We left the MS Windows/Apple world. With very little knowledge of computers, you can too. Linux is a free operating system which was originally based on Unix. We have contemplated making this move for years. There will be a follow-up blog of why we made the move, but this is a how-to blog. Though there are thousands (an infinite number?) of ways to set up Linux, there are two very easy ways of getting Linux on a laptop.
The first is to purchase a computer with Linux installed by someone else. This is the easiest and includes tech support. Companies which sell laptops with Linux already installed include System76, ZaReason, Dell, ThinkPenguin, and EmperorLinux. This is more expensive. Though Dell frequently changes their product line, for today, here is a link to their $1200 laptop with a Linux Ubuntu operating system. http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-linux/pd
We purchased two refurbished Windows 7 computers for under $800 from a shop which refurbishes computers. There are thousands of such shops throughout the United States. Refurbished Windows 7 computers are also available in many foreign countries and thousands are available online. Included in the price was repartitioning the hard drives with 50 Gig partitions for Linux. The dual boot system allows Ubuntu to access data from the Windows 7 partition. The Linux partition is only needed for the Operating System and Linux programs such as LibreOffice, Inkscape, Blender, GrafX2, Font Manager, etc. We found a dual boot system to be the easiest to install and use. Using Windows 7, download Ubuntu from here http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop.
Burn the download to a DVD, then follow these instructions. http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/install-ubuntu-desktop
Be certain you write down ALL USERNAMES AND PASSWORDS.
It really is this simple. Purchasing a new computer is actually more difficult to get particular features that you want, since there are many refurbished Windows 7 choices. Even with a dual boot system, which is much slower, the system boots up in about 18 seconds.
Anything which can be done on Windows or Mac can be done with on Ubuntu. The single greatest issue is a lack of tech support for Linux in general. However, to date, everything we have needed to do with Ubuntu is available by asking on Google.