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Dell's New Sputnik 3 Mates Touchscreen With Ubuntu 166

Posted by timothy
from the chromebook-has-cooler-leds-though dept.
ClaraBow writes "I find it interesting that Dell has started selling a thin and light touchscreen laptop called the XPS 13 Developer Edition, which will have Ubuntu Linux OS and Intel's fourth-generation Core processors, code-named Haswell. The laptop, code-named Sputnik, has a 13.3-inch touchscreen and will run on Ubuntu 12.04 OS. It is priced starting at $1,250 and is available in the U.S." One thing I wish was addressed in the blog post announcing this newest entry in the Sputnik line, or its listed specs (bad news beats not knowing, in this case), is battery life.
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Dell's New Sputnik 3 Mates Touchscreen With Ubuntu

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  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:40PM (#45445395)

    What's interesting about it? Usual summary qualities here on slashdot, the editors can't even copy and paste in a useful manner.

  • by assemblerex (1275164) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:42PM (#45445405)
    It's interesting that a company that pretty much vowed to only be wintel is branching out.
    I am guessing microsoft upsetting people with surface has thawed large companies to alternatives.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:47PM (#45445425)

    This isn't their first Linux offering, they previosly sold desktops with Ubuntu preinstalled under the moniker "N Series".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2013 @07:54PM (#45445459)
    We love Linux, that's why.
  • by Ami Ganguli (921) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:08PM (#45445519) Homepage

    I just bought similar hardware from Sony in order to run Linux. I would have considered this one if it had been available three weeks ago.

    Some of us really don't want a Mac. Obviously we're a niche market, but presumably Dell thinks there might be enough of us to justify one or two models.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:10PM (#45445533) Homepage

    It's the same price as the Windows 8 version. [dell.com] (That's listed at $1299, but scroll down for the "$50 off coupon".) This is progress for Dell; most of their previous Linux offerings cost more than the comparable Windows machine.

  • by Teun (17872) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:37PM (#45445643) Homepage
    I don't care what version of Ubuntu it has, it is Linux compatible hardware, that's what counts.

    Within no time I'll have a nice KDE desktop installed.

  • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teun (17872) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @08:43PM (#45445661) Homepage
    You are assuming the traveller buying an ultra portable has always perfect network access or is happy to share his data with the cloud.

    Sorry, that's not the world I'm travelling in.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2013 @09:07PM (#45445753)

    This isn't their first Linux offering, they previosly sold desktops with Ubuntu preinstalled under the moniker "N Series".

    I bought a Dell Vostro 15" laptop with Ubuntu on it earlier this year for about $450. Nothing super fast, but I needed a laptop to code & test on when I travel.

    I think it's great that Dell is offering a top of the line hardware product with Linux, but starting at $1,250 is ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as Google Pixel for that price, but still.

  • by ledow (319597) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @09:10PM (#45445773) Homepage

    Linux-compatible does not mean anything more than "it works".

    And, as far as I've been able to tell over the latest 10 years or so, Linux "works" on basically 99% of machines I've ever touched without having to do anything special (yes, I have jumped through hoops, but that's not the point - here someone else has jumped through those hoops for you).

    Whether it works TO ITS FULL CAPACITY is another question entirely. For example, chances are that it's graphics chipset is "supported" but very, very slim that it enjoys full acceleration unless we're talking about an Intel chipset or a binary driver somewhere. And we can already do *that* anywhere we like.

    The fuss about Linux drivers is no longer "does it work" (and hasn't been, for a long time) so much as "does it work as fully as possible?". And almost certainly, in a consumer laptop, the answer is no.

    All this says is that their laptop happens to work in Linux with a certain configuration. There's no guarantee that it won't include a binary driver and/or only a certain Linux image being "supported" (i.e. working at all). And that leaves you off no better than a Windows machine that only comes with a recovery disk.

    (For hoops that I've jumped through, try setting up your Linux partitions to mirror those of a Zip-disk on even boot/install USB disks, having to manually load soundfonts with a script to make soundcards work, or having to compile for some mini-ITX boards that can barely support the 486 instruction set to get an idea of the sorts of things that can crop up with old / embedded / poorly supported hardware).

  • by ledow (319597) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @10:01PM (#45446009) Homepage

    And the answer "The drivers are as supplied on the recovery disk" is not familiar to you?

    They are a big OEM. They don't care about supporting these drivers in anything but an OS they have supplied. Like my last 15 years of putting Linux machines into schools, I would bet that any Linux driver is tied to only a particular kernel, and that without proper source, and that they never update it. They won't support other distros and unless you want to run Ubuntu 12.04 (specifically) for ever, you won't see much action above and beyond telling you to put the machine back into it's factory state (i.e with Ubuntu 12.04 and their driver how it's always been installed).

    But more likely, it will have some cheap base hardware that's already "supported" by chance and they do nothing special to sell it as a Linux machine. And you won't get anything beyond the standard binaries.

    I will happily still to my "chances" on some random hardware, like I've been doing for over a decade. The examples I cite are few and far between and usually because support for a certain type of machine / hardware was DROPPED from Linux distros rather than anything to do with it not actually being present at all.

    I think you've just fallen for the advertising - it says Linux so it must mean ALL Linux forever with open-source code, right? My hardware from pre-1999 that says the same will happily prove you wrong. Sure, if you're lucky it had a 2.0/2.2 driver for it at some point, but you don't stand a chance of getting it working nowadays - and some of those drivers refused to install on anything but the "supported" distro.

    The fact that this comes with Ubuntu tells you one of two things:

    - They support ONLY Ubuntu
    - or -
    - Ubuntu does well enough supporting this with no help required.

    P.S. I have sent computers back to companies that claimed Linux support, and I made a major UK distributor fight with their suppliers to get me a custom BIOS made for a laptop because they sold it to me as "supporting" Windows XP and then found out it wouldn't boot XP if you had encryption software (required by law in my field) because of a crappy BIOS bug. Literally, I had an AMI BIOS written, just for that laptop, just for me, because of how much money it was going to cost them if I had sent the laptops we'd bought on the basis of XP support back.

    Trust me, doing the same for Linux is a LOT harder, especially when they can demonstrate that on ***A*** Linux with ***A*** driver that it works.

  • by AdamWill (604569) on Saturday November 16, 2013 @11:08PM (#45446311) Homepage

    "For example, chances are that it's graphics chipset is "supported" but very, very slim that it enjoys full acceleration unless we're talking about an Intel chipset or a binary driver somewhere."

    It has an Intel chipset, which has full 2D and 3D acceleration.

    I have the second-gen XPS 13 developer edition. Every function on the system works. It does not include any binary drivers. Yes, only the supplied Ubuntu install is 'supported', but then, if you buy a Windows 7 laptop and then self-install Windows 8 on it (for instance), your manufacturer isn't going to support that either. I run Fedora 19 on my second-gen XPS 13 and all its functions work fully and correctly.

    "try setting up your Linux partitions to mirror those of a Zip-disk on even boot/install USB disks"

    What? That fragment does not even make syntactical sense, so far as I can work out.

    "having to manually load soundfonts with a script to make soundcards work"

    Along with the reference to 'Zip-disks' - 1996 called and it wants its problems back.

    "or having to compile for some mini-ITX boards that can barely support the 486 instruction set to get an idea of the sorts of things that can crop up with old / embedded / poorly supported hardware"

    So, buying CPUs that 'can barely support the 486 instruction set' is a bad idea in 2013, huh? Thanks for the tip, I never would've guessed.

  • by deviated_prevert (1146403) on Sunday November 17, 2013 @01:10AM (#45446703) Journal

    And at $1,250, overpriced. And of course they can then point to poor sales as to why they only sell Windows laptops / tablets at a reasonable price.

    It comes with one year support with the option of extending the support. Perhaps this is why Dell is trying out the market with Linux. It is billed as a developer device so one would think that the specs are for those who run and compile software not exactly your average joe consumer. If you notice the price is slightly lower than a comparable Mac Book PRO. The only difference is the screen res as Mac Books have a Retina Display, whatever the hell that is LOL. So this is not designed to be sold in the box stores. If it takes off then perhaps a cheaper line of consumer Linux option laptops might show up. Somehow I don't think Dell is going to dabble in the Chromebook market the way Samsung does.

    There is another thought, perhaps Dell is doing this to piss off Microsoft again, every time they have offered a Linux or no os option in the past all of a sudden they get a quick visit from the men in black from Redmond and POOF the line gets axed. The other thought is the reason why they have chosen Ubuntu this time around is because a stock Ubuntu need to be tweeked to do certain file formats and in selling Ubuntu in a stock format the goons from the MPEGLA cannot come after them, even if Microshaft comes knocking about fat and ntfs patents perhaps they will just turn around and sick them on Shuttleworth this time around instead of just dumping the Linux line like they did with their RedHat option laptops and desktops in the past.

    Considering that Dell already got cash from Redmond, perhaps they are trying to squeeze a little more cheese out of MS. Either way I do not expect them to actually aggressively market an alternative OS, they like all the other manufactures just kowtow to the almighty Windows, always have and I doubt they actually have the balls as a corporation to break the free from the OS monopoly.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern

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