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Would you pay $800 for a Linux laptop?

Would you pay $800 for a Linux laptop?


Ships with the Linux-based KDE Neon OS

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KDE is one of the bigger Linux projects out there, and today the dev team behind it announced that it would be partnering with Slimbook (a Spanish PC company) to produce the KDE Slimbook, a laptop designed specifically for running KDE Neon.

The driving idea behind the project was to help alleviate the biggest issue facing Linux distributions: hardware compatibility. Where a company like Apple simply can ensure that its hardware and software work in sync by controlling both of those aspects, and Microsoft’s Windows has hefty licensing fees and requirements to ensure that hardware partners provide proper drivers and support, Linux, by virtue of being an independent and open-source platform, can be far more difficult to get working on different hardware. The usual method for getting Linux on a computer typically involves trawling forums, following how-to guides, and hoping that another member of the community has tried the setup or encountered the issue that you’re working on.

Hence, the KDE Slimbook, which allows the developers of KDE to reliably iron out specific issues by having a standardized hardware platform that they can develop software for, making it easier to ensure its software runs correctly. KDE hopes that the homogenized hardware will give a more reliable user experience, which in turn could attract more people to use KDE’s version of Linux.

A fairly high price to pay for free software

Spec-wise, the KDE Slimbook offers a 13-inch 1080p screen, either a sixth-generation Core i5 model or Core i7 processor, and is configurable with up to 16GB of RAM and a 500GB SSD. Now for the bad news: the base model, with a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 120GB SSD, starts at €729 ($779.77), while the maximum spec model tops out at €1,239, ($1,325.30), which is a fairly high price to pay for free software.