System76 releases expensive Lemur Pro Linux laptop

The new laptop has decent specs, but can Linux die-hards justify the price?

Denver, Colorado-based Linux PC maker System76 has announced the latest version of the 14-inch Lemur Pro laptop. The new laptop is equipped with 12th generation Intel Core processors.

System76’s Lemur Pro debuts with Twitter Fanfare

The company touted the new laptop’s processors, battery life, and 180-degree hinge in a tweet:

The laptop sells System76 website for $1,149.00 and is marketed to developers. Buyers have a choice of operating systems: the standard version of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS or the custom version of System76, Pop!_OS. System76 naturally makes the latter the preferred option.


Technical specifications Lemur Pro

Potential buyers can choose between an Intel Core i5-1235U or i7-1255U processor. The 14.1-inch screen has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. Both processors support up to 10 cores and the latter has a clock speed of up to 4.7 GHz. Up to 40GB of RAM is available, with up to 4TB of data on two SSDs for storage.

As with most modern devices, charging is done with USB-C. System76 promises up to 14 hours of battery life. The firmware is also open-source, based on Coreboot, with System76 touting the “right to repair”.

“Linux tax” from Lemur Pro

The System 76 Lemur Pro is priced higher than many comparable Windows laptops. This trend is common on pre-installed Linux laptops, including those from Dell, HP or Lenovo, although the operating system is free. Indeed, they are marketed to programmers and data scientists. This niche market may simply be more willing to pay for a machine without Windows.

This seems ironic given that the cost of Windows licenses that Linux enthusiasts weren’t using, supposedly driving up PC prices, inspired the publicity stunt of the late 90s, Windows refund day.

There’s nothing stopping Linux users from buying standard Windows laptops and installing Linux from them, but manufacturers like System76 promise a more integrated experience and freedom from occasional Linux hardware issues. It’s a similar justification to what Apple users give for the prices they pay for their hardware.

System76 seems to have anticipated criticism of a “Linux tax” by pointing out that funding is available for their machines from Klarna.

System 76 Lemur Pro is part of the growing Linux hardware market

System76’s new laptop is proof that the Linux hardware market continues to grow and is poised to go mainstream. Linux die-hards considering a new machine might want to take a serious look at a computer with Linux pre-installed, even if they end up with a bigger hole in their wallet than with a Windows machine.

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Steven L. Nielsen