There are a growing number of options for folks who want to buy a high-end laptop that comes with a GNU/Linux distribution rather than Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS. And next year it looks like there may be at least one more.
The upcoming Kubuntu Focus notebook has the kind of specs you’d expect to find from a high-end gaming laptop. But while most gaming PCs ship with Windows, this one will run Kubuntu (Ubuntu Linux with the KDE desktop environment).
It’s expected to be available in mid-January for $2,399 and up.
No, the Kubuntu Focus isn’t exactly cheap. But it has the kind of specs you’d hope to find in a premium laptop, including:
- Intel Core i7-9750H hexa-core processor
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics
- 32GB DDR4-2666 RAM
- 1TB NVMe solid state storage
The notebook features a 16.1 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel matte IPS display, an LED backlit keyboard with 3-4 mm of key travel, a metal and plastic chassis that measures less than 0.8 inches thick, and the computer comes with a 2-year warranty.
Linux computers haven’t always been the best option for PC gaming, but things have gotten a lot better in recent years with Valve bringing its Steam game client to Linux and more recently adding support for playing Windows-only games (including those not normally available through Steam).
And in addition to gaming, the computer’s beefy specs could come in handy for video editing, software development, and other tasks.
If the design looks familiar, that’s because the hardware isn’t an original design — it’s a rebranded Clevo computer that comes with custom software. But since the Kubuntu Focus laptop comes through a partnership between the Kubuntu Council, Tuxedo Computers, and Mindshare Management, 2 percent of the sales price will go to the Kubuntu Council and help fund continued development of the operating system.
I wonder if they ever want to release a laptop which is not only hardware compatible with Linux, but also comfortable to use in Linux and other Unix environments. Even usable as a work computer! Let me list why I don’t even consider those laptops:
No middle mouse button (equivalent to shift insert). It means much less usability for the command line.
No separate function keys. That just makes it a pain to switch between using a DE and a CLI (maybe I didn’t want to lower the volume but switch to a different terminal, or just press F6!)
No removable battery: That makes a > 15 year old laptop better for field work than this. Even if is less efficient! It is always easier to just carry extra batteries than having to rely in whatever this laptop gives! I need to be able to replace batteries without needing tools!
Honestly, there is no reason to choose this over a DELL precission or an Thinkpad from before early 2019 (not the later ones). There is a demand for professional laptops and this one is just one more in the line of thin but inefficient and uncomfortable to use generic laptops. It doesn’t offer anything but a donation to the KDE project. You can always donate directly, give them more money, get a better laptop for Linux and/or BSD and still spend less.
Brad, any thoughts on the updated Star Labs Star-Lite? N4200, 8GB RAM, 11 inch notebook, about $450. I ran across it in a Pinebook Pro comparison and hadn’t heard of it before. It’s a less-premium open-source small computer which maybe of interest to some here.
I just checked it out. Very interesting. I like the size and the specs for the price!
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