Finding a laptop that can run Linux is no longer much of a challenge. As we have shared in numerous netbook and notebook reviews, a majority off the shelf PCs shipping with Windows can easily be replaced with Linux and chances are most -- if not all -- of the components will "just work" on this open-source operating system, while ill-supported parts can usually be configured to work in just a few steps. For those looking to save time or avoid a potential headache, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and other major vendors have been offering Linux notebooks for some time now. One of the smaller vendors though that has been offering Ubuntu Linux notebooks (along with desktops and servers) is System76 Inc. This Colorado-based company not only ensures their hardware is 100% compatible with Ubuntu Linux, but they also preload some popular software packages that are not installed by default on Ubuntu. In this review we are looking at the System76 Serval Professional notebook.
The System76 Serval Professional is a 15.4" notebook available with a 1680 x 1050 or 1920 x 1200 display, which can be configured along with a NVIDIA GeForce or NVIDIA Quadro FX graphics processor. Some of the other components include Gigabit LAN, 802.11 a/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, Express Card, a built-in 2.0 mega-pixel web camera, and a fingerprint reader. Our System76 Serval Professional review unit was configured with the 15.4" WSXGA+ display, an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 dual-core processor clocked at 2.40GHz, Intel Mobile 4 Series + ICH9M Chipset, 4GB of system memory, a 32GB Intel X25-E Extreme SSD, and a NVIDIA GeFore 9800M GTS 512MB graphics processor. System76 currently loads their products up with Ubuntu 8.10 (x86_64) with the Linux 2.6.27 kernel, GNOME 2.24.1, X Server 1.5.2, GCC 4.3.2, and the proprietary NVIDIA driver.