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Ars Reviewer is Happily Bored With Dell's Linux Ultrabook

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the best-way-to-be-bored dept.

Portables 181

Ars Technica reviewer Lee Hutchinson says that Dell's Ubuntu-loaded 13" Ultrabook (the product of "Project Sputnik") is "functional," "polished," and (for a Linux laptop) remarkably unremarkable. "It just works," he says. Hutchinson points out that this is a sadly low bar, but nonetheless gives Dell great credit for surpassing it. He finds the Ultrabook's keyboard to be spongy, but has praise for most elements of the hardware itself, right down to (not everyone's favorite) the glossy screen.

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Still fiddly if you RTFA (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43503877)

"It feels like there is a tiny bit of input lag on the trackpad, which made grabbing Unity's razor-thin window edges an exercise in screaming frustration"

This does not equate with "Just Works".

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (4, Insightful)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43503919)

I think the problem here is the razor-thin window edges.

All the UI's I've used with the thin window edges have been difficult for me to interact with, by mouse, trackpad, or touchpoint ("eraser-pointer"), because of the challenges of hitting a particular very small spot.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43503997)

Did someone say "I hate touchpads"?

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Barsteward (969998) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504061)

no, i said "i fucking hate fucking touchpads"

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (5, Funny)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504087)

no, i said "i fucking hate fucking touchpads"

That might be the problem. They're for controlling your mouse pointer, not sex.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504175)

yes, he wants a touch hole, not a touch pad.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504611)

They're for controlling your mouse pointer, not sex.

Really? Not into Internet porn, I take it...

Re: Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504123)

If you want to fuck it, get a clit mouse.

Re: Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

frisket (149522) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504577)

Re: Still fiddly if you RTFA (2)

Frnknstn (663642) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504771)

Oblig. http://xkcd.com/243/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504079)

Then try KDE, where you can adjust the thickness of the window edge for grabbing. About six thicknesses to fatten up or slim down.
Yes, they buried the setting, but it's under "Workspace Appearance".

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505539)

So, it's not "fix the trackpad driver from being laggy", it's make everything bigger so that you can still hit the target with a laggy trackpad?

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

manicb (1633645) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505671)

Huh, did not know that.*Increases size*

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504165)

I think the problem here is the razor-thin window edges.

Actually, the problem is OP's decision to take the reviewer's use of hyperbole out of context to make a non-Windows OS look bad.

Pretty much par for the course with today's Slashdot.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

D1G1T (1136467) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504319)

Typing this running Ubuntu on an old Macbook Pro. The wonky touchpad support is the biggest problem with Ubuntu imo. I have absolutely no problem grabbing thin edges on MacOS or Win8 on the same machine. Otherwise, once you rip out all the advertising, the latest Ubuntu is really impressive.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (5, Informative)

kwark (512736) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504493)

What do you need window edges for? Setup you window manager to use a modifier (alt in my case) key to interact with the window itself, eg:
alt-button1: move
alt-button2: resize
alt-button3: lower/raise window
Beats trying to grab edges, especially with "focus follows mouse" and a high anti focus stealing setting for the wm.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

zakkudo (2638939) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505545)

Window edges were probably one of the worst design decisions usability-wise. I primarily blame them for why people say "trackpads suck." It is liberating when you realize alt-button1 and alt-button2 also free you from worrying about what you might be accidentally clicking inside of the window.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

frisket (149522) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504557)

I think the problem here is the razor-thin window edges.

The trouble is that the implementations of X seem to conflate the visible border of the window (possibly 1px wide) with the grabbable area that ought to cause the cursor to change to the "i can move this" double-arrow. That needs to be several pixels thick for most people to grab it. The designers of Unity and other windowing systems appear to place more emphasis on "looking pretty" than on "working well".

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504729)

Triple press on the touchpad and big orange drag handles appear making it easy to resize windows. Triple press again to get rid of the handles. IMHO this doesn't work as well as wider normal drag handles would, but it's not that bad either.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504759)

So who do you select a paragraph of text then? This has been what triple clicks result in since I first got exposed to X11.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43505351)

I'm sorry but window edges or not, input lag is unacceptable in 2013 on a laptop. This has been solved for 17 years.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (5, Funny)

tortovroddle (1969948) | about a year and a half ago | (#43503991)

"Screaming frustration" in Unity means "Just Works".

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43505113)

"Screaming frustration" is trying to find a decent laptop that isn't an apple.

Even Lenovo, the last good brand, is changing everything out for shitty designs of flimsy plastic and obnoxious visual features, while ditching the keyboard that was so good it made people buy the devices, and swapping out the mouse keys for junk that stops working in months.

We wore out 3 out of 4 of them at work, in one year. That's not Lenovo.

Seriously, anyone, name one laptop that doesn't suck.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (5, Funny)

Arkiel (741871) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504099)

Every single Ars Technica laptop review complains about the trackpad. No trackpad is sufficient. As a matter of fact, we should all consider the presence of glowing praise about a trackpad in a Ars Technica review a clear signal that they're all being held hostage by crazed gunmen and the authorities need to be informed.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504721)

All except Macbook reviews, no?

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43505077)

All except Macbook reviews, no?

Yes, and even as a PC user I'd admit the trackpads are something they got right, and until recently better than all others. And it is as much about software support as hardware. Some of the newest Windows 8 ultrabooks have trackpads starting to approach the Macbooks.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (4, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504155)

Also still 1,500$. I can't find that much money in the hardware, so where did it go?

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504671)

Probably in setting this whole thing up, they actually had developers write code and put it in a PPA and have it merged upstream, they apparently include a year of support with their own support staff that at least knows some Linux, they're trying for a few more value-adds but overall I think you're underestimating the overhead in doing a small run compared to selling millions of Windows machines. Also all the crapware they bundle with Windows puts the OS cost at ~$0, here you really get a no-crap standard mainstream distribution. And yet people are still not happy, why am I not surprised... I think the Ars reviewer was spot on with this observation:

The Ugly

That in spite of the excellent precedent Dell is setting, some people will still scream and rage because this product says "Dell" on it and/or because it costs more than $0

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504695)

Back in Feb I bought a Dell Vostro 2520 laptop w/ i3, 4GB, 500GB HD loaded preloaded with Ubuntu 12.04 for only $450 (including tax & shipping). I used $220 in spare change at a CoinStar machine to pay for half of it (no fees charged by CoinStar because Dell is one of their "Partners").

I had trouble ordering it on their site because I couldn't use my CoinStar issued 'Gift Card' on a registered account (GCs are for consumer purchases and this was a "business" computer). I couldn't order it over the phone because they said all Dell "business" computers are required to come with Adobe Reader but they can't add Reader to Linux computers (no option on their screens and the ordering system rejected the laptop without Reader). Eventually I bought it via the 'Guest' checkout. Could NOT have been harder to buy.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

mariox19 (632969) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504725)

some people will still scream and rage because [...] it costs more than $0

I think you have to be some kind of math geek to blithely state $1,549.00 > $0.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505021)

It isn't expensive and I think it's in line with similar offerings from other manufacturers. If you know of any other ultrabook that sports similar specs (1080p screen, 256GB SSD are the specs that interest me) then please share as I avoid Dell like the plague.

Re:Still fiddly if you RTFA (1)

lrichardson (220639) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505469)

Here's something a little more upscale: 17.3" core i7 8 Gb/500 Gb For the same price https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/bonx6 [system76.com] Personally, upgrading to the two 1Tb drives, at $1,660, makes this a !@#$ing phenomenal Ubuntu machine.

glossy screen (5, Informative)

blackjackshellac (849713) | about a year and a half ago | (#43503893)

This is why I will (sadly) never buy one of these.

Re:glossy screen (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504149)

The eternal rift among users. Glossy, or matte; that is the question. I don't care for matt screens as they dull the contrast and bleed colors together. I can tune out the glare as it doesn't bother me much.

The good thing (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504215)

is that the matte wins in the long run. Shiny new object turn matte, and aging people's eyes can't tell the difference, and Ra's shine is for all practical purposes eternal.

Long live the matte screen!

Re:glossy screen (3, Interesting)

Tweezak (871255) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504369)

The problem I find is that with a laptop of any kind you often can't control the environment where you are using it and the glare can become a real issue. If I'm wearing a light colored shirt in a bright area the reflection in a glossy screen is horribly distracting. If I am using my work laptop instead with a matte screen I never even give it a thought.

Re:glossy screen (4, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504423)

The eternal rift among users. Glossy, or matte; that is the question. I don't care for matt screens as they dull the contrast and bleed colors together. I can tune out the glare as it doesn't bother me much.

I used to think I cared, then I got a MacBook with a glass screen and joined the 90% of PC users who just don't care either way as long as the display has no stuck pixels.

Re:glossy screen (4, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505281)

interesting, you complain about color sharness and contrast, but dont mind looking at a reflection of a light source that kills contrast and blurs the screen

Re:glossy screen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504153)

I've noticed this about Linsux fags... if 100% of everything isn't exactly what they want they say they won't buy it. Good for fucking you! Now shut the fuck up! Go back to smoking cocks.
 
Linsux fags are such a bore.
 
Go jam that up your ass. Fucking retard.

Re:glossy screen (1)

richlv (778496) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504665)

same here. when looking for a laptop, "matte" screen is a mandatory thing (one of a few)

Too Expensive (4, Informative)

Luthair (847766) | about a year and a half ago | (#43503905)

Nearly 1600 before tax and no user upgradable components? You'd think it was a macbook

Re:Too Expensive (4, Informative)

BobCollins (986220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504085)

Nearly 1600 before tax and no user upgradable components? You'd think it was a macbook

Actually 50% more than the new MacBook Pro I bought last summer. The MBP has upgradable RAM, disk (SSD or spinning), and even the ability to swap out the optical drive for a second disk. And believe me, if Apple gets one thing right, it's that "it just works."

Re:Too Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504119)

Try to upgrade or change anything[including the battery] on the current generation MBP...[you can't].

This argument is no longer valid.

MacBook Pro: How to remove or install memory (4, Informative)

Internal Modem (1281796) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504199)

The current generation MBP has user replaceable RAM and storage. You're confusing the current generation MBP with Macbook Airs and Retina Macbook Pro. Apple even has a support document on the site "MacBook Pro: How to remove or install memory" that covers the current generation MBP introduced in June 2012 (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1270).

Re:MacBook Pro: How to remove or install memory (3, Informative)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504539)

The current generation MBP has user replaceable RAM and storage. You're confusing the current generation MBP with Macbook Airs and Retina Macbook Pro. Apple even has a support document on the site "MacBook Pro: How to remove or install memory" that covers the current generation MBP introduced in June 2012 (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1270).

I just replaced the SSD of my 2 month old Retina MBP with a 480GB Aurora unit. To do that I had to disconnect the (very removable) battery so both are upgradable on the Retina MBP. You are kind of stuck with the 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM. The later model MBAs also have upgradable SSDs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7mzTB5KoAw [youtube.com]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_hZdE0AKVY [youtube.com]

Re:MacBook Pro: How to remove or install memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504983)

Apple's "it just works" applies to purchases too. If you have to do research on which Mac to buy, why not research all laptops for the best one?

Re:Too Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504307)

I've replaced the RAM and the hard drive in a current generation MBP. It was trivial.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

countach74 (2484150) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504143)

Yes but some of us do prefer to run Linux than OSX. Granted this laptop is too expensive. I'm going to be shopping for a laptop soon and frankly I'll probably be caught between this and another MacBook Air... sigh.

Re:Too Expensive (2)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504187)

Yes but some of us do prefer to run Linux than OSX. Granted this laptop is too expensive. I'm going to be shopping for a laptop soon and frankly I'll probably be caught between this and another MacBook Air... sigh.

So... why not just run Linux on the MacBook Air, if that's what you prefer?

Re:Too Expensive (2)

countach74 (2484150) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504477)

Yes, that's what I will do if I buy an Air for work. It sure would be nice if the 11" Air had a decent resolution. I don't mind whatever it is for every day use, but it's not nearly enough real estate for development. My original comment probably came across wrong: my point is there aren't enough options, it seems.. or at least not enough options at a competitive price. It'd be nice to have the option of buying a thin laptop with decent resolution with perhaps less under the hood. Not all of us need a core i7 or i5. It seems like you have to go all or nothing, thus getting stuck with a $1500+ bill.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505043)

11" is not enough real estate for development. Doesn't matter what resolution it is. I have a pair of 24" 1924x1200 monitors that I use for development and I find the real estate far more usable than the 1920x1200 15.6" laptop I had a few years ago.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

countach74 (2484150) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505421)

Obviously, 11-13" is not ideal. But I'm not looking for ideal in a laptop. I'm looking for something I can take to {somewhere nice to work} for a few hours and get by. No laptop will be able to replace my desktop setup; at least not without several large displays. :) But I'd rather have a small laptop that kind of works that I will actually use than a large laptop that still kind of works that I don't want to lug around. :)

Re:Too Expensive (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504915)

Try the System76 laptops. The Gazelle is a very nice machine for the price, and I think all of their machines come with matte screens, with glossy being an option. The Bonobo is a 17" beast of a machine that is not particularly portable, but makes a great gaming or development machine. Both have 1440x1080 screens.

Re:Too Expensive (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504927)

Sorry, that resolution is 1920x1080.

Re:Too Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504567)

Uh, is that before or after the laptops not "just working"? After they pissed off and created a self-imposed ban on Samsung, a number of their displays had issues with discolouration and pixels.

Re:Too Expensive (2)

jonnyj (1011131) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504641)

Actually 50% more than the new MacBook Pro I bought last summer.

The nearest equivalent Apple laptop is the 13" Macbook Air (disclaimer: I have one and it's very good). In the UK, the two machines are almost exactly same price and are effectively dimensionally identical too. But the Air has less RAM (4GB vs 8GB), a slower processor (i5 vs i7) and a lower resolution screen (1440x900 vs 1920x1080).

I bought my Air to run Linux; I like OS X, but I much prefer Ubuntu. If I were buying today, I'd take the XPS over the Air. Both machines seem good but, for my use case, the XPS has the edge: better innards, better screen and manufacturer support for my OS of choice.

Reminds me of when I moved to Ubuntu 9.04 (5, Insightful)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43503915)

for the first time from XP.

It was a bit of an anti-climax and a slight disappointment at first. Nothing happened. No pop-ups appeared. No first-time guide. No helpful hints. No gnashing hard-drive activity. Just silence and waiting for my command.

Since then I've come to appreciate this as the #1 reason for using linux - when you actually want to get something done, it just seems to get out the way. It's a shame that more recent distro versions seem to be moving away from this though.

D

Re:Reminds me of when I moved to Ubuntu 9.04 (5, Insightful)

chipschap (1444407) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504943)

Since then I've come to appreciate this as the #1 reason for using linux - when you actually want to get something done, it just seems to get out the way. It's a shame that more recent distro versions seem to be moving away from this though.

Mint is pretty good in this regard; that's why I've switched from Ubuntu (and to avoid Unity of course).

As to the original article, though: yes, the product costs way more than I can spend on a laptop... I would have to buy a cheaper laptop and install Linux on my own. I don't at all mind doing this, but it does take time and patience.

The article's author saying that the average user will never be able to live with running Linux, though, strikes me as incorrect. Sure, installing and maintaining Linux may be out of reach, as would be doing all the tweaks necessary with sound cards, etc.

But running it? The average Jane or Joe that mostly needs a browser and little else? I set up a Mint box for my wife; she has no idea she's using a Linux system and doesn't care, as long as she can do email and Facebook and that sort of thing. I know of many such examples.

To be fair, a key thing is to have someone available to maintain the distribution. But there aren't virus issues and "safe browsing" is just about a given, which I think is A Very Big Deal for the typical user.

Re:Reminds me of when I moved to Ubuntu 9.04 (1)

petit_robert (1220082) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505179)

"I would have to buy a cheaper laptop and install Linux on my own. I don't at all mind doing this, but it does take time and patience."

a LOT less than trying to install windows, I assure you.

Linux is actually quite easy to install. I'm partial to Debian, but for an easy trial, just burn a Knoppix CD, boot your machine off that CD, then click install in the menu bar. It will preserve your windows installation

Re:Reminds me of when I moved to Ubuntu 9.04 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43505243)

You don't need a full-blown Linux system just to browse the web. As soon as you want to actually run programs on it, there's no way around the commandline and acquiring admin skills. This is where Linux still lags behind other OSes.

Sadly, that's actually noteworthy these days (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43503945)

"It works" and "it's not riddled with crappy 'trial' ware you can't easily get rid of" has become something worth mentioning when reviewing laptops.

Re:Sadly, that's actually noteworthy these days (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43505547)

If you can't get rid of the trial ware on a modern PC then you have no business using a PC at all.
 
I'm sick of crying cunts being modded up for being too fucking stupid to know how a computer works. Go back to sucking dicks and rooting your little faggot phone.

poor quality (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43503961)

spongy keyboard?

fuck that shit. the quality of the keyboard is the most important aspect to me.

EULA? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about a year and a half ago | (#43503983)

I was prompted for my preferred language, then I had to agree to the EULA,

WTF?

Re:EULA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504059)

Probably a GPL "yeah, yeah, whatever" dialog box.

Too bad for lunix (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504013)

22 years and it is still lagging behind Windows 3.11.

At least with 3.1 we could use it to play (popular) games.

Re:Too bad for lunix (1)

detain (687995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504147)

when 3.1 was prevalent most popular games were still dos based.

Re:Too bad for lunix (1)

thegreatemu (1457577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504393)

Windows 3.1 was DOS based...
98 was the first version of windows that was an actual OS, not a graphical DOS shell

Re:Too bad for lunix (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504537)

DOS is by definition an OS. Look up the acronym for the two. DOS even had its own kernel. The windows kernel ran OK top if the DOS kernel in all versions of the original windows, which went up to ME.

NT, which was (is) a whole other operating system built from the ground up, new kernel and all. The kernel that windows uses today is derived from the original NT kernel, and thus has no DOS ancestry.

Re:Too bad for lunix (1)

detain (687995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505047)

It ran on top of DOS yes, but there were still Windows apps/games that ran in only windows, but the popular games were all still dos.

Re:Too bad for lunix (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505297)

1) dos is not a programming language, you dont base something on DOS, DOS is an OS, you run programs with it
2) no 98 was sitting ontop of a dos command kernel

So? (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504015)

Well, my new Lenovo Twist Thinkpad Ultrabook running Fedora 18 also "just works" (including the touch screen) and didn't require any special "project" to accomplish.

We have heard this line from Dell before. I trust them about as far as I could throw them. Most potential Linux customers don't need a preinstalled Linux laptop from these companies or even a special support division. ESPECIALLY if they plan to charge *MORE* than for their MS-Windows model. For one, many customers won't want Dell's choice of Linux nor the way it was installed.

What we need is commitment from the vendor that the hardware is not Linux hostile and they won't try to avoid their warranty obligation using Linux as an excuse. Even better, how about a nice support page describing the hardware in detail and the names of the Linux drivers and in what kernel for each component and some install tips. None of that is expensive or complex.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504091)

Why don't you just build your own computer and install linux on it if your OCD is so severe?

Re:So? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504263)

Sadly laptops are not so easy to accomplish. I have built several desktops which are childishly easy to do and have the added benefit of no microsoft tax. I've never purchased a new laptop and only once a new computer in the last couple of decades, that being the refurbished mac mini quad i7 server I got from the Apple store last year. It was a dreadful amount of money but the last few videos I edited on it made the purchase worthwhile. I've edited movies on Linux but it is a chore while on a Mac it is ridiculously simple and quick. I love linux for pretty much everything else though. Now that I think on it before the mini all my computers were used except for the Commodore 64 I bought from the Keesler AFB Exchange in 1983. I still have that one and it and the 1541 disk drive I got with it still work.

Because it's a laptop (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504309)

Why don't you just build your own computer and install linux on it

Let me know who sells a decent kit for building an Ultrabook laptop and I'll tell you.

Re:So? (1)

markdavis (642305) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505097)

I have no idea what parts of my post you think are "OCD", but there is no "building" your own ultrabook. They are mostly unconfigurable. However I do build (which is really more like "put together") my own desktops, servers, and thin clients, and have for many years. Except for servers, it is always more expensive, but they are also much higher quality and usually perform better too.... and, of course, they all run Linux.

Re:So? (1)

donaldm (919619) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504351)

What we need is commitment from the vendor that the hardware is not Linux hostile and they won't try to avoid their warranty obligation using Linux as an excuse

Having worked for HP I knew that all their x86 (64 and 32 bit) machines could run Linux although they don't actually wave the flag about it and when I had an overheating problem there was no issue with getting the machine repaired under warranty even with Fedora on it. I actually have two HP laptops which I own, one which is about 5 years old which I use for testing and the other (HP dv7 just over two years old) which I use for personal and corporate use and both run Fedora 18 which "just works" even though Fedora is known as a development distribution.

Ah say the detractors but it does not run "Games For Windows". Well it can be made to however I never have been a PC gamer preferring console games instead although if I really felt like it I can play most web games natively. There are a few applications I cannot run on my machines one being Microsoft IE (I can in a virtual machine but why bother) and the other the popular viruses :)

"Just Works" is boring; Borked Drivers aren't (1)

billstewart (78916) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505091)

Of course it's sort of boring. Having broken drivers, now that's exciting! You'd really hope that Dell would ship a machine where that doesn't happen.

And most people in the market for a Linux laptop have been running Linux long enough that they expect the operating system to let them do real work.

All notebooks (3, Interesting)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504105)

There is one thing all Ultrabooks, notebooks and netbooks don't have and that is a good keyboard. I have yet to hear of a *book with a mechanical keyboard.

Re:All notebooks (2)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504177)

I LOVE the keyboard on my Asus Zenbook. You'll see complaining online, but that's only because I had to open it up and tape the connector better after it shook loose (which was as simple as removing a few tiny Philips screws). But as far as actually typing, I can fly on this thing. No mushy keys here. This thing has a low key travel but a high feedback that makes it obvious when you have pressed the key.

"Mechanical keyboard"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504255)

It is hard to imagine what you'd call "mechanical". If the key moves when depressed, it is mechanical. Basically all keyboards have some stupid foil switches with mechanical contacts. One of the best keyboards I ever had belonged to a "Nascom II" and it was contactless: the keys were heavy, springloaded (no jumping spring like with the PS2 keyboards), had a hard metal stop, and instead of a contact there was some coil and pin construction working via inductivity change. Quite indestructabile apart from the spacebar equalizing mechanism (you could hit the full-length bar equally well anywhere without it getting stuck) which occasionally unhinged (but not self-destructed) under "Space Invaders" and similar workloads from my kid brother.

Next best keyboard was the standard PS2, but I would not have routinely used it for arcade games. But nice for typing. With more moving parts than today's keyboards, but nothing that would get it labelled "mechanical" more so than the existing bad keyboards.

Several electric typewriters (including the older IBM Selectric Typewriters) have mechanical keys which cause mechanical action triggered by the initial press. Those are indeed "mechanical" to a larger degree. But I doubt that was what you have been thinking of.

Re:"Mechanical keyboard"? (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504441)

Maybe just the standard definition of a "mechanical keyboard"? That is to say using buckling springs, Cherry switches, etc. This is in opposition to most desktop keyboards, which use rubber domes. I believe most laptops use a scissor-switch setup, since it's thinner, but those are still in the dome family.

Re:All notebooks (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504277)

The keyboard on the business class Dells used to be good. I have an old D630 that has an excellent keyboard. Trackpads are another matter. I find the apple laptops have pretty good ones but nothing in the "peecee" world seems to match up. I end up using a usb mouse instead.

Re:All notebooks (1)

armanox (826486) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505511)

I have to agree with that - I loved the keyboards on my Latitude D610 and C400, and on Inspiron 7500, 8000, and 8100.

Re:All notebooks (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504447)

You'd have a hard time fitting mechanical switches in the very small profile of a notebook. The added weight would also be very significant. My mechanical keyboard weights a good few pounds all by itself!

Re:All notebooks (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505087)

Sadly, mechanical switches are too heavy and take up too much room to be practical in a laptop.

Re:All notebooks (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505141)

I think it's a great area to get into, well I know right now they are bulky, if someone could invent low profile switches that would be awesome.

"Linux is not yet 'ready for the desktop. . .'" (0)

kc8hr (633502) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504207)

I have used Linux as my only desktop system since 1998. I am no techie, not a geek, and I must object when technical writers claim that Linux is not 'ready for the desktop.' It is a ridiculous and unsupportable statement!

Re:"Linux is not yet 'ready for the desktop. . .'" (1)

chipschap (1444407) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505029)

I am no techie, not a geek, and I must object when technical writers claim that Linux is not 'ready for the desktop.'

I think it depends what you mean by "not yet ready for the desktop."

Not yet ready for the average user to install, maintain, tweak to get everything working, etc.? Surely not, though I wonder if Windows is all that much easier in that regard, except for the important distinction that Windows requires less effort to get everything working... usually the hardware works out of the box.

Not yet ready for the average user to use? As I've posted elsewhere, lots of average users are running a Linux box set up by a friend or relative, probably not even knowing or caring that it's Linux, and doing web browsing, email, Facebook, etc., to their heart's content.

To me, "ready for the desktop" in the usage sense means the average user clicks on an icon and the expected result happens: a web browser starts up or what-have-you. Linux easily delivers this today.

But if your definition of "ready for the desktop" means the average user can singlehandedly install the system, install software, do updates, troubleshoot, etc., Linux is not ready for the desktop. But Windows, by that definition at least, isn't a whole lot more ready.

Sponginess (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504285)

I wonder if this truly is spongy. I worked with one tablet prototype that had a keyboard similar to the old amazon ebook readers. You were hard-pressed to type 1 character a second due to the rubbery hard keycaps that had to be pressed fully down before it resulted in a character.

Combine this with sometimes having to work with linux VT, it was pretty awful. And it didn't actually have a virtual keyboard at that point... or it did, but it was pretty broken.

I really don't believe spongy is the correct way to address a squishy keyboard. Spongy is reserved for something more terrible.

Sweet laptop . . . (5, Insightful)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504395)

Dell makes some sweet laptops for Ubuntu and this new model seems to continue that tradition. I use the small form factor Latitude E6320 for work and play (with Ubuntu's 13.04 beta) and I'm happier than a pig in mud. If you're looking to move to a fully functional GNU/Linux distribution on a laptop or desktop, I must say that Canonical seems to have their act together. Just remember to run "sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping". Nasty stuff.

WTF is wrong with Dell ? (4, Informative)

dargaud (518470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504439)

Last week I was looking for a Linux ultrabook after my 8 year old one died (wasn't called that back then but I digress). I spent 2 evenings shopping on various sites and I was sure there were some at Dell because we buy Linux laptops from them at work. After failing to find them on their site, I called them up. The answer: no, we don't make Linux laptops. Well, fuck your lousy customer service, you just lost a sale.

Dell UK offers you Windows 7 or Windows 8 (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504555)

Dell's UK site [dell.co.uk] for the laptop says "Windows 7 or Windows 8 – Choose the operating system that suits you".

so what? (1)

markhahn (122033) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504571)

If a potential user can't manage to install the Linux of their choice onto pretty much any laptop,
they're going to be pretty disappointed trying to actually *run* Linux, even if it's preinstalled.

I've had no problems running Fedora on my Samsung UB.

I have on, it does "just work" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43504815)

I have one of these and really like it.

The OS really does "just work". Originally I intended to reinstall the OS, but took the factory install for a test drive first. A couple months later and I'm still running the factory install because I haven't found a reason not to. About the only thing I'd do differently is install on top of LVM2.

Hardware wise it works well. I like matt screens, but haven't had any issues with the glossy screen. I type in the 85-90wpm range and don't notice the keyboard feeling "spongy". There's actually very little to no flex in the keyboard.

My one wish is that the wifi reception was better. I find it has connectivity issues at the edge of wireless networks, where my phone or other laptop is still able to connect.

Windows logo (2)

andrewa (18630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504901)

I find it interesting that they went to all the trouble of making it 'just work', and promoting it as a Linux laptop, yet it still has a Microsoft Windows logo on the keyboard. Fail.

Re:Windows logo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43505317)

thats an intel sticker moron

Interesting description of "Carbon Fiber" (4, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43504987)

and the laptop's bottom surface is coated in soft checkerboard patterned plastic

Probably one of the more interesting parts of the chassis as a whole is described as plastic, rather than factory made carbon fiber parts. This piece adds a lot of rigidity, strength and shock absorption (if/when dropped on the corner) without adding much weight, and yet he glosses right over it. Resin infused woven carbon fiber is a wonderful piece of modern material science and it's completely ignored. Dell should be praised for pushing materials like this in to consumer products that cost less than $2000.

47 Watt-Hour non-replaceable battery (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43505003)

I haven't kept up, on laptops. Is a 47 Watt-Hour non-replaceable battery considered relatively "normal" these days?

When I see that, my first throught is "47 WHr? Why does it have a Core i7 instead of a Core i3 or Pentium or Atom? Can I at least underclock or downgrade it so that it doesn't totally suck to the point of uselessness?" My second thought is, "wait, did you say non-replacable?" Non-replaceable batteries? Why would I ever buy anything with a non-replaceable battery? Not a single one of my portable gizmos has something like that, and you're suggesting my highest-end $1500 one should? That's silly. OTOH, for all I know, it's normal now. Is it?

Dell + Ubuntu = Works well (1)

Parker Lewis (999165) | about a year and a half ago | (#43505319)

I had a 2012 XPS 15 (l502x, the giant brick one), and I installed Kubuntu 12.04 LTS, and all my hardware worked with default install. With Win7, after a format, I had to download a thousand of drivers from Dell support website. The only additional movement I did was active Bumblebee PPA, to get the onboard video card working as default (to save battery and call the dedicated card only when I need it).
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