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Dell Designing Developer Oriented Laptop 399

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the dude-you-got-a-webscale-laptop dept.
jones_supa writes "Barton George, director of marketing for Dell's Web vertical reveals information about 'Project Sputnik', a laptop tailored for developer needs in web companies. 'We want to find ways to make the developer experience as powerful and simple as possible. And what better way to do that than beginning with a laptop that is both highly mobile and extremely stylish, running the 12.04 LTS release of Ubuntu Linux,' George ponders. He also gives a quick list of packages that the default installation could include. The machine will base on the XPS13, assessing a couple of its main hardware deficiencies along the way." According to the article, this is a "6 month project to investigate an Ubuntu laptop. If successful, we have big plans for the effort." It's unclear how closely they are working with upstream, but there's mention of Canonical as a commercial partner so this may mean Dell is working to ensure some of their hardware Just Works (tm) with Ubuntu. The software side is so far just a customized install with developer tools preinstalled. Ars remains skeptical about Dell's strategy for GNU/Linux support, which may be warranted given their track record.
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Dell Designing Developer Oriented Laptop

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  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:07AM (#39941597)

    http://www.dell.com/ca/business/p/laptops?~ck=mn#!facets=16260~0~195640&p=1 [dell.com]

    Could have surprised me. My laptop is the predecessor to that model, the Vostro V130n, which came with Ubuntu LTS installed on it. They're still selling them, you just have to look for it. The V130n features a Celeron U3600, 2GB of RAM, 13.3" screen (1366x768), and came originally with a 250GB hard drive. The battery life isn't that great (about 2.5h with the factory configuration), but that's because the battery is very small (slightly less than the volume of a CD jewel case). I was able to increase the battery life to 4h by swapping the hard drive with an Intel 320-series SSD. 3.2lbs with the stock configuration, and slightly lighter than that with the hard drive swapped. Total cost (including the hard drive replacement) was under $500. If they can price this ultraportable under $1000 like they're doing with the XPS 13, I would seriously consider it when it comes time to replace my current laptop. (though that'll probably be a few years, it's plenty powerful enough for everything I throw at it).

    It's nice that they're doing this, and more power to them, but it's misleading to claim that they aren't supporting Linux, when you can, today, buy a reasonably nice system with Ubuntu preinstalled on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:16AM (#39941703)

    Well, I'm glad to hear they are at least waiting 6 months before putting anything into the market. It'll take that time for any and all bugs pertaining to Ubuntu 12.04 to be cleared up, I'm sure.

    I want to say Ubuntu would be a terrible platform for development, but I've found that despite its rapidly changing environment its often been the easiest to configure solely from the repositories. I'd be interested if they don't preinstall tons of unnecessary crap and the drivers it comes with are solid.

  • Re:Resolution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by azalin (67640) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:16AM (#39941707)
    Let's get through the list what I need from a development laptop: screen size, high resolution, good color representation and the option to hook up at least a secondary monitor.
    Other than that? Speed? Mostly irrelevant though being quiet would be nice. Mobility? Must not be to big or to heavy to carry around in a normal messenger bag or backpack. Disk size and ram? Standard issue. OS? Whatever suits your fancy and provides the tools for the job. Style? Of course we like to have cool machines, but is it needed - No. Battery life? Somewhat but for serious work one needs a desk anyway.
  • Re:Resolution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ranton (36917) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:23AM (#39941805)

    Absolutely true. I cannot believe that Apple is the only company still making a 1200 vertical resolution screen. It's annoying having to spend $2700 on the only decent laptop that still exists.

  • by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @12:00PM (#39942379) Homepage Journal

    What does resolution have to do with font size?

    As the pixel density increases, the font size in physical pixels has to increase proportionally . But a lot of Windows applications (and, I assume, Linux applications) have broken layout if you run them at any DPI other than 96.

    The new iPad has a 9" screen at 2048x1536

    As with the iPhone 4 compared to the 3GS, the new iPad's screen is exactly twice as dense in each direction as the iPad 2's. This allows the operating system to more easily compensate for DPI-unaware applications. The Windows platform hasn't had such a jump.

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @02:06PM (#39944309) Journal

    People often give me odd looks when I open my 17" Macbook Pro and boot to Windows, there is a reason it was rated "Best Windows laptop" a few years ago. It is usually high-end, lightweight, with a 1920x1200 display.

    In fact, it's rather hard to find any laptop with a 1920x1200 screen these days. Some years ago, they were not so difficult to find; Apple appears to be one of the few left. Dell, Lenovo, Sony, Acer, Asus, Fujitsu ... none of them have a 1920x1200 laptop offering. One of the few on offer is the HP EliteBook Workstation [ateadirect.com] which actually costs more than the MacBook and has a smaller disk!

    The lack of decent resolution screens is the main reason I still have an 8-year-old Sony Vaio VGN-A117S laptop in service. It may only have a 1.7GHz Pentium M, 1GiB of RAM, and Radeon 9600 (sticker says 9700, diagnostics say 9600) but its 17" 1920x1200 screen is a beauty. Since we don't do any gaming, it's quite adequate as a kitchen PC with Xubuntu (email, browsing, music, movies, photos, documents, etc.). I'm not replacing it until I can get more than 1200 vertical pixels on a built-in display - even an iPad 3 type display would do. Pixels matter rather more than inches.

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