When she called Compaq -- the unit comes with a one-year warranty on the hardware -- they asked what operating system she was running. When she told them Linux, they said, "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux." In order to get warranty service, she was told, she would have to remove Linux and reinstall the original OS.
A PR rep stated that is pretty much par for the course, and that yes, hardware warranties can be invalidated by your choice of OS. What is scary, however, is the wording chosen – making it sound that the warranty terms are vague enough to make this apply to any piece of software they might not approve of:
The PR rep told me, after wading through all the terms and conditions attached to the notebook's warranty, that "it is impossible to anticipate every single issue that a customer can face, so the terms and conditions of warranties can't list every possible scenario. Usually if a customer installs a different OS, it has a big impact on the PC and will void the warranty.
Of course, it seems you always have the option of restoring from the restore discs provided with your laptop (or burned yourself with many of the newer ones), at the cost of wiping your old install. So what happens at the other end of the extreme – machines sold with no operating system?