Dell has been running a beta program for an Ubuntu-powered ultrabook since this summer. Now the manager of Project Sputnik says Dell is getting ready to debut a real product based on the experiment.

Update: The Dell XPS 13 developer edition is now available… for $1549.

Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 ultrabook is the model that’s been used during the testing period. It’s a 3 pound notebook with a 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, an Intel Sandy Bridge processor, a solid state disk, and a starting price of about $950 when configured with Windows.

Project Sputnik has involved loading up the laptop with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS instead of Windows and targeting developers who are comfortable with Linux software. The website for the beta hardware also says the Sputnik version of the XPS 13 has an “i7 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor,” which seems like a typo — since I’m not aware of any CPU that has both i7 and Core 2 Duo in the name.

To be honest, it’s not that hard to just buy a Windows laptop and load Ubuntu on it yourself. But when a PC maker preloads the operating system, there’s a lower chance of running into hardware compatibility problems. Hopefully Dell will also offer some level of support for laptops it sells with Ubuntu.

After months of testing, it’s likely that Dell will continue to use the XPS 13 as its flagship Ubuntu ultrabook. But it’d be nice to see the company offer additional options such as higher resolution displays or faster processors for customers that want them. After all, this notebook is supposed to be aimed at developers.

There’s no word on how much the Sputnik laptop will cost when it launches, but it’s expected to be initially available only in the US.

via Ultrabook News and OMG Ubuntu

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4 replies on “Dell to launch an XPS 13 ultrabook with Ubuntu Linux soon”

  1. This is great news!!! I just hope that many other will follow! I LOVE UBUNTU!

  2. I do hope it gets a UK release too. It’s such a shame it isn’t using the new Ivy-Bridge i7s and the resolution would of been perfect if it was 1440×900. Can’t believe how difficult it is to get a laptop that has a resolution higher than 1366×768 these days.

  3. “To be honest, it’s not that hard to just buy a Windows laptop and load Ubuntu on it yourself.” Sure, if you don’t giving Microsoft somewhere between $30 and $120 for something you don’t want. I do mind, and I’ve been looking for alternatives like this for a long time. On the other hand, that low-res screen is enough to keep me looking for a better alternative.

    1. Except Windows PCs tend to have bloatware and trialware to offset that Windows license. Sometimes Windows PCs end up being cheaper than the same exact one being shipped with FreeDOS or no OS.

      At least that has been my anecdotal experience when buying PCs with Windows, Linux and no OS.

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