I found out early this morning that ZaReason, a Linux hardware vendor, has closed its doors for the last time.
For many years I hand-built my own Linux desktops. It is remarkably easy to do, and with a Micro Center a short drive or bike ride away from my home it was really appealing: any time I wanted to improve the system, or any time something failed, I just had to make quick run to the store and my problems were solved.
But while it is remarkably easy, it is not completely easy. For various reasons, hardware vendors do not always provide good open-source drivers, and sometimes I would have small troubles with one component or another. So the better part of a decade ago I started buying pre-built desktops. I had had not-terribly-great experiences with one laptop from Dell and another from System76 (both fine machines, but their support for Debian as opposed to Ubuntu was lacklustre), so I ended up giving ZaReason a shot.
They did a great job! The desktop they sent was topnotch, and a few years later when my employer gave me the opportunity to select a laptop I turned to ZaReason again. A year or so later, I chose them to replace my old System76 laptop. A few years after that, I replaced that first, now six-year-old, desktop with yet another excellent ZaReason machine.
They communicated well; they supported a large number of Linux distros, not just Red Hat & Ubuntu; they simply did a great job.
I had a vague sense that something might be wrong: they relatively recently moved from California to Michigan, and the pace at which they released new models had really slowed these past few years. I wonder why they had such trouble finding a market.
It is really sad to see them go.