Dell dishes out Ubuntu 12.04 image for XPS 13 ultrabook
Dell has been pushing its XPS 13 ultrabook hard with seductive television ads accompanied by generally positive reviews. Now the firm has really thrown a spanner into the works as it announced that for the last six months it has been working with Canonical to bring full support for the XPS 13 hardware to Ubuntu 12.04.
Barton George, director of marketing for Dell’s web operations said the firm has been working on the project, dubbed Sputnik, for six months to pitch a laptop to web developers. While George said hardware support was at the top of Dell’s priorties, he did admit that support for the XPS 13 laptop’s multi-touch trackpad isn’t complete.
As Dell is aiming its Sputnik Ubuntu 12.04 distribution towards web developers, the firm has bundled Git version management and Emacs, the latter of which should make a considerable dent in the XPS 13 SSD drive. Thankfully a decent text editor, VIM is also pre-installed. Underneath all that, Dell’s Sputnik Ubuntu 12.04 image has the same core Ubuntu desktop packages.
For years Dell has been one of the more progressive PC makers when it’s come to Linux, and in particular Ubuntu support, with the firm having announced it would ship machines with Ubuntu pre-installed back in 2007. Although George admitted that there is still some work to be done with Sputnik, it is great to see the firm working with Canonical to improve out-of-the-box hardware support for its headline laptop.
For Canonical, the Dell XPS 13 could well become the headline device that it can use to push Ubuntu to consumers who are sometimes won over by shiny surfaces rather than the software running underneath. Dell’s next step will be to offer a version of its XPS 13 laptop without Windows, which should reduce the price, as users won’t have to pay the Windows tax.