Today, we’re pleased to announce that elementary OS 5.1 Hera is now available out of the box on over a dozen models from two retailers, with more in the works.
Since our first release of elementary OS in 2011, folks have asked us how they can buy a computer running elementary OS out of the box. While installing an operating system may be common knowledge within Linux user groups and IT departments, it’s a huge hurdle for everyday users who just want a computer that works. We’ve also long been in discussions with OEMs about shipping elementary OS and how that relationship between users, the OEM, and elementary would look.
Making elementary OS more “gettable”
We’ve written before about ensuring elementary OS is “gettable.” A phrase lovingly borrowed from Canonical designer Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt), it’s one of four things he says an OS needs to be in order to succeed. For more background on this, see this previous post:
We’ve long been working toward making elementary OS more “gettable,” identifying barriers like the installer experience. A couple years ago, we started work on a new installer with System76, and wrote about that:
Ultimately, however, most folks out there use the OS that comes on their device. And when existing users of elementary OS are looking to get a new computer, they want to be sure elementary OS will work well on it. So we need to do one of two things:
- Build our own devices, or
- Work with existing OEMs
While we would love to design and build our own devices for elementary OS, we’re a small team, comprised largely of volunteers. Hardware is hard, margins are thin, and it takes a ton of capital to start up. At this point, it makes more sense for us to focus on our relationships with existing OEMs, ensuring people can get elementary OS out of the box from a company that is experienced with selling and shipping devices.
OEM Program: Retailers & Partners
In that vein, we’ve restructured our OEM program to make it both easier to ship elementary OS and for those purchases to support the work we do. We now have two tiers for OEMs: Retailers and Partners. While all OEMs must comply with our branding and trademarks, the other requirements and perks for the tiers differ.
Retailers are companies that ship devices with elementary OS while complying with our trademarks. In return, we list a link to the retailer’s site or landing page in our store.
While we don’t certify individual retailer models, we do ensure we have a relationship with the company, and we work with the company to determine an appropriate royalty, referral, or other way the OEM can contribute to elementary OS. This ensures we’re promoting companies that have signed on to directly support elementary in some measurable way.
Partners are a higher tier that requires more involvement from both sides; in addition to selling devices with elementary OS and complying with our trademarks, partners must follow stricter software guidelines and receive per-model approval by elementary. In return, we feature the specific models in our store with higher prominence.
Partner devices require a negotiable per-device royalty. Thus, purchasing a partner device guarantees a portion of your purchase goes to elementary and helps ensure the long-term sustainability of elementary OS.
Get a Device
Head over to the elementary Store for our current retailers—and keep an eye out for additional retailers and partners in the coming months. Our first two retailers are Laptop With Linux and Star Labs:
Laptop With Linux
Based in the Netherlands, Laptop With Linux offers several laptops and mini desktops optimized for elementary OS. Laptops range from thin-and-light notebooks with 14″ displays to workstations with 17.3″ displays.
The switch to Linux can often be a very big one. Fortunately, elementary OS is one of the most visually attractive and user friendly Linux-based operating systems, and our customers often choose it when making the switch.
Without projects such as elementary OS, the proportion of Linux users would never grow. We are therefore very excited to offer elementary OS on our laptops and mini computers, and give something back to elementary with every sale.
Peter Pont, Laptop With Linux
Star Labs is based in the United Kingdom and offers a very small number of thin and light laptop models, designed to run elementary OS. Their laptops are on the smaller end, with 11″ to 13.3″ displays.
We are excited to team up with elementary with elementary OS now available on our laptops. With the OS being light, clean, and visually stunning, they break the boundaries for Linux going forward. The combination of elementary OS and the LabTop Mk IV creates the ultimate open source experience out of the box.
Sean Rhodes, Technical Project Lead at Star Labs
More to Come
We’re in talks with additional OEMs about potential retailer or partner relationships; stay tuned to the blog and our store. If you’re an OEM that would like to discuss becoming a retailer or partner, check out our Information for OEMs.
Thanks to all of our supporters, backers, and customers! Your contributions make elementary possible. If you’d like to help build and improve elementary OS, don’t hesitate to Get Involved.