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Ars Reviewer is Happily Bored With Dell's Linux Ultrabook 181

Posted by timothy
from the best-way-to-be-bored dept.
Ars Technica reviewer Lee Hutchinson says that Dell's Ubuntu-loaded 13" Ultrabook (the product of "Project Sputnik") is "functional," "polished," and (for a Linux laptop) remarkably unremarkable. "It just works," he says. Hutchinson points out that this is a sadly low bar, but nonetheless gives Dell great credit for surpassing it. He finds the Ultrabook's keyboard to be spongy, but has praise for most elements of the hardware itself, right down to (not everyone's favorite) the glossy screen.
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Ars Reviewer is Happily Bored With Dell's Linux Ultrabook

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  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:40AM (#43503877)

    "It feels like there is a tiny bit of input lag on the trackpad, which made grabbing Unity's razor-thin window edges an exercise in screaming frustration"

    This does not equate with "Just Works".

  • by Duncan J Murray (1678632) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:44AM (#43503915) Homepage

    for the first time from XP.

    It was a bit of an anti-climax and a slight disappointment at first. Nothing happened. No pop-ups appeared. No first-time guide. No helpful hints. No gnashing hard-drive activity. Just silence and waiting for my command.

    Since then I've come to appreciate this as the #1 reason for using linux - when you actually want to get something done, it just seems to get out the way. It's a shame that more recent distro versions seem to be moving away from this though.


  • by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:45AM (#43503919)

    I think the problem here is the razor-thin window edges.

    All the UI's I've used with the thin window edges have been difficult for me to interact with, by mouse, trackpad, or touchpoint ("eraser-pointer"), because of the challenges of hitting a particular very small spot.

  • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @12:00PM (#43504015)

    Well, my new Lenovo Twist Thinkpad Ultrabook running Fedora 18 also "just works" (including the touch screen) and didn't require any special "project" to accomplish.

    We have heard this line from Dell before. I trust them about as far as I could throw them. Most potential Linux customers don't need a preinstalled Linux laptop from these companies or even a special support division. ESPECIALLY if they plan to charge *MORE* than for their MS-Windows model. For one, many customers won't want Dell's choice of Linux nor the way it was installed.

    What we need is commitment from the vendor that the hardware is not Linux hostile and they won't try to avoid their warranty obligation using Linux as an excuse. Even better, how about a nice support page describing the hardware in detail and the names of the Linux drivers and in what kernel for each component and some install tips. None of that is expensive or complex.

  • by Kimomaru (2579489) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:04PM (#43504395)
    Dell makes some sweet laptops for Ubuntu and this new model seems to continue that tradition. I use the small form factor Latitude E6320 for work and play (with Ubuntu's 13.04 beta) and I'm happier than a pig in mud. If you're looking to move to a fully functional GNU/Linux distribution on a laptop or desktop, I must say that Canonical seems to have their act together. Just remember to run "sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping". Nasty stuff.
  • Re:glossy screen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @01:08PM (#43504423)

    The eternal rift among users. Glossy, or matte; that is the question. I don't care for matt screens as they dull the contrast and bleed colors together. I can tune out the glare as it doesn't bother me much.

    I used to think I cared, then I got a MacBook with a glass screen and joined the 90% of PC users who just don't care either way as long as the display has no stuck pixels.

  • by chipschap (1444407) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @02:21PM (#43504943)

    Since then I've come to appreciate this as the #1 reason for using linux - when you actually want to get something done, it just seems to get out the way. It's a shame that more recent distro versions seem to be moving away from this though.

    Mint is pretty good in this regard; that's why I've switched from Ubuntu (and to avoid Unity of course).

    As to the original article, though: yes, the product costs way more than I can spend on a laptop... I would have to buy a cheaper laptop and install Linux on my own. I don't at all mind doing this, but it does take time and patience.

    The article's author saying that the average user will never be able to live with running Linux, though, strikes me as incorrect. Sure, installing and maintaining Linux may be out of reach, as would be doing all the tweaks necessary with sound cards, etc.

    But running it? The average Jane or Joe that mostly needs a browser and little else? I set up a Mint box for my wife; she has no idea she's using a Linux system and doesn't care, as long as she can do email and Facebook and that sort of thing. I know of many such examples.

    To be fair, a key thing is to have someone available to maintain the distribution. But there aren't virus issues and "safe browsing" is just about a given, which I think is A Very Big Deal for the typical user.

  • Re:glossy screen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @03:16PM (#43505281)

    interesting, you complain about color sharness and contrast, but dont mind looking at a reflection of a light source that kills contrast and blurs the screen

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming