How do I avoid giving Microsoft money?

I’m in the market for a new laptop, and I haven’t used any Microsoft software outside of work for over half a decade now. How do I avoid giving them money for something I will never use?

If I buy a laptop with Linux pre-installed, does that avoid the Microsoft tax? Or do they just buy Windows machines, install Linux on them, and then pass the cost of that unused Windows license on to me?

Anyway, where do I find this mythical pre-installed Linux computer at non-exorbitant prices these days? My current laptop originally came from Dell with Ubuntu, but I think Dell shut that program down a while ago.

With the new UEFI Secure Boot feature on all Windows 8 machines, pretty soon even Linux distros will have to pay Microsoft to sign their boot loaders. So I’d like to get a regular BIOS laptop before this travesty goes down. (I assume in the 5 years or so I expect this laptop to last, something will be worked out to where every non-Apple computer user in the world won’t have to pay tribute to MS.)

As an aside, if it is this difficult to avoid paying MS for things I don’t want or use – and it will get even more difficult before it gets easier – how does that get around antitrust laws?

Custom built laptop. I’ve never used this company, just was first in a Google search.
Linux is offered as an OS.

Or build your own.

Wow. I’ve built desktops in the past, but it never crossed my mind that building my own laptop was even an option. Thanks pat, I’ll look into that.

All major Wintel-style laptop vendors sell MS OS installed machines. And the way MS sets up its licensing, it is far, far cheaper to buy a license for all PC-type devices they sell than to buy licenses for only the ones that have MS OSes installed.

Some vendors are supposed to allow people to buy machines without an MS OS, and refund the OS cost. Slashdot occasionally posts a story about the ridiculous levels people have tried to go thru to get their refund. In most cases the vendor has no intention of actually refunding the money.

As to the later part, MS was found guilty of violating antitrust laws, ordered broken up and they just waited for a new administration, got the original judge removed and tada, the case disappeared. $ of course had nothing to do with it.

The good news is that there are new PC-ish devices coming out all over the place that use different processors and OSes that are outside the Wintel world. Android is starting to become a major player in more than phones. No doubt some vendors of these devices in the future will be completely outside of MS’s control (if not already) and yet be equivalent in power and capabilities of any other laptop/tablet. Things are actually looking up if you want to avoid MS.

Not exactly. I’ve read that Microsoft makes more in licensing fees for Android devices than Google does. Wikipedia says, “Microsoft has also sued several manufacturers of Android devices for patent infringement, and collects patent licensing fees from others. In October 2011 Microsoft said they had signed license agreements with ten Android device manufacturers, accounting for 55% of worldwide revenue for Android devices. These include Samsung and HTC.”

So even with an Android device, some money will be going to Microsoft.

System76 makes Ubuntu laptops that seemingly have never been touched by microsoft. I’ve been thinking about getting one for myself for months now, but can’t get my head around committing to a purchase.

Why don’t you buy a Mac laptop? If you don’t want to use the Mac OS, can’t you run Linux on those?

There’s a similar problem, in that while I admire Mac hardware, I don’t want to pay for OSX if I’m not going to use it.

Also, I’m kind of looking in the $500-$1000 range, while I think the cheapest Macbook is around $1500 (and something awesome like a Macbook Pro starts at $2500.)

Still, it’s an option. I’ve been perusing craigslist to see if there are cheap used Mac laptops, but the resale value of those things is pretty incredible. I’ve seen Macbooks from ~2006 selling for $500.

Dell supplies us computers without any Windows licensing (we install from our own license). They just have FreeDOS on them. I’m sure other manufacturers could do this for you if you insist on it. You won’t find them in stores, though.

Is there a link or something you can point me to? I like the Dell laptop I have and wouldn’t mind just upgrading to a new one, but their website implied their non-Windows line was no more.

Well, you could buy a Mac. I don’t think Apple buys a Microsoft license for each MacBook it sells :slight_smile:
ETA: someone beat me to it before I got to this window

I have had good luck buying Dell online. I “build” my computer from their Business side (they never ask), then call them up and give the salesperson the specs.

Then I haggle to get them to remove all crappware. Then I ask for free shipping. I am always successful.

No matter what their site states, it is worth a try to get a good deal on a non-MS model.

Be careful which Mac laptop you get: The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable

:confused: :confused:
I thought I was the Rip Van Winkle who’d lost track of American culture, but even I have heard of the Bush-Cheney-Rove Administration which ruled the U.S.A. during 2001-2009.

Among many other notable achievements they dropped the antitrust case against Microsoft, in which the Clinton Administration was on the verge of a major legal victory. I don’t remember why; perhaps all U.S. Attorneys needed to focus on voter fraud.

Microsoft’s monopolization methods are egregiously illegal. I’ve pointed this out in SDMB threads before; Dopers rush to defend Microsoft; most amusing is that during the debates the most adamant Microsoft supporters eventually admit to knowing nothing whatsoever about software.

I did some googling and it looks like Dell will sell you a laptop without Windows, they just don’t advertise (ostensibly because some people buy the cheapest version and then complain when it doesn’t come with an OS). You have to talk to the salesperson over the live chat or over the phone or something. So I think I might give that route a try.

The “tribute” is $99. And $99 covers every single person who uses the distro. And distros could easily simply negotiate with every UEFI manufacturer if they wanted, Microsoft offers their $99 service to “piggy-back” on their certificate as a convenience.

In short: way overblown.

I would like to congratulate you.

I believe that this is the first “Get a Mac” post that i’ve ever seen on this board that was actually relevant to the topic, rather than a threadshitting swipe at Windows.

I actually thought it was a lot more than that. Thanks for clarifying.

The bigger problem is ARM devices, where according to the Windows 8 certification, the user will not be allowed to install alternative OSes at all. Frankly, I refuse to pay for a device I do not own, which is part of the reason I won’t buy an iphone or ipad.

It’s $29.99.

BTW, my Mac is Microsoft-free.

That case was about web browsers if I recall correctly. Which seems kind of quaint these days, when IE no longer has majority market share.

Do you know if that case touched on the much more insidious licensing deals MS had (has) with OEMs to license each computer sold, regardless of whether it came with Windows or not? That’s my big beef with MS. That and the all new requirement for ARM devices to not even allow other OSes to boot.