Ubuntu can be installed on and will run on a wide variety of Intel-based hardware. This does not include pre-Pentium legacy platforms, but many older PCs, workstations, rack-mounted systems, and multiprocessor servers are supported. Small-, medium-, and even large-scale deployments of specially tuned Linux distributions are available through a number of companies such as IBM, which offers hardware, software, and service solutions (with more than 200 software solutions for clustering applications alone).
It is always a good idea to explore your hardware options extensively before jumping on board with a specific vendor. You can buy computer hardware with a Linux distribution preinstalled. At the time of this writing, Dell Computers offered systems complete with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (such as desktop PCs and workstations) through http://www.dell.com/redhat/. IBM also offers Linux on its product line, and more information can be found through http://www.ibm.com/linux/. To find HP and preinstalled Linux systems, browse to http://www.hp.com/linux/. You can also buy low-cost desktop PCs with Linux through Wal-Mart's online store at http://www.walmart.com (click to select the electronics department).
In the first section of this chapter, you learned to consider how Linux can be used in your environment and how you can prepare for its installation and deployment. These considerations also play a role in determining the types of hardware you need in your installation. But the type of deployment you choose also determines the hardware required for a successful deployment of Linuxand post-deployment satisfaction. The range of Linux hardware requirements and compatible hardware types is quite wide, especially when you consider that Linux can be used with mainframe computers as well as embedded devices.
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