering SuSE pre-installed 2012-01-25
Genesi Europe (./) (./) DE
(en)
US
(Various at extra cost)
Efika MX Smarttop (Mini-PC) and Smartbook with a Ubuntu-derived distribution pre-installed 2012-01-31
Gluglug (./) (./) UK
(en)
Fully free Thinkpads (FSF approved) 2013-12-30
GGS-Data (./) (./) SE
(en, sv)
SE, FI Ubuntu 12.04 offered on most systems 2013-01-10
Gnuinos (./) ES
(es)
2012-01-24
Golden Delicious (./) DE
(de, en, fr)
US Sells the Letux mini-notebook 2012-01-24
Hettes (./) (./) (./) NL
(nl)
Sells systems from a range of major manufacturers with Ubuntu pre-installed 2012-01-31
ichbinleise.de/at/ch (./) DE/AT/CH
(de)
Desktops apparently sold without OS or with Ubuntu 2012-01-25
ikbenstil.nl (./) NL
(nl)
Desktops apparently sold without OS or with Ubuntu 2012-01-25
InaTux Computers (./) (./) US
(en)
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 2012-07-02
it-sreimers.de (./) (./) DE
(de)
Shop at Linux-Laptop.de selling pre-installed laptops without "windows tax", sells UMTS-Sticks and WLAN adapters, too 2012-01-24
Iwill (./) (./) NO
(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 2012-03-25
ixsoft (./) (./) (./) DE
(de)
Offers discount if you buy a computer with only GNU/Linux. 2012-01-24
Kernel Concepts (./) DE
(de, en)
US Sells the Letux mini-notebook 2012-01-24
Koan (./) IT
(en, it)
Mini-PCs 2012-01-24
Lincomp (./) (./) CH
(de)
Desktops, laptops and netbooks, compatible printers etc. 2012-01-24
Linsoft.de (./) DE
(de)
2012-01-24
Linutop (./) FR
(de, en, es, fr, it)
HD-less Mini-PCs 2012-01-24
Linux-Onlineshop (./) (./) (./) DE
(de)
Can buy without OS or with GNU/Linux distribution at no cost 2012-01-24
Linux Ocasion (./) ES
(es)
Servers and some workstations (mainly second hand) with GNU/Linux 2013-03-16
Linux Solutions (./) FI
(sv, fi)
2012-01-24
Linux Store (./) (./) ES
(es)
Desktops and laptops without OS or with GNU/Linux. 2013-03-16
Loginix (./) IT
(en, it)
Mini-PCs 2012-01-24
Los Alamos Computers (./) (./) US
(en)
Lenovo-based products 2012-01-10
mingos.nl (./) (./) (./) NL
(nl)
Mini-server and laptops/netbooks without OS or with Ubuntu installed at a cost with support included 2012-01-24
Mountain (./) (./) ES
(es, en, de, fr, it, pt)
Desktops, workstations, servers, laptops and mobile workstations without OS or with GNU/Linux. 2013-03-16
mysn.eu (./) DE
(de, en)
Various Sells laptops without OS 2012-01-29
NewIT (./) UK
(en)
Efika MX Smarttop, SheevaPlug and DreamPlug Mini-PCs 2012-03-12
Newthinking (./) DE
(de)
Webshop seems not to be operational 2012-01-24
Novatech (./) (./) UK
(en)
Sells systems without OS 2012-01-29
one.de (./) (./) (./) DE
(de)
Possible to leave out any software for most desktop models, some laptops with GNU/Linux 2012-01-24
Open-pc.com (./) DE
(en)
Makes donations to KDE 2012-01-24
Palicomp (./) (./) UK
(en)
Sells systems with/without OS and install range of open source softwares. 2012-11-15
Pcfast (./) NL
(nl)
Sells systems with/without Windows 2013-01-15
PC Specialist (./) (./) UK
(en)
Sells systems without OS 2012-01-29
Ralf Scharbert (./) DE
(de)
Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops with GNU/Linux preinstalled 2013-08-21
Rockiger (./) DE
(de, en)
DE 2012-01-24
Shuttle Europe (./) EU
(de, en, es, ft, it)
In each section of the system configurator, there is a link to "Shuttle Systems without operating system" 2012-01-24
System76 (./) (./) US
(en)
International shipping (but only covering Western Europe); systems have Ubuntu pre-installed 2012-01-29
Tekmote Electronics (./) NL
(en, nl)
Lemote reseller 2012-01-24
The Linux Emporium (./) (./) (./) UK
(en)
Antec/Shuttle desktops, Lenovo laptops/netbooks, WLAN cards 2012-01-30
thelinuxshop (./) UK
(en)
Offers a desktop with Ubuntu pre-installed 2012-01-25
Think Penguin (./) (./) (./) US
(en, es)
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. 2012-07-02
Tuxbrain (./) (./) ES
(en, es)
US, ES Efika MX Smarttop (Mini-PC) and Smartbook 2012-01-24
Tuxhardware (./) (./) DE
(de)
All-in-one Mini-PC and notebooks; FreeDOS at no cost, GNU/Linux at small cost 2012-01-24
ubuntushop.be (./) (./) BE
(en)
Ubuntu pre-installed; no apparent online shop 2012-01-24
Xtops.DE (./) DE
(de)
Various Lenovo ThinkPad laptops with Debian/GNU Linux pre-installed 2012-01-24
yetopen.it (./) IT
(it)
2012-01-24
Zareason (./) (./) (./) US
2012-02-09
Zinside (./) FR
(en, fr)
Mini-PCs 2012-01-24

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.

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Products

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Open Hardware

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Genesi Efika MX Smarttop and Efika MX Smartbook
Lemote Desktops (Fuloong) and netbooks (Yeeloong)

See also the guide to cloud computing which covers some of the hardware and initiatives around decentralised network computing.

Mobile Devices

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.

Vendors

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PDAs

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Phones

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Country

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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
Kernel Concepts (./) DE Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner 2012-08-13
OpenMobile (./) (./) NL Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner and Ben NanoNote 2012-01-08
Pulster (EN) (./) (./) DE Sells the OpenMoko FreeRunner and Ben NanoNote 2012-08-13
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.

Vendor

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Products

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Open Hardware

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DragonBox Pyra Successor to the Pandora handheld games console ?
Golden Delicious GTA-04 smartphone (./)
Make Play Live Improv and Vivaldi (./)
Neo900 Neo900 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

(!) OpenPandora is designed to run Open Source Software, but Open Source misses the point of Free Software. It is not Open Hardware.

Single-Board Computers

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.

Vendor

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Products

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Open Hardware

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Olimex OLinuXino (./)
Raspberry Pi Foundation Raspberry Pi /!\ note
Rhombus Tech upcoming PCMCIA form factor products /!\ note
Texas Instruments / BeagleBoard community BeagleBone (./)
VIA APC

/!\ 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 apparently reserves the right to assert hardware patents against vendors in conflict with the spirit of open hardware definitions such as the OSHW (Open Source Hardware) Statement of Principles and Definition.

General Links

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.

Hardware Compatibility

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:

Peripheral Compatibility

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.

Format Compatibility

  • PortablePlayers, indicating portable music/media players supporting the Xiph family of audio formats such as Ogg Vorbis

Campaigns

General Free Software Device Information


CategoryAdvocacy