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http://www.hettes.nl/hettes-stopt
This is sad. Translation:

Hettes is closing

We have to announce that we, the team of Hettes, can no longer deliver laptops with Ubuntu Linux or another Linux distribution. This is not because we want to or because of time or resources, but it's because we can't buy computers (anymore) without operating system.

We started our webshop a few years ago with a lot of ambition and fun, continued developing it, and helped lots of customers with satisfaction. Since the beginning of our passion and ambition for the webshop with laptops and desktops with pre-installed Ubuntu Linux we've had problems with buying systems without operating system, or simply said without Windows.

We have tried to continue our work in different ways and we have had small successes. However with Windows 8 all doors are being closed permanently and we see no way to open these.

The worst of the story is that the community, you, as user of Ubuntu or another distribution were very happy with the different parties that deliver/delivered laptops and desktops with Linux and we always received positive and nice feedback from you.

We'd like to continue our activities and serve users and consumers with your request for laptop and desktops, but we are not given the chance to do this. Because of this reason we decided to stop our internet activities.

This does not apply to existing customers of Hettes, we as team have decided to continue technical support and warranties for you because, as we said, we're not closing because we want to, but because we are being held back by the large computer manufacturers.

Edit: To be clear, I have no affiliation with Hettes and I can't tell you anything beyond this translation. If you want to suggest something that they might do, this is their contact page: http://www.hettes.nl/contact
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Alberto Barrionuevo's profile photoEmerson Takahashi's profile photoWill Hill's profile photoBjarno Oeyen's profile photo
47 comments
 
That is really sad. And it's even sadder that it's crappy windows 8. If a vendor would grow big enough balls to supply them with blank laptops and tell MS to go screw themselves I would buy only their laptops just to help support them.
 
I don't know about Holland but is it difficult to import from Taiwan the required components?
 
This is exactly why my computers are custom made and I get the OS that is best for what I am doing   But I prefer the Android system to windows 8
and will have that on my tablet 
 
+Emerson Takahashi Indeed, I had the same idea. I guess it's mostly a problem for the laptop market, desktops are relatively easy to put together. But even then, why can't we just buy bare systems?
 
You can't really make custom laptops (which this news is about), which is a shame, but understandable. What a shame.
 
I'm suffering the same problem here in Spain. Actually tweeted about how difficult if not impossible is to get a computer without MS Windows installed: https://twitter.com/DavidCaabeiro/status/308560162589904896

As the article in the link explains (sorry, it's in Spanish) our local consumer association has alerted about this two years ago, but it's clear little has been done. Perhaps a petition to the European Commission with some backup from affected companies (Canonical, etc) and consumer associations could be made? At least as a first step.
 
+William Johnston I think that's why they are closing down: it's the only remaining option and they apparently don't want to support Microsoft while selling hardware and Linux.
 
Shame    is Microsoft making this happen with their demanding the use of W8 
 
I'd buy a well-constructed desktop with Linux preinstalled and optimized, for what its worth; laptops would be nice but I understand getting them without preinstalled OSes is a pain. 

Good luck. Sorry to hear about the hard times.
 
It's unclear from the translation or comments, but it's difficult to imagine this is a "technical" challenge.  It seems likely that (by charging license fees to a laptop manufacturer whether or not it installs Windows), Microsoft has raised Hettes's hardware costs beyond what they can reasonably pass along to clients. 

Basically, Microsoft forced terms on manufacturers, hoping to put the competition out of business.  Isn't there some law about that?
 
I have been in the market for a laptop and didn't even consider the possibility of finding one without windows on it.  I always check compatibility with linux/ubuntu before purchasing, but unfortunately windows 8 is a tax.
 
As I understand it, any Bios which can boot Windows 8 demands that it boot only images signed with a secure key, and the process of getting that secure key is difficult and controlled by Microsoft. It is not possible for a small team to build a Linux kernel and sign it in such a way that the Bios will boot it.
 
Couldn't you buy direct from the likes of Foxcon and other Chinese mfg's?
 
Hi Luc, is this translation already available on a "normal" website, eg outside googleplus or any other non-social network? I'd really like to spread the word around of such a link, thanks
 
+Scott Lindley, I have been thinking of buying a Dell for the very reason of supporting a company that sells Linux laptops. They have a  "Developer Edition" of their XPS 13 laptop that comes loaded with Ubuntu.
 
What absolute troll nonsense, there are dozens of Chinese companies that will sell you a blank laptop or desktop to put Linux on and sell on to users!
 
Here Alec, this might help you quote from wiki and friends ="Concerns were raised that secure boot could prevent or hinder the use of alternate operating systems such as Linux. In response to the criticism, Microsoft developer Tony Mangefeste stated that "At the end of the day, the customer is in control of their PC. Microsoft’s philosophy is to provide customers with the best experience first, and allow them to make decisions themselves."    Microsoft's certification requirements revealed that UEFI firmware on x86 systems must allow users to re-configure or turn off secure boot, but that this must not be possible on ARM-based systems (Windows RT)."
But personaly .... Fuck windows 8.... sorry for my language, but its hard to dipict my stance on this without the Correct wording
 
Hi Linus, when you complained about laptop windows display, the google comes Pixel, can you do something about this? 
 
It's unfortunate that PC makers won't give the option of picking up one of their systems without an OS (thanks for nothing, Microsoft).
Though I'm aware the some are offering Ubuntu as an option to Windows, officially.
 
What difference does it make if the laptop comes pre-installed with Windows or not? It's just as easy to wipe it, and most of the time the Windows PCs are subsidized by MS or the crapware that gets pre-installed which makes them cheaper. I can see why they'd be concerned with Windows 8 systems and UEFI making the installation of Ubuntu or any other Linux system difficult, but these things are being worked out at as we speak with the distribution contributors and even at the Linux kernel level. Finally, last time I checked, Dell does still sell systems without an OS, or with FreeDOS . Maybe this particular outfit needs to look beyond their original supplier and think outside of the box. 
 
I've just recently bought an awesome laptop from ZooStorm without an operating system. Dual core multi-threaded processor, 16GB RAM and 1TB hard-drive for £400. Totally silent in operation 99% of the time.
 
Allen Bair, it can make all the difference in the world for many private and business users if a computer comes pre-installed with Windows or not. Because the warranty is often valid or honored without court fights ONLY in the first case.Many private or business users will NOT buy anything without a warranty period.
 
Another one butes the dust.  [sorry, self sensored comment .........]
 
Marco Fioretti, if the company was already supplying their own warranties and support services, what difference does it make if the hardware manufacturer gives a warranty or not?
 
What's stopping people from just removing Windows and putting whatever OS on it they want?
 
+Michael Soldwisch Then you are buying a Windows licence. Why pay a (not so cheap) licence if you're not going to use it? That's like buying an extra harddisk just because it comes with all laptops.
 
If it's the only choice you take it as a cost of buying a laptop. You don't claim it's the only reason your company can't stay afloat. Pass the cost to your customers with an explanation if you must.
 
+Michael Soldwisch True, I'm not saying I agree with their motivation or anything. I do think it's sad that Microsoft drove it so far that systems simply can't be delivered anymore without Windows (or perhaps not assembled or something, I didn't look into it). They do seem to want to continue; all warranties and tech support continue.
 
Look at all the people making excuses for Microsoft, how disgusting.  They tell us the maker does not know their business, that it's OK something has changed in the market and that we should all just be happy paying the Windows tax and being without a warranty.  People hate Microsoft, not just because they are an coercive monopolist, but because Microsoft also pays people to insult the world's intelligence as if that will make people shut up and lump it.  
 
I can buy a Dell XPS laptop with Ubuntu 12.04 right now. I don't see how the sky is falling. I make a living on Linux servers so I'm not some MS fanboy. Sure, get sick that people use Windows. Business continues. I can buy a new i-7 laptop with Linxu pre-installed today.
 
Aw crap, we demand to he able a computer without an operating system. 
 
The sky fell a long time ago, +Michael Soldwisch, but  that's not excuse to give up.  We should point anti-trust people at Microsoft.  .  It's not  OK that Microsoft has driven everyone else out of retail like this,

http://techrights.org/2009/06/03/sub-notebooks-linux-taskforces/

and it's not OK that Microsoft has roped in all the OEMs with some kind of Windows only or the highway licensing.  +robert pogson warned us that Microsoft was trying to do this to the ARM market, 

http://mrpogson.com/2011/05/31/microsoft-squeaks-no-one-listens/

If the story above is correct, they have done something similar to x86 land.  

Microsoft trusts their retail lock to protect them, but the rest of us will eat shit.  More partners are going to lose their shirts and go out of business like CompUSA, Circuit City and other Vista victims.  Any state that lets Microsoft get away with banning competition will become a technical back water.  Dell's one, stupidly expensive "developer" laptop is a pathetic substitute for what a free market would actually deliver.  
 
I was speaking to someone at LG who said that they make more margin on the bundled software they put on the products than they make from the hardware itself. The economics are slightly broken because of the competitive pressures of the market. You need to drive up 'value' but drive down 'cost', so you put as much in there as possible to meet the volume market need.
As Dell has shown, they can make an Ubuntu laptop but it costs the same as the Windows one because it is (comparatively) low volume and they get revenue/value from the bundled software. If someone could convince an ODM to sell one of their generic laptop designs in modest volumes then you might get around the brand problem but you still need enough volume to get the MOQ (minimum order quantity).
 
+Bob Hannent, there's nothing magic about Windows in the game of selling out users to crapware.  GNU/Linux sold at Walmart, people bought it and returned it about as often or less often than Windows.  You can see Microsoft themselves say that in the link I provide above, as well as the sucessful Microsoft anti-competitive response.  Google intentionally created a non copyleft environment where user sell out could thrive, perhaps with the intention of selling their own devices that users could trust.  Canonical is experimenting with user sell out with copyleft software.  

Vendors can depend on lazy users and Microsoft has screwed the pooch.  Microsoft did just fine for twenty years with relatively minor technical sabotage, like wiping boot loaders and ACPI.  They have consistently turned up the restrictions and technical complexity so we now have x86 hardware that's so damaged, ARM and MIPS are competitive for most people.  Vista was the breaking point.  

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

A combination of software that's not crap and hardware that's not burdened with "trip bits" and other stupidity is wiping Microsoft out of the market.  Advertisers are taking their money to where the market is, Google, Android and perhaps GNU/Linux.  
 
First it's Microsoft choking everyone else out of the market. Now it's Microsoft has screwed the pooch and people are leaving Microsoft out of the market. Your arguments scream "I'm mad at Microsoft and I'll yell it to everyone from my Parents' basement". Are you closing your Google account because of their privacy violations? Where's the hate for OSX or iOS? Oh, this is a Microsoft hate circle jerk, I forgot.

Stop attaching your identity to a corporation. It's like kids arguing over Xbox or Playstation. They're all large corporations who would choke you out of the market at the first opportunity.
 
I think you misunderstand, +Michael Soldwisch.  Microsoft's stranglehold on what they consider their channels is stronger and more harmful than ever, but they have been circumvented.  It is very difficult to find x86 without Windows, as the above story demonstrates.  Restricted boot is an unacceptable hardware burden.  That sucks for all of us.  The thing is that more people are now browsing the web from Android and other non Windows platforms than are sitting at desktops.  Microsoft is digging a hole for themselves and it has shown in their bottom line.  

My interest is software freedom, not any specific company, thank you.  Microsoft is still a rich and powerful enemy.  Apple too is dangerous, but Google is not.  Google has not made broad demands of hardware makers, they have not launched a "thermonuclear war" with software patents and Google hardware comes with instructions for replacing the software.  Microsoft is more dangerous than Apple because Microsoft spends so much money on lobbying and has proven effective at getting really bad laws passed.  
 
maybe people shall consider moving toward arm based process more, the new chromebook Samsung 11.6 on arm processor runs faster, quieter and longer than many of my previous laptops ... on that machine, running crouton (ubuntu linux) is a much superior experience 
 
In Europe, Microsoft is forced to give its users the option to choose their webbrowser, but MicroSoft can still force manufacturers to only distribute their OS. I know that a lot of brands are not EU-based, but they are selled here. A bit strange if you ask me.

Even as a normal customer you will get problems in the near future if you want to install another OS on your Windows 8 installation, you can still disable secure boot but I wonder how long it will take when you have to enable this option to boot. What's really frustrating me is that in order to get into the UEFI menu you have to go trough your normal operating system first (as far as I know, not based on my experience).