The School of Computer Science does not require you to have a specific operating system loaded on your laptop. The school encourages a variety of operating systems – the most common being:


There seem to be as many Linux flavours as there are Linux users! Many good choices. The most popular Linux desktop distributions are:

  • Ubuntu
  • Debian
  • Linux Mint
  • CentOS
  • openSUSE

But there are many more! Another decision you will need to make is what Linux Window manager to run and that may decide your distribution as well. Popular Linux Window managers are:

  • KDE
  • MATE
  • XFCE
  • Cinnamon
  • LXDE


Here are some things to look for when purchasing a MAC notebook:

  • The MacBook Pro has a memory limit of 32GB, while the Air still maxes at 16GB. If you need 32GB, you’ll want the Pro.
  • Some notebooks do not have Retina display
  • GPUs are useful if you are going into the computer gaming stream typically found in 15″ notebooks.
  • Mac Book’s from 2015 onward are windows 10 compatible devices
  • Mac Book Pro, Air and all other Mac’s from 2012 onward are windows 10 compatible devices
  • Choose solid state drive (SSD) not hard disk drive (HDD)

Microsoft Windows

Recommended are laptops with one of these 64-bit Windows versions:

  • Windows 10 or 11 Education
  • Windows 10 or 11 Enterprise
  • Windows 10 or 11 Pro Versions

Windows Education version several features that Windows home edition does not have: remote desktop, domain join, group policy management, support for hyper-V and Microsoft DirectAccess.

Windows 10 notes: