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!