In 2007, Dell became the first major computer OEM to sell pre-installed Linux on their computers. Today, Dell continues to support desktop Linux. In its latest move, Dell will be bringing Ubuntu 14.04 to its top-of-the-line Precision M3800 workstation laptop and the latest model of the Dell XPS 13 .
Both systems will be running Ubuntu 14.04 SP1. This is the long-term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu. It will be supported by Ubuntu's parent company Canonical for five years after its release: April 2019.
According to Barton George, Dell's Director of Developer Programs, in a blog posting, programmers had been asking for a bigger, better officially supported Ubuntu Linux developer laptop and that's the Precision M3800 . This came about from a combination of the efforts of Dell software engineer Jared Dominguez and enthusiastic user support.
George stated that the Ubuntu-powered Precision M3800 developer edition's key features are:
- Preloaded Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
- Next generation of the world's thinnest and lightest true 15-inch mobile workstation
- Starting weight of just 4.15lbs (1.88kg) and a form factor that is less than 0.71 inches (18mm) thick
- Fourth generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, professional grade NVIDIA Quadro K1100M graphics, and up to 16GB of memory
- 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) screen option
- Availability: worldwide
That's the good news. The bad news is, as Dominguez explained on his blog, this version of the M3800 doesn't support its built-in Thunderbolt 2 port out of the box. Dominguez wrote,
Because our Ubuntu factory installs only ship Ubuntu LTS releases, we were not able to ship with official Thunderbolt support. However, thanks to the hardware-enablement stack in Ubuntu, starting with upcoming Ubuntu 14.04.2, you will be able to upgrade your kernel to add some Thunderbolt support. We plan to be working with Canonical to re-certify the Precision M3800 with official Thunderbolt support.
Sound good to you? To get the M3800 developer edition, go to the Dell Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation page and choose the system labeled "Fully Customizable" on the far left. The next Ubuntu-powered XPS 13 isn't available yet, when it is, it will list for approximately $50 less than the corresponding windows configuration.