Tuxedo Pulse G2: Linux in your lap

Germany's answer to System76 – pre-installed with your preferred distro

Tuxedo Computers is launching a second generation of its Pulse high-end Linux laptop.

If you want to run Linux on a new PC, you have fewer options than if you want the default of Windows. Of course, you can just buy a Windows laptop and hope that everything works. This means paying for an OS you don't want and accepting the risk that some things don't work when running a Linux OS, don't have drivers, and so on.

The PC maker may well not accept such incompatibilities as grounds for return, and in any case, by the time you discover them, you may have removed or modified the pre-loaded OS and can't return the machine anyway.

One answer is to buy a machine with Linux pre-installed. In the US, System76 is well established, and it will ship internationally. Less known in the Anglosphere is German vendor Tuxedo Computers, which is one of main players in this market in Europe. It has a variety of models, from smaller 14-inch ultraportables to 17-inch powerhouses.

The new Pulse G2 model is Tuxedo's portable workstation, with a 15-inch HiDPI screen.

It has an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU, with eight cores and 16 threads. The GPU is a CPU-integrated Radeon RX Vega 8, with eight cores running at up to 1900MHz. Tuxedo has increased the CPU's performance by fitting twin cooling fans, allowing them to overclock the chip and run it at 35W. These are reasonable performance boosts from the 2020 first-generation device, which had a Ryzen 7 4800H. The 15-inch HiDPI screen runs at 2560×1440, compared to the previous model's 1920×1080.

Tuxedo 15 Pulse G2

Tuxedo 15 Pulse G2

Tuxedo offers a choice of pre-installed distributions, including its own Tuxedo OS, based on the current Ubuntu LTS with the KDE desktop, but customers can also choose standard Ubuntu (including Xubuntu, Kubuntu, and Ubuntu MATE), openSUSE, or ElementaryOS. The company offers an automated installer it calls WebFAI, which you can download and try for yourself. It also offers an automatic driver-installation tool called Tomte.

One of the few restrictions is that because installations are automatic, you can't choose custom disk partitioning – you get their standard installation. However, with the reassurance that the machines are known good for Linux compatibility, nuking the preloaded OS and reinstalling yourself if you want a separate /home volume is less nerve-wracking.

Of course, other vendors are available. Some of the multinational computer vendors will preload certain models with Linux, and there are multiple lists of Linux laptop vendors, such as LinuxPreloaded. Bargain Hardware also sells a range of budget refurb kit and offers Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or FreeBSD installation as an option.

If merely coming preloaded with Linux isn't free enough for you, the Ministry of Freedom will sell you a refurbished ThinkPad reflashed with FOSS firmware. ®

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