[Techtalk] The Dell XPS 13 Developers Ubuntu

Akkana Peck akkana at shallowsky.com
Mon Jul 27 02:06:47 UTC 2015

Raena Lea-Shannon writes:
> Unfortunately thin and light in the lap means super heavy on the purse. It
> is an indulgent price for a little machine 

I don't think thin and light are what's heavy on the purse:
I was just looking at a couple of neat thin-and-light ultrabooks
today at Best Buy, of all places, for $160 (Asus, Atom) and $180
(HP, Celeron). What's expensive is when you add the fast processor,
lots of RAM, a big disk and a super high-res screen.

> but then again it is a great
> thing IMHO that Dell are putting a GNU/Linux run product out there that is
> usually only for Mac and Windows so I am kind of happy to pay credit where
> it is due.

I always find it frustrating that it's considerably more expensive
to buy a machine with (free) Linux than with (non-free) Windows.
I know they have to factor in support costs, spread over a small
number of machines; but the number of machines is small partly
because they charge more for Linux and make the Linux machines
more difficult to find. Sigh.

I wish I knew the answer to your query about the XPS 13. I've been
curious about that machine myself, so if you do end up getting one,
please report back on how well it works!

I know Linux support for the modern no-real-buttons style of trackpad
can be spotty. I've had no end of trouble on my Asus laptop (older,
slower and smaller than what you're looking for, but it was cheap, is
very light and goes forever on a battery charge). I finally gave up
on configuring synclient and syndaemon; instead, I disabled all taps
completely, then set up F1-F3 to be left, middle and right click.
That ends up working surprisingly well, but you're right, I wouldn't
want to have to put up with workarounds like that on a $1300 machine.

One thing you could do is buy XPS 13 but to keep personal data
(passwords and such) on a separate USB stick for a while while
you're testing it, and if it doesn't work well, return it. Dell is
good about returns, or at least used to be. My previous laptop was a
Dell, and initially I bought a touchscreen model. The touchscreen
had a glitch where the mouse would randomly jump to one corner of
the screen (in either Linux or Windows). I sent it back for repair,
but when it came back with the glitch un-fixed, I returned it and
ordered one without a touchscreen. Dell didn't give me any hassles
and the service and eventual return was very easy.


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