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 Education
  • Windows Enterprise
  • Windows 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.

Microsoft announcement: “Windows 10 Home and Pro follows the Modern Lifecycle Policy. Windows 10 will reach end of support on October 14, 2025.”

If you are planning to purchase a new Windows laptop make sure it is compatible with Windows 11.