Dell is graduating its internal "Project Sputnik" program this week with the release of a thin and light XPS 13 laptop powered by Ubuntu Linux. Branded as the XPS 13 Developer Edition, the machine features an Intel Core i7 3517U processor with integrated HD 4000 graphics along with 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, 1366 x 768 display resolution, a 256GB solid state drive, Ubuntu 12.04LTS "Precise Pangolin" and 1 year of ProSupport.
That's nothing to sneeze at but the price for this open-source based laptop is likely to disappoint folks expecting to see big savings. The XPS 13 Developer Edition actualy starts at $1,449. That's still $50 less than a Windows 7 variant with half the RAM and an older processor, but cheaper options are available on the Windows camp, including a Windows 8 version with a 128GB SSD for $1,200. The Ubuntu model comes in one sole flavor.
The developer edition laptop doesn’t include any so-called “bloatware” pre-installed or even those annoying plamrest brand stickers. What Dell does include is a couple of software tools aimed at automating setting up development environments and making deployment easier: the Profile Tool and the Cloud Launcher.
The first facilitates the installation of preconfigured development tools for Ruby, Android, and more -- referred to as "profiles" -- while the second helps web developers simulate a cloud environment for testing apps, before deploying them to a production location at a cloud service provider like Amazon EC2 in a few clicks.