back to article Dell's Ubuntu-powered Precision Sputnik now available worldwide

The Precision line of Dell’s one-time skunkworks Ubuntu developer PCs, Project Sputnik, has hit worldwide availability. Project mastermind Barton George, senior technologist at the office of Dell's CTO, announced availability of the Precision line of Ubuntu workstations with the US launch of the fifth generation of XPS 13 …

  1. x 7

    without price info, this story is a bit "so what?" Dell have sold Linux machines before, and then cut them after six months or so due to lack of demand

    1. getHandle

      Still, the updated "divers" will come in handy ;-)

    2. billium

      That would be the ones that are lower spec'd and higher priced than the Windows ones then.

      1. I_am_Chris


        Nope. These are usually at the top end. Typically ultrabooks with high-def screens. Price difference (if any) is small.

        1. JeffyPoooh

          Re: Top-end

          Top-end. Yep. Except the only sound they make is an incessant " ...beep beep beep beep beep beep beep..."

          1. JeffyPoooh

            Re: Top-end

            Sputnik. "...beep beep beep..." October 1957? Get it?

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      finding them on their website is always a problem

      I saved a link to one laptop. Tried it two hours later? Got a 404 back.

      It is almost as if they detected that the page had been served and they moved it.

      I left wondering if they were really serious about selling kit with Linux on it.

    4. Stuart 22

      Reassuringly expensive ...

      For yanks - from $899.99:

      For brits - apparently 'sold out':

      1. djack

        Re: Reassuringly expensive ...

        Sold Out, but sitting next to "Inspiron™ 15 3000 Series Ubuntu" - an entry level machine with Ubuntu for £199

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Dell Linux cut because of lack of demand?

      @x 7: 'without price info, this story is a bit "so what?"'

      Have you tried doing a google on Dell + XPS + Linux + Price?

      @x 7: "Dell have sold Linux machines before, and then cut them after six months or so due to lack of demand"

      For some inexplicable reason DELL only advertised the product though an invisible link on their website. Maybe the following had something to do with Dell dropping their Linux Desktop.

      'We invest big in Dell .. I do not want to invest $$ in Dell to fund their Red Hat efforts .. we be quite prestrictive in our investments with Dell relative to the competitive threats we see with Linux .. We should wack them, we should make sure they understand our value"' ref

      "I want them to think very very carefully about when and which forums they decide to push Linux very, very hard. Today, they do not. When they do, you can bet, behavior will evolve. ref

    6. Dave 126

      >without price info, this story is a bit "so what?"

      What's the point of the Reg posting the prices when they are amenable to change? The article tells you how to find the Ubuntu laptops on the Dell website, and anyone who is about to drop hundreds of groats on a new machine will spend more than the minute it would to check the price on their purchasing decision.

  2. Mage Silver badge


    I think they first got into this, via Red hat in 1999. Certain it was about then that I was giving Linux courses to people in Dell.

    There is a market, so they do it. Dell is much more pragmatic than Intel, or Intel would be designing nice SoC with ARM cores.

  3. s. pam Silver badge

    Anyone remember DellUNIX or the DellStation?

    The mystery of Dell is they've done UNIX for years. All the way back to the first HQ at The Arboretum before we were sent to Braker C as a team. Dell once upon a time had a real UNIX development team -- I know as I worked in it. The rest of Dell did everything they could to kill us/ our UNIX but there was such a market they never knew what to do. We even had Dell UNIX laptops, if you could find someone who knew of them!

    Them was the days -- I recall our midnight appropriation of HW to build the first internet too. Gosh what stories we could tell El Reg....Dell just never had a clue!

    1. Grifter

      Re: Anyone remember DellUNIX or the DellStation?

      This sounds really interesting, assuming you are who you say you are, if this doesn't get on the register proper then don't let it die out here, write up some stories and link them, I'm eager to hear more anyway.

  4. Andy Non Silver badge

    I've never had any luck with Dell

    I've tried and failed to buy a PC from Dell on several occasions over the years.

    The first time I specified a nice high-spec Windows computer but had a technical query, sent them an email and got a ten page reply from what they called a robot that didn't actually answer my question. Decided to buy elsewhere.

    A number of years later, while living in France I wanted a Windows computer with UK windows installed, not French. Tried on their UK site, and after spending ages specifying the computer got a message saying, sorry, can't deliver to France, so tried on their French site, no UK OS version available.

    Tried again last year wanting a Linux based desktop computer. Did a search on their site and it just brought up pages of Windows computers, no Linux ones. So no sale again. I've just about given up on Dell.

  5. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Multiple no-buy flags

    Nice, but lots of red flags.

    1. Price - major red flag. For that amount of money I you can have both a monstrous 8 core Athlon black edition 4.7GHz desktop/workstation and a perfectly usable low end laptop to connect to it.

    2. Intel inside, idiot outside. No thanks. I'd like to have my Radeon as present on A4 CPUs, thank you. Intel is yet to come up with anything that gets even close for predominant Linux use (2D acceleration, font accel, etc).

    3. Hell label. Sorry. Dell label on the lid.

    Nope, no buy. I had some ideas on refreshing my "travel development" laptop, but its A4 and 16G RAM are still coping with what I throw at it so I will pass this time.

    1. Dave 126

      Re: Multiple no-buy flags

      It would be easier to parse your comment for how AMD is suitable - or superior - for certain use-cases or workloads if it wasn't written in such pejorative language. Good points should stand by themselves.

      As for "Intel inside, idiot outside", well, non-idiots will know what their workload is, and where to find appropriate independent benchmarks - and then make up their own minds before buying.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Multiple no-buy flags

      Oh dear. An AMD zealot, who let the pan handlers in? I bet you're the kind of guy that gets the £3 lunch deal at Tesco rather than a nice pub lunch for a fiver thinking you're getting value for money.

      Intel graphics chips are actually very well supported in Linux. Id go as far as to say better than AMD / Intel (depending on what you need). They do require a more advanced understanding of Linux though to get the most out of them. For some reason pretty much every distro ships with a wanky config for Intel GPUs. Turn on Glamor and install some extra libs and you're set.

      You arent going to be gaming on them any time soon but you will see the difference in the feel of whatever DE you choose. Little things like smoother scrolling, crisper edges, font rendering etc.

      Personally I find the font rendering on Intel chips is superior in every way. Better than AMD for sure and leaps and bounds ahead of NVIDIA.

      Especially with the infinality tweaked font libs.

      And extra-especially in browsers. Firefox is notoriously bad at font anti-aliasing...except on Intel.

      "But who cares" I hear you cry. Any developer that has to stare at code all day cares about how crispy his fonts look.

      They also care how smoothly an enormous line count can scroll.

      Finally, whilst your AMD probably is performing fine for your cant escape the dismal battery life.

      I have an Intel based gem from Asus the UX303 (5th gen QC i7 5500u, 16GB RAM, dual SSD, 13" 1080P screen running Arch)...with the smallest amount of tweaking I can manage a solid 11 hours of battery life under "coding load".

      Your A4 wishes it could reach even half of that that.

      I am by no means an Intel fanboy (especially given their tendency to palm off some chip design to still pissed about the GMA500, im sure it was part of a wider conspiracy to kill off Linux netbooks) but you have to give credit wheres its due when they do produce decent stuff...which they have been recently.

      Dont fall for the AMD value trap my friend. You've been getting exactly what you paid for since the Athlon.

      As for your slanderous and downright awful drubbing of Dell...I agree. Yeah they suck.

  6. FatGerman Silver badge

    Well, it's actually hard to find any real info, even on Dell's own website - which makes me think this is nothing more than a cynical nerd-excitation marketing exercise - but from what I can tell the Linux versions cost more than the Windows versions. So why not buy the Windows version, download Ubuntu for free, and install it yourself? Do Dell think its customers are all brainless dullards? Oh, wait....

    1. x 7

      " but from what I can tell the Linux versions cost more than the Windows versions. "

      If you remember, historically part of the problem was M$ made tier 1 OEMs pay a Windows licence fee on ALL PCs they sold irrespective of OS. I presume that habit has now ceased, but I'd love Microsoft to say thats the case

  7. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Wrong keyboard

    It doesn't have Dell's isometric-mouse ("Trackpoint"-style) keyboard, so I'm not interested.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10 worth $101.50

    "Ubuntu Linux 14.04 SP1 [subtract $101.50"

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