HP has long made Linux available on its laptops, but it was never a high priority for the Silicon Valley giant. For example, if you want a top-of-the-line HP ZBook Studio G8 Mobile Workstation with Ubuntu Linux 20.04 for not quite $4,000, you can get it… in mid-October. System76, a small Linux specialty OEM, can get you a high-quality Lemur Pro 14 without as many bells and whistles for $1,359 with Ubuntu 22.04 or System76's own take on Ubuntu, Pop!_OS 22.04, by early June.
You'd think these two wouldn't have much in common. You'd be wrong. We now know HP and System76 have joined forces to release a new developer laptop, the HP Dev One, later this year for only $1,099.
A Linux laptop designed just for developers, where have we heard this before? Oh, that's right! From Dell with its XPS 13 Linux Developer Edition. For a decade, Dell has offered this Ubuntu Linux-powered laptop for open-source programmers. Soon, Dell will have some competition.
The HP Dev One comes ready for action with an 8-Core AMD Ryzen 7 PRO processor. That's backed up with 16GBs fast DDR4. To store your local data, it will come with 1TB fast PCIe NVMe M.2 storage.
For graphics, you'll get a 14" diagonal Full High Definition (FHD1920x1080P) anti-glare display. This screen will be driven by an AMD Radeon Graphics chipset.
Pop!_OS, despite the odd name, is an extremely well-regarded Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. It's noted for its stability and its own interesting take on the GNOME desktop, the Computer Operating System Main Interface Components (COSMIC).
The core change that COSMIC brings to the Linux desktop is its Launcher. It uses the SuperKey, which gets its own marked key on the HP Dev One. Launcher enables you to easily pick from your open apps or type an app name to open something new, and it makes selecting from multiple windows of the same app much easier.
As you cycle through the open apps, Launcher displays a translucent square that represents where the app is on your desktop and how large its window is. If you're running many applications at once -- and what developer isn't -- it makes it much easier to find the window you need when you want it with no trouble. It's a good feature that I hope other Linux desktops adopt.
Put it all together, and the HP/System76 sounds like one sweet system. And for $1,099 it's coming at one sweet price.