A Black femail working on a computer in an office.

Linux desktops and laptops


I’ve run Linux on the desktop since 1993. In that time, I’ve lost track of how many machines I’ve run Linux on, either at home or in the office. But I’ll always remember the “milestone” machines. My first Linux computer ran on a ‘386-SX desktop. Much later, I bought a VA Linux mini-tower. At work, I always ran Linux on a laptop. These days, I run Linux on several machines, including a laptop, desktop, and Raspberry Pi.

I wanted to know how others ran Linux, either at home or at work. I asked our community to find out:

Chris Hermansen runs several machines:

I run the latest Ubuntu, whether LTS (Long Term Support) or intermediate versions. Right now that’s Ubuntu 24.04 which is an LTS version. I run this on three systems:

My work laptop, which is a System76 Gazelle from 2019 with an Intel i7 8th generation CPU

My work desktop, which is a homebuilt Gigabyte Technology X570 Aorus Pro Wifi motherboard with an AMD Ryzen7 3800X CPU and a NVIDIA GeForce RTX3060 graphics card;

And a spare old desktop from approximately 2007, which has a Gigabyte motherboard of some sort and an Intel Core Duo CPU. (This runs just fine by the way; we keep our secondary copy of our digital photos there.)

I have used Ubuntu as my work and non-work operating system since version 4.10 in 2005. Back then it was running on a lovely-at-the-time Toshiba laptop, which was my first non-Sun computer since 1986.

Alan Formy-Duval built his own machine:

My desktop system is one that I built myself. I have always built my own since my days as a Value Added Reseller working in PC shops in the 1990s. Currently it is running Fedora Linux Workstation Edition. Hardware specs are:

Microstar (MSI) Mortar Z270M motherboard, Intel Core i7-7700K CPU, 24 GB RAM, AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT graphics, and Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus disk

It is about eight years old, but it runs great given Linux goes easy on system resources.

David Both also builds his own Linux computers:

I usually build my own desktop computers. Out of twelve total computers, nine are desktops and I have built eight of those. One is a very old Dell that was gifted to me and that I am using for longevity testing. I also have three laptops, all of which I purchased from System 76.

My primary workstation is built on a Cooler Master MasterFrame 700 frame. It has an ASUS TUF X299 MARK 2 motherboard, 64 GB of RAM because I run multiple virtual machines simultaneously for testing, with an Intel Core i9-7960X CPU @ 2.80 GHz with 16 cores and HT for 32 CPUs, that I’ve overclocked to 3.8 GHz, and is liquid-cooled. It also has an AMD Radeon PRO WX2100 GPU. I also use a Corsair K70 RGB MK2 keyboard and a Ergo M575 wireless mouse.

My primary laptop is a System76 Oryx Pro8 with an Intel Core i7-10875H CPU @ 2.30 GHz CPU with 16 cores and 32 CPUs overclocked to 5.1 GHz, and 64 GB of RAM – again so I can run multiple virtual machines.

The old Dell is an Optiplex GX620 that was built in 2005. It has an Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.00 GHz with a single core and 2 CPUs, and 4 GB of RAM.

I use another of the less powerful ones as my server. This hosts my email server, three web sites, and a number of lists. This computer uses an Intel Core i7-8700 CPU @ 3.20 GHz that has 6 cores and 12 CPUs, with 32 GB of RAM.

All my computers run “24×7” on Fedora 40.

Kevin Sonney uses Linux all around the house:

I don’t use Linux as my “primary” desktop, but I do use it on a lot of machines here in my house (mostly Raspberry Pis). However, I do have an old Lenovo all-in-one running Fedora Linux as the control panel for a laser engraver, and a Thinkpad X250 as a multi-boot “test” box for Fedora Linux and ArcaOS (ArcaOS isn’t Free Software, I know, but I’m one of those weird OS/2 people).

Don Watkins likes the NUC for a micro-desktop:

My primary workspace revolves around my trusty Intel NUC 11, a powerhouse packed into a compact form factor. This miniature marvel boasts a quad-core 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor coupled with a whopping 64 GB of memory. Rendering visuals is a breeze thanks to the Intel TigerLake-LP GT2 Iris Xe Graphics it’s equipped with. For video conferencing, I rely on the AVerMedia Live Streamer CAM 313, seamlessly integrated into my setup.

What I adore most about the NUC is its minimal footprint, fitting snugly into my workspace without overwhelming it. Connectivity is top-notch with Intel WiFi 6 and Intel gigabit ethernet ensuring I’m always connected. Storage needs are met by the Samsung 980 Pro NVME drive, offering a generous terabyte of space. Operating on the reliable Linux Mint Virginia 21.3, my setup is both powerful and efficient.

Accompanying my NUC desktop is the faithful DarterPro from System76, a workhorse that has served me well over the past five years. Sporting an Intel i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, it’s a reliable companion for when I’m on the move. Like my NUC, it also runs Linux Mint, ensuring consistency across my devices.

In my journey through various Linux distributions, Linux Mint has emerged as my steadfast choice for the past four years. The allure of the Cinnamon desktop environment has captivated me, its intuitive design seamlessly blending with my workflow. Linux Mint’s native support for flatpak eliminates the need for additional tweaks, streamlining my experience further.

Aiding others in transitioning to Linux is a passion of mine, and Linux Mint’s familiar interface simplifies this process. With Firefox and Google Chrome as my trusted browsers, I navigate the digital landscape effortlessly. GnuCash remains a cornerstone of my financial management, serving both personal and professional needs, including my role as a fraternity treasurer.

I rely on the dynamic duo of Jitsi and Zoom for video conferencing, both impeccably supported by Linux Mint. Joplin caters to my notetaking requirements, while Visual Studio Code and LibreOffice handle word processing and light database work seamlessly.

My Linux ecosystem, centered around the NUC and complemented by the DarterPro, embodies efficiency, reliability, and familiarity. With Linux Mint as my guiding light, I navigate the digital realm with ease, equipped with tools tailored to enhance productivity and streamline workflows.

Jim Hall uses a laptop and a desktop:

For myself, I use a Lenovo ThinkCentre M720 Tiny desktop that I bought in 2019, running Fedora Linux. This has an 8th Generation Intel Core i3-8100T CPU at 3.10 GHz, 32 GB of memory, and 256 GB PCIe-NVME Solid State Drive for storage. I used to run Fedora with GNOME, but since Fedora 40 I’m running Xfce as my desktop.

When I’m on the go, I run a 12 year old (2012) “1st Gen” Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop with Intel Core i5-3317U CPU. It has 4 GB of memory (which is small these days) and 128 GB Solid State Drive for storage. This is also running Fedora Linux, with Xfce.

I also have a Raspberry Pi 3B that I use as a kind of “mini-server” to share files, access my printer, and use as a “development” hub to build websites. It runs Fedora Server.