System76 is a company based in Colorado that sells computers (most noteably, laptops) pre-installed with Linux. I've read some negative comments on places like reddit about the quality of their hardware and so I thought I'd write about my experience with dealing with the company as well as my dealing with the product I purchased (the Lemur, specifically the lemu7).

It all began when I decided I wanted a new laptop. I don't remember how I heard of System76, but I was excited to hear that there was a company that sold laptops that came pre-installed with Linux! The thought of not having to fight with the hardware to get it to run was tantalizing to me. I wanted something small and portable. They didn't have the Galago Pro available at the time or I would have gotten that. I settled on the lowest end laptop they had, the Lemur (lemu7).

After the Lemur arrived I found I had two problems with it. The first I found was that the SD card reader wasn't capable of reading every kind of SD card (which I found obnoxious, but I could easily live with). I made a ticket to find this out. The problem I had with this was that it was a known defect and it wasn't made known to me before I bought it. The second was that my laptop screen would flicker on and off, seemingly at random. After a while I submitted a help ticket about it. The response was prompt. They said it was a bad screen. I sent it in and got it back in about a week. They paid for the shipping and it was all okay.

My impression of the staff is that they care about what they do at System76. I felt like their customer service reps were knowledgable and courteous when I dealt with them.

System76 only officially supports Ubuntu and their own fork of Ubuntu, PopOS. Some have complained that they don't support Linux, just Ubuntu. That is true, but it would be very difficult to support every Linux distribution and it would quickly become unmanageable.

Creating their own fork was a great idea, especially for them. They can employ people to work specifically on desktop Linux. They contribute to upstream projects (like GNOME). They can show off their own brand. By creating their own Linux distro, they narrow the scope of what they have to support. Having an official 'go to' operating system for their computers also leaves the bar of entry lower for new Linux users.

They have a drivers / firmware PPA that is made for Ubuntu. Recently I received a firmware update that disables the Intel management engine, which I found nice. However, also recently, I distro hopped. Currently I'm on Manjaro and it's working just fine without any tweaks.

As for the computer itself, I still really enjoy it and it does more than I need. I haven't had any hardware problems since the screen thing, and that was about a year ago at this point.

In conclusion, I feel like System76 has a lot of potential and I am actually a fan of what they've done and what they are doing. I am happy with my laptop and will consider buying from them again. I will probably take the initiative next time and actually send them a message to ask about the product I'm getting and make sure there are no known problems and what not.