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Dell's Next Rev for Project Sputnik: Ubuntu 14.04 On XPS 13 Developer Edition (hothardware.com) 55

MojoKid writes: Also known as "Project Sputnik," Dell came up with the idea of offering developers a variant of their XPS 13 notebook running Linux and launched its first models over three years ago. Now in its 5th generation, Project Sputnik is still going strong today with the latest models combining Ubuntu 14.04 with Intel's Skylake processors. To kick off its newest generation of Developer Edition laptops, Dell is offering three Core i7 XPS 13 configurations, including two that feature 16GB of RAM. Dell said it also plans to add a Core i5 option to the Developer Edition lineup sometime down the line. Dell is seeing increased interest from customers and in addition to the XPS Developer Edition, Dell offers Ubuntu on its Precision 5510, 3510, 7510, and 7710 mobile workstations, as well as its Precision M3800. Cost of entry into Developer Edition territory runs $1,550. What that gets you is a 13.3-inch QHD+ (3200x1800) InfinityEdge touch display powered by an Intel Core i5-6560U processor, 8GB of LPDDR3 1866 RAM, and Intel Iris Graphics 540.
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Dell's Next Rev for Project Sputnik: Ubuntu 14.04 On XPS 13 Developer Edition

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    13.3-inch QHD+ (3200x1800) InfinityEdge touch display

    Better scale that screen (starting to lose the point of a higher res screen), or get a pair of glasses.

    • I haven't used Linux as a desktop in a half decade now but Xorg seriously can't do font scaling and independent bitmap icons yet? WTF. Ubuntu has a mobile OS so I assume this was implemented?

      If not it is long time to dump the xfree86 aka xorg turd and go wayland. FOr us oldtimers we experienced X on legacy hardware back in the day and geeks today have no idea how poor it is when you have gigs of ram. Shoot 8 megs of ram were required just to run the thing without apps?! Made emac users switch to VI to save

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13, 2016 @08:19PM (#51691177)

        I haven't used Linux as a desktop in a half decade now but Xorg seriously can't do font scaling and independent bitmap icons yet? WTF.

        You misunderstand. It of course can. Furthermore, you can scale everything so you don't tend to get the weird problems of menus not matching apps or needing to have a specific multiple of something that you get on "other" operating systems.

        Generally the Sputnik screen is excellent, as is the rest of the system. Strongly recommend it to everybody. You never ever ever feel your Mac or Windows friends are looking down at you and it's very rare that you even feel they have something close. I took it with the absolute full corporate support. Again Dell support has been excellent, however since Sputnik is rare where I live and there are very similar windows models you have to be careful that they don't needlessly swap your mother board and give you one with firmware that isn't fully Linux supporting. It happened to a guy I know. Dell guy came back after two days with the right board though, so no problem.

      • I haven't used Linux as a desktop in a half decade now but Xorg seriously can't do font scaling

        I love how a comment has so much wrongness it's hard to know where to start. Firstly, yes, X has had scalable fonts for decades. Type1 has been around since X11R5 which was what? 1992? They looked like ass at small sizes because they weren't antialiased, but they were scalable. Secondly you don't even need scalable fonts to deal with high res screens. You can just, you know, specify a different, larger, unscaled b

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Better scale that screen (starting to lose the point of a higher res screen)

      Absolute nonsense. Pixel sizes should not even enter into the mind of designers, and ultimately, coders. We are a long way from that ideal , because pixel sizes are forced upon us by incredibly low DPI. 96 dpi has been considered basically 'standard' desktop monitor DPI for a long time, even though the minimum we accept on printers is 300.

      Getting a high dpi monitor and scaling your content to it is EXACTLY where technology is going, has been going, and should be going.

      • 96 dpi has been considered basically 'standard' desktop monitor DPI for a long time, even though the minimum we accept on printers is 300.

        Yeah, but those 96 DPI give you 16777216 colours per dot, as opposed to the 300dpi printer which gives usually 1. The exception is things like dye sub printers and they look amazing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is nice and all, but it only matters to guarantee that Linux will have all the required drivers for those laptops. Besides that, what Linux user really gives a shit what kind of system will come installed? You can just grab any distro without worrying about stupid product keys and crippled editions.

    Also, from a security point of view, I would only use a pre-installed OS (especially from Dell) with a gun to my head.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Besides that, what Linux user really gives a shit what kind of system will come installed?.

      I do. there are some firmware versions for the components in some XPS13s that don't properly support Linux. If you get the Sputnik laptop and run accross this the Dell service people sort everything out for you, replacing the hardware if needed. This matters if you are actually buying a laptop to work on.

  • Where are the Dell desktops running Linux?

    • Desktops? Try an antique store, or a government office.

      • Desktops? Try an antique store, or a government office.

        Or a development shop, or a music studio, or a digital artist's workshop, or a gamer's den, or anyone else that needs a machine with some significant horsepower that also doesn't need to be mobile. Try hooking up a VR headset to a laptop, and the hardware will openly mock you. Yes, desktops are still a thing, believe it or not, even if you personally can't imagine how you'd use one.

        • Yeah I was thinking these laptops are underpowered for all but a web developer ... actually still because if you use Adobe Dreamweaver you need a VM of WIndows.

          No developer worth his salt doesn't use many VM's requiring 16 to 32 gigs of ram today. You have different linux distros, freebsd, WIndows, and Mac. Not to mention crappy tools like MS Office and Adobe Dreamweaver or Visual Studio for your win32 port and you are taking 5 or 6 2 - 8 gig VM's.

          A developer today should only settle for 32 gigs of ram and

          • Judging by your tech-skills, bitterness, and your other comments on this thread and others, you are a grumpy old man who's given up on this profession ages ago.
            Totally fine, but don't make such bold statements when your head is stuck so far up your ass to have any clue what software development in 2016 is like.

            So, you would launch a Windows VM + DreamWeaver but you wouldn't learn how to use a Linux editor or maybe just run Windows to begin with?
            You launch a VM for every single application or task?
            An orgy of

        • To be fair most laptop have quite some CPU grunt, the latest trend (with Haswell, Broadwell, Skylake) is you can get a fast 15-watt CPU in that laptop and when I say fast, I mean it (well it's enough to murder my older desktop).

          People that are none the wiser may find that quite powerful for video and photo editing needs.
          I/O has historically been rather crap on a laptop but with an internal SSD and USB 3.x for HDD it's not quite as bad.

          That said I wanted to defend desktops and there are reasons to use them w

          • Sure, modern higher-end laptops are ridiculously overpowered for about 95% of what people generally need to do with a PC. Hell, top-end smartphones are overpowered for what most people need to do with a PC, which is why (among other reasons), the overall PC market share is stagnating or declining. They're just not necessary for run of the mill, daily computing needs for most people. Non-gaming applications which actually require a desktop's power are the exception among the already rare, but they're most

          • current laptops are incredibly powerful compared to older desktops. Current desktops are another huge stepup. you can't get a top end laptop that comes anywhere near the performance you can get in a top end desktop. If your needs are low then sure modern laptops are powerful enough for many, but for high end gaming or professional needs they don't come close yet.
          • To be fair most laptop have quite some CPU grunt, the latest trend (with Haswell, Broadwell, Skylake) is you can get a fast 15-watt CPU in that laptop and when I say fast, I mean it (well it's enough to murder my older desktop).

            On paper maybe. But the result is usually one of two things as soon as you stress it.
            a) it'll get hot under the collar and back off making it useful for only peak loads (which is still significant for many use cases but worthless for picture / video editing / gaming)
            b) it'll sound like a vacuum cleaner.

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        Desktops? Try an antique store, or a government office.

        Irrelevant lightweight alert.

      • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

        How foolish. Desktops still have the heavy grunt to carry big workloads. Laptops are actually useful now but they still pale next to a serious tower rig. I will say the celeron powered junk is pointless but somehow they still sell even that.

      • what an ignorant statement. Just because you are too closed minded to understand a segment of the market obviously it has no reason to exist despite being one of the largest segments. I have 3 laptops, 2 tablets and 2 smartphones in the house. I still would not trade my 2 desktops for any of them as they simply can't match the performance and convenience of a desktop. Maybe one day they will but that certainly is still a ways off for many areas (gaming, design, development, video and audio etc)
      • by Anonymous Coward
        idiot. show me something other than a desktop that can meet my gaming and work needs. My current desktop has an i7 with 64GB ram, GTX980, 16TB of spinning HDD and 750GB of SSD. only has to do gaming and highend dev work running up multiple VM's. As this obviously belongs in an antique shop please point out the portable I can replace it with as I was actually looking to upgrade it as it doesn't have enough memory, may as well go to something portable.
    • by mrvan ( 973822 )

      Frankly, it's much less important. I've built and bought quite a number of desktops and put linux on them the past years, never had issues. With laptops, there is less choice within segments (especially within the ultrabook segment), and there are more less-supported parts (and it's more expensive and annoying to replace a part if you need to, e.g. the broadcom wifi chip in the XPS13)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does this reduce the price of the system by ~$30 or so that it probably costs Dell for an OEM Windows license?

    If not, I'll just take the Windows 10 option on my system and immediately install my Linux distro of choice. The Windows COA on the system (along with the physical restore dvds) are valuable for when I want to sell the laptop when it's time to upgrade. Normal people do not comprehend the concept of a laptop 'not coming with Windows' and sure as shit are not going to want to buy my used laptop with

    • by argee ( 1327877 )

      I have done this in the past with Dell's that supposedly run Linux. You will find all sorts of tweaked drivers, binary blobs, etc.

      And for sure, not all Dells will run Linux. I remember getting the All in One (20" monitor with cpu in back). Absolutely could not
      get the video to work properly. Yes, It would display, but circles were ovals, and all the blogs said it was an issue and could not
      be fixed. Well, maybe an expert could ..., but I figured I am pretty good with Linux, and still could not.

      Since I ha

  • Dell seems to be on a kick of only offering Linux on their consumer-grade systems..ie: Inspiron/XPS/Alienware. I've yet to see any Ubuntu offerings on any Precision workstation laptops.. Of course, it may be that technically astute users who would buy a Precision workstation with Ubuntu Linux might just buy the system as-is with Windows, and then either dual-boot it with Linux or like I did with my current system, a Precision M4400, which was to wipe Windows 7 off the system, install Ubuntu, and Virtualbox

  • ...riightttt?

    Oh, it doesn't. Maybe instead Dell will actually get the Coreboot developers full development details so they can port it. Right? They'll do that?

    Didn't think so.

  • Now that we are years into the Project Sputnik, it's is so nice to see the work on this top-of-the-line laptop has spawned the option to install Linux on all of their available laptops! Thanks Dell, you're a great supporter of the Linux community!

  • I assume these have a UEFI-type bios. Signed by who's key?
  • Seems one could get better hardware cheaper and install Linux, et al, on their own. Frugal developer?
  • Anyone know if they fixed the keyboard on this one? The one I got last year still can't accept touch typing: you must type slowly. So rapidly typing "asdf" will generate "assdf" or sometimes "asdsf". Pretty unusable unfortunately.

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