Dell has long been one of the most Linux-friendly PC manufacturers. But with its project Sputnik, Dell has really embraced open source software in a way unique to all PC makers. Sputnik is the nickname for Dell’s newest Linux laptop — the XPS 13 Developer Edition, a sleek ultrabook that runs Ubuntu out of the box.
If the idea of running Linux full-time is foreign or novel to you, this is not the laptop for you. Likewise, if you’re of the opinion that Linux on the desktop just isn’t ready for everyday use, then this is not the laptop for you. It’s also not the laptop for the Linux geek who scoffs at everything but Arch and loves to search out obscure hardware drivers.
The XPS 13 Developer Edition is aimed squarely at people already working in Linux and already comfortable with the platform, but who’d rather do without all the fiddling. Dell is trying to create a computer where everything just works — Linux without the tedious process of getting all your hardware humming perfectly.
And I’m happy to say that Dell has pulled it off. Out of the box, Ubuntu 12.04 does indeed just work. In fact, everything just works — trackpad, keyboard backlight, function keys and all the other little bits that sometimes require extra tweaks,