Dell Brings Ubuntu Linux 14.04 To XPS 13 Developer Edition Laptop

Wondering where the love for Linux is from big box OEMs? Look no further than Dell and its XPS 13 Developer Edition laptops. Also known as "Project Sputnik," Dell came up with the idea of offering developers a powerful and thin XPS notebook running Linux and launched its first models over three years ago. Now in its 5th generation, Project Sputnik is still going strong today with the latest models combining Ubuntu 14.04 with Intel's Skylake processors.

To kick off its newest generation of Developer Edition laptops, Dell is offering three Core i7 configurations, including two that feature 16GB of RAM, which is something Dell received a lot of requests for. Dell said it also plans to add a Core i5 option to the Developer Edition lineup sometime down the line.

Dell XPS Developer Edition
Dell's XPS 13Check out our review of the recently refreshed Windows 10 version.

Cost of entry into Developer Edition territory runs $1,550. What that gets you is a 13.3-inch QHD+ (3200x1800) InfinityEdge touch display powered by an Intel Core i5-6560U processor, 8GB of LPDDR3 1866 RAM, and Intel Iris Graphics 540. The base model also comes with a 256GB PCIe-based solid state drive, 720p webcam, two USB 3.0 ports, Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.1 Gen 2, 3-in-1 card reader, and DisplayPort 1.2 video output. The system also comes with an adapter that adds VGA, HDMI, and GbE LAN.

The middle model costs $1,950 and doubles the RAM and storage to 16GB and 512GB, respectively, and at the top end, the $2,350 XPS Develop Edition bumps the storage to a capacious 1TB.

We've played with the Windows-powered models of the XPS 13 and were impressed with the build quality. These thin and light systems feature a chassis that's precision cut from a single block of aluminum and strapped with carbon fiber in the keyboard and palm rest area. And then of course there's that gorgeous Infinity Edge display that sports almost no bezel. While we hate to automatically compare such things to a Mac, theses systems are every bit as nice as the MacBook Air (actually nicer in our opinion and more powerful).

As for Linux, Dell is seeing increased interest from customers. In addition to the XPS Developer Edition, Dell offers Ubuntu on its Precision 5510, 3510, 7510, and 7710 mobile workstations, as well as its Precision M3800.

If you haven't seen the XPS 13 before, here's our video review of the 2015 model, which will give you a good feel for the design and build quality of the machine, which is the same as the Ubuntu-enabled versions, mechanically. However, this machine is based on previous gen Intel Broadwell technology rather than the most recent Skylake platform versions that we reviewed here recently