In our recent ZaReason UltraLap 430 review
, Ars alum Ryan Paul lamented that even though putting Linux on laptops is easier today than ever, it's still not perfect. Some things (particularly components like trackpads and Wi-Fi chips) take some fiddling to get working. Major OEMs aren't yet putting forth the same concerted effort to build and support laptops with Linux as they are their more high-margin servers.
However, Dell is changing that. Earlier this year, they announced
a pilot program, "Project Sputnik," intended to produce a bona fide, developer-focused Linux laptop using their popular XPS-13 Ultrabook as base hardware. The program turned out to be a rousing success, and this morning Dell officially unveiled the results of that pilot project: the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.
The XPS 13 used in the Developer Edition features a number of upgrades over the pilot Project Sputnik hardware, including an Intel i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge CPU and 8GB of RAM (the pilot hardware used Sandy Bridge CPUs and had 4GB of RAM). The Developer Edition also comes with a 256 GB SATA III SSD, and retains the pilot version's 1366x768 display resolution. The launch hardware costs $1,549 and includes one year of Dell's "ProSupport." Additional phone support options aren't yet available.
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