Computer manufacturers and Linux

In the past I have had my computers built by small firms willing to undertake that kind of job. They seem to have disappeared, and I recently needed to replace a dysfunctional computer urgently. I went to one of Britain’s main retailers and was told that if I replaced Windows with Linux, or even added Linux for a dual boot, that it would invalidate my warranty. I was really quite shocked and wonder if the information I was given (confirmed by another member of staff) is correct. It is utterly incredible that the big manufacturers should be able to determine what operating system I use.
Incidentally I resolved the problem by getting a refurbished machine.

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That does not surprise me in the least, considering on how Microsoft has locked down W11. Since I build my own machines, I get to dictate the warranty.


Hi @ljohn,

I believe the used / refurbished route is the best way to go for a PC. I been buying my desktops and laptops off the used market for the past 15 years or more. Last month I brought a used Dell desktop with an Intel i3-9100 cpu. So far, I have had good luck with the used equipment.


Well done, yes you can’t go wrong with a refurbished computer. I too build my own, like 4dandl4. Still running my two ASROCK RYZEN 2600 Icy Dock Builds and my DDR3 ASUS Windows 8 Ready Build, which was my first ever build back in 2014. All three have Icy Docks, enabling me to swap drives out, all with Linux at the helm. Will be upgrading the ASROCK’s soon to a nice PCIe 3.0 NVMe M.2 SSD from Crucial. I first have to do my every eight month spring clean of my builds, with my newish 500Watt Computer Cleaner, a air blower for getting rid of dust bunnies, made specifically for computers. Mostly the case fans, the ram and PCI slots, the bottom of the case too that gets affected with dust. Us humans unfortunately are disgusting creatures, leaving our DNA everywhere. :smiley:

I don’t know if this company (doubt it) is in Britain, could have similar though
They let you chose which operating system (Windows) you want installed, I always choose no OS and they are ok with that.
Yeah for sure I do lose the warranty on the new machine, So What !.

One thing I have noticed how often does the hardware stuff up and the computer doesn’t work, it’s usually the OS that fails to work not often enough that it’s the hardware with that I install Linux and to hell with the so called warranty and IF one hardware part stuffs up replace it yourself, very rare that it’s new hardware usually the OS is at fault.
Have you ever had hardware (new) just pack up and stop working, having bought 4 new machine in the last 15 years never had ever the hardware breakdown, it just scare tactics from the sellers generated from M$.
Install Windows 10 or better so I Install Linux always.


They are still around in Australia. My last major computer was a custom build by a small local firm. They were happy for me to put any OS in it. I chose Debian. They even did a trial install, just to test it.
Next time, if I cant find a local firm, I will be looking to enthusiasts like @4dandl4 and @clatterfordslim .
A manufacturer would be last on my list.

I did buy a refurbished PC recently, a Dell 9020 with a new ssd. It has been trouble free. I have it as a fallback if my main computer fails, and as something to experiment with.

There are companies on the internet who will custom build a Linux machine. They are expensive. I have not tried that avenue.


Thank you @nevj for a nice comment and trust!!!

Surely you have “shops” in the UK where you can buy components from directly and build yourself? It’s not especially tricky - in fact - I find the hardware part of a computer build infinitely simpler than the software side…

My most recent build ?

early 2021 - A: MSI AMD motherboard and ATX case from one shop, and B: a Ryzen 7 (with heatsink) and power supply (the one in the ATX case was a bit shonky) and RAM and SSD (NVME) from another shop. Had A: delivered, drove to the other shop for B:

As for the GPU - I just transplanted my NVidia GTX1650 Super (purchased earlier in 2020) out of my 10 year old AMD Phenom system (that I also built from scratch and assorted components) - but about 6 months ago I bought an AMD GPU off Amazon…

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It’s interesting to see how many on this forum are members of the PinchPenny Club like me, converting hand-me-down and surplus computers to vibrant Linux machines. My current box is a 2012 or so HP Small Form Factor 6300 with integrated Intel graphics and a couple of extra drive bays. It runs three distros very smoothly, unless I mess something up. There’s a 1T external hard drive for permanent storage. I think it cost $70-80 from Best Buy or NewEgg.

Were I to have the itch for a new Linux machine, I would go to NewEgg or one of the other online suppliers. They have barebones kits–case, mobo, cpu–and build my own. It’s really easy and there are many YouTube how-tos describing the process. Another alternative is scavenging a Windows box–medium-old XPs are good–and just scrubbing all the junk out and replacing it with Linux.

Staying clear of distros that require compiling is the best way I know to keep it simple.


But that is the fun part of Linux!!!

All distros require compiling. What Bill means is that he wants to outsource compiling to someone else.
We all use binary packages… they are convenient and time saving.
Sometimes it is useful to compile a single package
Sometimes compiling a kernel is called for
Compiling a whole distro is a large task. We only do that if we want to either learn or build something very carefully tailored to our needs

My approach has been to wait until a family member discards a perfectly good machine because it’s “not fast enough” or won’t take the latest Mac OS version. Until the last year, I’ve always run my computers until they got slow and then replaced them. Yet I came from a humble background in a (by today’s standards) remote area, at least as far as the US is concerned, and I was one of those “keep every resource” types. Eventually, I started working to liven up those old computers in my “graveyard” and ended up with some really nice units. I plan to keep up this process as my family members (snobbishly if I say so myself) discard perfectly good units using other operating systems that are four years old and would run many Linux distros quite well.

My distro did not require me to compile it. :grinning:

Considering they are not much more than a glorified radio with memory I think we should all make an effort to go that way, the only moving part is the old non ssd platter drives, @daniel.m.tripp you have inspired me that if I live another few more years on this ugck planet then I reckon time will come that I’ll try that, and IF that don’t work mm I’ll ask for help here . . .

Now that’s a plan !

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All distros require compiling.

My distro did not require me to compile it. :grinning:

There is ALWAYS one inthere in every crowd :sparkling_heart: :rofl:

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OK you outsourced it.
Someone has to compile it though. Thats what distro makers mostly do.

@ljohn I had my last computer (still using it) custom built for me at a computer shop in rural SE Queensland in 2015 and I told the tech what i wanted and she found the motherboard that could support it all. She did a magnificent job and it was actually cheaper than going to one of the big retailers. It is a desk top which is the only type of computer I would use. I also had to get a new computer tower but kept my old Dell screen and keyboard. I asked the lady to just install all the components and I would put in my own system (Linux mint 19.01) and that was no issue with her and now if she builds one from scratch she will put in Linux if requested and all her other technicians also are sound on Linux. Last year when i was getting the machine checked out and cleaned internally (cat fur and whatnot) I got them to install the then new Mint 20.1 for me.


@cpast ,
That is a really nice success story, and it says a lot for using local suppliers.

They come and go, like all businesses, but the independent computer seller/builder/fixer is a haven for all of us. How sad it will be when our only resource will be online sellers and big box stores.

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I think I might return with some comments on the points that have been raised here, for which I am very grateful. I have to say that the topic has taken a turn that I hadn’t anticipated (e.g., compiling), but it’s none the worse for all that. I don’t want to become a bore, but I would like to make a couple of additional notes that might clarify.

First of all, I am in a small community, although there are larger towns within a reasonable driving distance. While I do my best to shop locally, I found that the few computer shops that are available have been of little assistance, because the moment I mention ‘Linux’ the curtains come down. That is true even when I suggest that my query is not really Linux-related.

Many years ago I had a stroke of luck. When I was being turned away from one shop a young man followed me out and said that he was about to set up his own business and was familiar with Linux. He subsequently built the computers I have used up to this point and was always helpful with queries. Unfortunately for me, his business was a huge success, and he now deals only with big operations and can’t really offer time to individuals. I have not found anyone else willing to build me a computer.

With respect to building my own, that is a non-starter. One contributor to this thread has given his age, and I can admit to an even greater one, and I seem to have the opposite of a Midas touch, having problems with even the most basic bits. A look at my posts on this and other forums would demonstrate my helplessness and that I rely heavily on help from those sources. Believe me when I say that they have been life-savers.

I am a bit surprised that my main target seems to have been overlooked in this discussion. I think it is a disgrace that companies such as Microsoft, Dell and HP can so dominate the market that they feel they can dictate what operating system I use. In addition, those oligarchical organisations insinuate themselves into all corners; e.g., even Linux systems usually have Google as the default browser.

As a footnote, I shall add that I have spent a good deal of my later life trying to free myself from these corporations. I have pretty much succeeded now and am as Google-free as I believe it possible to be. My one failure up to now is that I can’t get rid of Amazon. Whenever I do a search, that word inevitably appears at the top and several times within any list. It only reinforces my determination not to buy from them.

Thanks for reading.

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