Ubuntu fans on the lookout for desktops or laptops bundled with their favorite OS have had a rough time - there's been selection, but it's been painfully limited. Helping that just a wee bit is Dell, with its Vostro 2420 and 2520 notebooks, which each offer a singular Ubuntu option. The only difference between the two is that the 2420 comes in at 14-inches, whereas the 2520 is 15.6-inches. The kicker? At the moment, both models cost exactly the same.
With their $299 price-point, it's fairly obvious that Dell's Ubuntu options are not powerhouses - not even close. Each model includes an Intel Celeron B820 dual-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz with absolutely no option to upgrade. This is strange, because the models that cost $70 more and are bundled with Windows 7 can be upgraded to an Intel Core i3-2328M for an additional $50. Across the board with these base-line models, nothing else can be upgraded - not even the hard drive. For that, you'll need to start out with a bigger configuration, but that automatically forgoes your Ubuntu option.
Ubuntu support from Dell has always been hit or miss, but it's clear the company believes that fans of Linux or Ubuntu in particular just don't care about performance. Let's be honest - a $300 option with an Intel Celeron CPU is barely an option at all. These configurations are for people with the simplest of computing needs - those that simply need a laptop. For performance-hungry Ubuntu users, any options require you to pick up a beefier config - paying for the Windows license you won't use.
If the reason behind the absolute lack of Ubuntu machines has one thing to thank, it's no doubt Microsoft. However, Dell isn't doing much to win the hearts of Linux users, when companies such as System76 have been offering a variety of Ubuntu-equipped options for quite some time. In fact - System76's focus is only Ubuntu, so in that regard, you could expect the experience and support to be unparalleled. Dell does have one advantage here, however. System76's least-expensive laptop is still twice as expensive as these Vostros.
Wouldn't life be so much easier if you could purchase any Dell PC and disable the Windows option? What a pipe dream that is!
It's like Dell only sees Ubuntu as an operating system used to give life to older or less powerful hardware by only giving Linux options on their lower tier products. They need to realize there are plenty of high end, "power-hungry" users that use Linux and Ubuntu as well.
On the bright side, the fact it has begun to be offered at all is a foot in the door that could lead to stronger Linux support and options in purchasing from Dell which is a good sign. I'm sure if they see a lot of people vying for the Ubuntu option on these laptops it'll keep squeezing that door open to appear on products with higher end hardware.
I just can't see where the nitch is here really. It's cost to much to compete with the ultrabooks, and most users out there can't upgrade from a wet rag to a lint free cloth to screen their screen let alone change out a hard drive and install an OS.
I suppose this is one of those cheap entry level crapbooks for the new employees who belong to companies that have brand loyalty to dell.
"On the bright side, the fact it has begun to be offered at all is a foot in the door that could lead to stronger Linux support and options in purchasing from Dell which is a good sign."
I agree, but the sad thing is, Dell has offered Ubuntu options off and on for the past couple of years, and there really hasn't been much of a hint that things will get better. As mentioned in the post, System76 is offering some sweet desktops and notebooks also, but competition would be nice - and not to mention the addition of other Linux distros. I love Linux, but I don't want to use Ubuntu.
I was able to upgrade my 2420 to the 4GB, i3, 500 GB system on Black Friday, so your results may vary...
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