When buying portable computers, I always went to computer stores. I could check several laptop or netbook brands, but I always had to buy Windows with the PC no matter if I intended not to use it.
Since my Toshiba Dynabook laptop (which I had bought back in 2003) is about to die on me (it still runs thanks to MEPIS 8), I decided to go hunting for a good replacement. Although netbooks are more convenient for my work-related purposes, I still can do with my little Toshiba NB100. Even if its specs are far from powerful, it is capable of running several Linux distros and has never failed me.
I thought "my old laptop is about to die, so I should buy a laptop to replace it."
With that thought, I went to several stores. I checked several laptop models and brands...and discovered two patterns:
1. The standard was 2 GB of RAM. Some of them came with Windows 7 Starter (Common! That's a crippled OS designed for netbooks, not for laptops! Besides, today's netbooks have as much RAM)
2. "Powerful" laptops had 4 GB of RAM. They came with Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium. Their price tags were a bit too high, too.
Although a few machines had more than 4 GB of RAM, their prices were quite close to Apple products. Clearly, these stores were taking a sizable part of the whole price for these laptops...and the Microsoft tax also played a part, I guess.
Thus, I went back home and decided to buy a Linux computer from Zareason instead. Why? Simply because for less than the price local stores here were selling me their ultrabooks with 6 GB of RAM, I could buy a laptop Alto 4330 with 8 GB of RAM (I could get 16, but none of my other machines goes beyond 2) and more HD space, not to mention a better processor...and most importantly, it's already running my favorite Linux distro!
Although it was not among the variety of their supported Linux flavors, I asked Zareason to preinstall MEPIS 11 (64 bit) on my laptop. They did it and even included a MEPIS DVD for me! That was a nice touch! I, as a customer, felt very happy because I never liked the OEM new trend of placing one's OS into a hidden partition and giving the customers the hassle of burning their own rescue media (yes, I know the philosophy behind that!)
I must also say that my laptop was delivered exactly within the time frame specified. The people at Zareason also got in touch with me by e-mail to confirm my transaction for security reasons. They took my order seriously and very professionally. Too much, maybe! :P
After playing with my new laptop, I decided to replace MEPIS 11 with the second alpha of MEPIS 12. I know alphas are not for production machines, but so far, I haven't found any issues. I was even able to add Dreamdesktop (animated video wallpapers) along with my other KDE plasma effects:
It feels great to have a Linux friendly laptop at last. While many people are complaining about the atrocities of Metro, I feel at ease...and with a much better hardware, too!
From now on, I'll buy my laptops from Zareason and I'll also recommend it to others. Unlike mainstream computer stores, Zareason does not force unwanted software on their clients. You have choices...that is, real ones!
December 2012 did not mean the end of the world, but it meant the end of my Windows-powered laptop-buying era. Bye, mainstream computer stores! Hello, Zareason!