back to article Dell's Ubuntu dev laptop gets much-needed display boost

Proving that last year's skunkworks Project Sputnik effort wasn't a one-off experiment, Dell has upgraded its Ubuntu Linux–powered XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop to include a new, higher-resolution screen. When the Developer Edition XPS 13 first shipped in November 2012, it came with a 13.3-inch panel with a 1366-by-768 pixel …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To paraphrase a famous word of wisdom

    When you try to kill something, it costs nothing to be polite!

    Or in other words, get it before it will become Windows-loaded exclusively when the deal with Microsoft will kick in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To paraphrase a famous word of wisdom

      Cool, so i can save $50 by buying this, wiping the crap it comes with and instllaing warez Windows. Top banana!

      1. ricegf

        Re: To paraphrase a famous word of wisdom

        Seems only fair after the dozens of computers I've bought, wiped Windows, and installed *legitimate* copies of Linux!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To paraphrase a famous word of wisdom

          I guess you paid my licensing fees for me. Thanks!

  2. Wibble
    Thumb Down

    1080p _is_ low resolution

    It's the vertical height that's the problem.

    A laptop isn't a bloody telly; it's to do work on. Work requires a decent vertical resolution, unless you like looking through letterboxes.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: 1080p _is_ low resolution


      Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

      Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

      Why do we put up with this?

      1. Oengus

        Re: 1080p _is_ low resolution

        In 2000 I had an IBM A20p laptop with a 15 inch 1400 x 1050 resolution screen. 13 years on and the resolution you get is 1920 x 1080. Manufacturers have not really advanced screen technology in 15 years. I have 21 and 26 inch CRT monitors with better resolutions.

      2. Piro

        Re: 1080p _is_ low resolution

        Your options are basically Apple or a second hand machine, as far as I'm aware.. sadly..

        I agree too.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: 1080p _is_ low resolution

          I last bought an Apple in 1981. Given the prices vs performance and experience using and repairing Apple computers belonging to others I won't be conned a second time. I guess the choice is 2nd hand Lenovo.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 1080p _is_ low resolution

      Yes ...

      1200p was so 12 years ago.


    3. dajames Silver badge

      Re: 1080p _is_ low resolution

      Well, to be fair, 1080p is middling resolution. I'd *like* more, but anything over 1000 is a big step in the right direction. My old PIII ThinkPad had 1400x1050 and that was pretty usable.

      Still, if a 10" tablet can have 2560x1600 I don't see why a 13.3" laptop shouldn't have at least as much.

    4. Mark .

      Re: 1080p _is_ low resolution

      It's a problem with lower resolutions, but I'd say 1080 is good for vertical resolution. And the wider screen is a help too, e.g., being able to view and compare things side by side.

      The problem is when we went from say, 1280x1024 to 1280x800, and your "wider" screen actually meant chopping off the vertical resolution. But 1920x1080 is a step up imo. I'm not sure that say, 1600x1296 would be better.

      1. Wibble

        Re: 1080p _is_ low resolution

        Personally I'd prefer a square screen, say 2000 x 2000 at high resolution. That way one can properly edit two documents side-by-side, or have a decent amount of code showing with a bunch of other windows beside it.

        I utterly refuse to have any screens with a lower than 1200 vertical resolution.

        My colleague has two 1920 x 1200 screens rotated vertically on his desk. That works very well.

        I just don't see why we've ended up with the bloody marketing gimps giving us these damn letterboxes.

  3. lord_farquaad

    The same hardware with Windows 8 loaded : $1599,99.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm surprised the Windows 8 version isn't cheaper, you couldn't pay most people to take it..

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Yeah, because removing Win8 annoyances takes suuuch a long time. Actually, it takes less than ten minutes to install a few bits of software and tweak some settings. 'Classic Shell' is even available through Ninite, so only takes one click if you are already in the process of installing your favourite browsers, utilities and codecs.

        The first thing many of us do after installing any version of Windows is to change settings to our liking and install our favourite bits of software. Linux is no different, except of course you can have your own customised distro ISO ready to go.

        1. Mark .

          Also as far as start menu/screens go (which they change in almost every version of Windows - 8 is nothing new), I'd have to say that XP is my least favourite - oddly the version that Windows 8 critics now uphold as the best version of Windows (even though geeks hated it at the time, compared to 2000).

          People who haven't used Windows in a while may not realise that the "classic" start menu of navigating through menus went away with 2000, though you could reenable it as an option in XP. With that version, keeping the menu to the corner made sense, as the menu would open up across the entire screen, as you went into submenus.

          The XP way was to scroll through a long list of programs, in my opinion a step backwards, and also meant the menu was now stuck in a small area of the screen, wasting most of the screen space. In 7 (or possibly Vista), the start menu was made better by making it so you could also launch by typing in the application name. Windows 8 keeps that, but replaces "scroll through a list of names" with "scroll through a list of icons and names", and also makes it so that it uses the full area of your monitor again. But for some reason, these last changes are treated as if it was the worst thing that anyone had ever done. It also has nothing to do with touchscreens (since you can just use the mouse as before, and obviously the method of typing the name is optimised for keyboards). Perhaps there is the argument that you now need to move the mouse further, but then that applied to the classic start menu too, and I don't recall people complaining then (though perhaps this was why they changed it with XP?)

          If people prefer scrolling through submenus rather than a big list, then XP, Vista, 7 are as bad as 8. If people don't like it taking up more than a small screen area, then the "classic" menu was as bad as 8 now is.

          But yes, if people don't like it, they can change it back anyway.

  4. lord_farquaad
    Thumb Down

    oops, sorry made a mistake.

    Currently, there is a 100$ reduction in the US, and the price given by El Reg included the bargain and the one I gave did not.

    So, in fact, you can get the Windows 8 version at 1499$.

  5. Eric Olson

    Well, now we need something else to complain about...

    It doesn't have a 10-key? Is Dell intentionally selling a crippled laptop in order to make Windoze machines look better?! </sarcasm>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, now we need something else to complain about...

      Well as they are selling a Linux laptop,I guess yes it does make Windows 8 look better...

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dell and Linux

      Surely machines sold with Ubuntu have to be more expensive than equivalent Windows systems to account for higher development and support costs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dell and Linux

        You forgot the word 'legacy' between 'support' and 'costs'. No matter how little you pay them, tech support people still cost money.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Dell and Linux

      >They should be selling Linux Mint on desktops,

      Since Ubuntu allows the buyer to download any other distro they want onto a bootable stick, what does it matter which flavour is pre-installed on it? No big deal.

      >The way to succeed is to do what the Netbook guys did, sell cheap systems with Linux on them. This is possible because Linux can be set up to run fast on modest hardware.

      2006 rang, they want their argument for using Linux back. The game has changed- now £25 quid buys you a system that can output full HD video and run a modest Linux desktop (Raspberry Pi), £80 buys you a second-hand P4 Thinkpad. RAM is cheap, SSDs are affordable. No manufacturer is now going to build a laptop with a decent screen, and then fit it with so little RAM and CPU grunt that it can't run any OS the user throws at it.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Dell and Linux


        If you want a cheap laptop without paying MS for a Windows licence, consider sticking Linux on a Chromebook. The Reg have a couple under consideration today, at around the £200 mark.

    3. Spoddyhalfwit

      Re: Dell and Linux

      "but Canonical went and put a dumbed down stupid, ugly UI on Ubuntu"


      There, I fixed it for ya

    4. Michael Hawkes

      Re: Dell and Linux

      After getting a Project Sputnik XPS 13 last summer, I tried using Ubuntu for a few days, but eventually got fed up and installed Mint.

  7. The BigYin


    I can pick up a Core 17 with 16GB, nVidia GPU and a 240GB SSD for £1,050-ish. Why do I want the XPS at £1,500-ish? It won't be built any better (we are talking Dell here, not Lenovo or other decent brand) and I can still run GNU/Linux on the cheaper one.

    Also, why do I want to support a company like Dell who have screwed over GNU/Linux so many times?

    1. mmeier

      Re: Meh

      At what weight, batterie life and from what manufacturer? Mobile devices are a balance depending on what you need. And small runs (Linux) cost more. Besides Dell has gotten a lot better over the years with their notebooks(Their desktops are great). Not yet Lenovo / Fujitsu (but close) and a lot better than say Acer or IMHO Samsung.

  8. mmeier

    Ah, the mighty "Windows tax" conspiracy theory rising it's neckbearded head again. I few years ago a Fosstard fought IIRC DELL all the way through the court system to be allowed to give Windows back in exchange for money. He won and DELL was sentenced to pay him the price DELL payed for the Licence. Turned out it was a HUGE amount of:


    Back then SystemBuilder was 90+€, full versions with manual(s) even more. The added work to fine tune a distribution that uses all the hardware (or fine-tune the hardware to the distribution) to it's full capabilities will easily eat up those 20€ and likely some more.

    1. The BigYin

      People also forget the kick-backs.

      OEM cost of Windows? Let's say that's your 20€.

      Payments from bloatware? 30€?

      Hence Windows units can be 10€ cheaper than F/OSS ones (and that's before we get into economies of scale).

      I'm not saying it's right or fair, I'm just saying that that's the way it is.

      Personally, due to the lack of competition in the market place, I'd like to see more OEMs offer "OS free" options. Maybe they would be cheaper, maybe the same dunno. One boon it would have is making user that their UEFI and SecureBoot was correctly implements, eh Samsung and Lenovo?

      1. mmeier

        Partially you have the EU to thank for that. Retail systems must come "fully functional" (OS present/installed) and most of the big chains have basically one "production line" that builds / assembles the boxes for the retail brick and mortar shops and the "privat consumer" parts of the webshops. And given what they pay those workes "KISS" is a must

    2. Tim Parker


      "Fosstard" ?

      Oh do grow up FFS

  9. M. B.


    ...but not perfect.

    Should have made it 1920x1200, you'd be amazed at the difference a little more gives, especially in vertical real estate.

    And they should drop the price a couple hundy to make it worthwhile. At $1249, I'd consider it. With 1920x1200 I'd have already asked my Dell rep about one.

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