I’ve been happy with the system76 desktop machine I bought last year pre-installed with Ubuntu. I got it partly to support a company selling GNU/Linux machines, and partly to avoid the Microsoft tax and possible complications with buying a cheap Dell machine and replacing Windows with Ubuntu. (This was before Dell started offering Ubuntu.)
I’d consider going back to system 76 before buying a Dell Ubuntu machine. Dell hasn’t particularly earned my loyalty after my past experience with them, although I hope the Ubuntu machines sell well for them and they keep it up.
The machine has worked out great, but then recently there was the problem with the integrated Ethernet NIC on the motheboard. After throwing in a spare card and getting it working again, I really wasn’t looking forward to doing anything more with troubleshooting the problem, but I felt like system76 should do something for me since the machine is still under warranty. Sending out a pluggable NIC to replace my inventory would have been fine.
I emailed them and they responded that they’d have to bring it in for repair. I pointed out that would be a lot of hassle and expense, and wondered if they would instead send me another one of their cool t-shirts. (I already have one from the sticker contest.) They said that sounded like a good deal and yesterday I got my shirt. $16.99 + shipping is fair enough for a spare NIC that I had laying around in the basement, and it was refreshing that they settled it so quickly.
(It seems obvious that this should be a good deal for them, right? But companies can be so tone deaf. They could have insisted I send the machine on, whereupon I would have given up and let them off the hook for nothing. And I would have been mildly resentful. Or I would have been resentful if I was forced to send in the machine for such a simple problem. Instead, by sending out the relatively cheap t-shirt, they have a happy customer and a positive blog entry.)