For past one month or so, I am looking around for a good personal laptop running GNU/Linux. I was looking for something similar to my current Mac Book Pro

My constraints were following

  1. Intel processor (2.4 Ghz or better)
  2. 8 GB (or more RAM)
  3. 15-16″ screen (14″ just does not work for software development)
  4. Sleek body (~1″ or less thick)
  5. Good build quality
  6. At least 1080p (1920×1080 resolution)
  7. chiclet keyboard (and preferably without the useless numeric keypad)
  8. Preferably running linux (porting linux to a laptop can end up being really painful)
  9. Preferably 16:10 or lesser (but I gave up on this constraint since it seems all laptops come only in 16:9 now a days, except Macs and ChromeBook Pixel)

After spending several days looking for the same, following were my conclusions

  1. The only good linux laptop sellers are System76 and Mythlogic – They resell the laptops made by Clevo/Sager and Compal (Taiwanese ODMs). Unfortunately, these ODMs are not interested in producing good quality laptops. And the resellers are stuck selling the laptops provided by them. Or, in words of AnandTech, “As I said, though, the interior of the W550EU is utterly devoid of style. This is an inherent problem all the Taiwanese ODMs have: either obscenely bland, chintzy, and style-free (Clevo and Compal), or gaudy to the point of delerium (MSI)” [source].
    Lenovo, ASUS or Samasung, none of them have decided to produce a good Linux laptop which competes with Apple’s Mac Book Pro(MBP). Chromebook Pixel is underwhelming  not only due to its screen size(13″) but even the specs (1.8 Ghz processor with just 4 GB of RAM for $1600).
  2. Mythlogic has Callisto 1512 which seems to fit great (except for the build quality) but I was told that its not their active model anymore.
  3. System76 has two great laptops Gazelle Pro (>1″ thick and heavy) and Galago Ultra Pro(14″ screen), both are great except none of them offer build quality any where even close to Dell/Lenovo (due to Celevo).
  4. An australian company seems to have good linux offerings.
  5. Some good windows laptops left were Samsung Series 9, ASUS 15″ Zenbook UX51z, Sony S – all look good but are almost as expensive as MBP (and way more expensive than Mac Book Air) despite being underwhelming in specs.
  6. Vizio looks great except for running windows and no RAM/processor customization option.
  7. ThinkPad S531 looks great but as of Aug 20, 2013 even the Lenovo customer care is not aware of a launch date.

The writing is on the wall, Apple’s Mac Book Pro’s are simply incomparable for software engineers (who prefer linux like interface). Apple has complete control not only over the higher end of the market but also over software engineers who can afford one. The others are just seem to be playing a catchup game.
Hell, even Linus Torvalds love them.

Three months back, Mark Shuttleworth fixed a bug that Microsoft no longer has majority market share, I wonder if he would file another one for Apple anytime soon.