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Dell XPS 13: The best Linux laptop of 2018


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We do have some fans here of Linux and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols a ZDNET tech writer specializing in  Linux, occasionally branches out like when he bought one the first Windows tablets, the sleek HP X2 and found a deal to buy his, which he shared and I got mine way back in Jan 2013. I do read Linux tech pieces, but when SJVN recommends a new piece of hardware he's tried, I read it regardless of OS. This one looks pretty sweet for the Penguin heads in the crowd.


" Do you want the best of the best Linux laptop this holiday season and price is no object? If that's you, then you want the Ubuntu Linux-powered Dell's XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop.

Usually, when I get review hardware in, it's not a big deal. It's like working in a candy shop. At first, it seems great ("All the candy I can eat!"). Then, you quickly get sick of dealing with the extra equipment.

But, every now and again, I get a really fine machine, like Dell's latest XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop. And I get excited again.

There's this persistent fake news story that you can't buy a computer with Linux pre-installed on it. It's nonsense. Dell has been selling Ubuntu-Linux powered computers since 2007. What's also true is that, Dell, like Linux-specific desktop companies such as System76, sells high-end systems like its Precision mobile workstations. At the top end of Dell's Ubuntu Linux line, you'll find the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptops.

What makes it a "Developer Edition" besides the top-of-the-line hardware is its software configuration. Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, and Dell worked together to certify Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the XPS 13 9370. This worked flawlessly on my review system.

Now, Ubuntu runs without a hitch on almost any PC, but the XPS 13 was the first one I'd seen that comes with the option to automatically install the Canonical Livepatch Service. This Ubuntu Advantage Support package automatically installs critical kernel patches in such a way you won't need to reboot your system. With new Spectre and Meltdown bugs still appearing, you can count on more critical updates coming down the road."

The full article with related links and specs is here: https://www.zdnet.com/article/dell-xps-13-the-best-linux-laptop-of-2018/?promo=404&tag=nl.e404.em&ttag=e404&s_cid=e404&ftag=CAD-04-10aag0g&cval=cnet-nl-zd&regId=MjA2NDA1NjI0MTM4ODQzODU4MTc4MDc0NzE1ODEwMzE%3D&bhid=20640562413884385817807471581031

Yes, since Linux computers, like Apple since 2006, use the Intel x86 chipsets and boards designed in 1978 for PCDOS and MSDOS then Windows long before Apple gave up on their Power PC Chip, and Linux was even "A Thing." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86 All of them are subject to both the new Spectre and Meltdown bugs (link above). Linux development started and it was being used in mainstream applications by 1999 - https://livinginternet.com/i/iw_unix_gnulinux.htm


Edited by RV_
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The XPS 13 is fairly heavy for a 13" laptop, since Costco sells the Windows version for $1600 or so.  Even heavier than my Dell Inspiron 13 5000, which I use for trips, and way heavier than my wife's LG gram 13, which she uses for trips.  But these are all Windows laptops.   

I am running Linux (Mint) on an older 15" laptop with an i5.  The Linux laptop gets updates almost every day, but only rarely does it get kernel patches.  

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I am going to try Linux Cinnamon/Mint again and will try the same but on a desktop. I have the Mint 18 disks I ordered for 32 bit and 64 bit systems a few years back. Does Mint automatically update to newer versions or do I meed to download the newest numbered version regularly?

I bought the lifetime Malwarebytes licenses for 5 systems that still are updating the versions and extras for premium and ask first but the original disks were for XP!

I'd like a Linux with that kind of support with no further cost after buying in or downloading.

I do want a desktop like Windows and that's why I like that version of Mint. Does it support touch tablets? I've my old Venue 11 Pro full HD 10.6" is not being used.

My i7 Surface Pro 8GB 256GB has been replaced twice by in warranty repair and again they sent me a defective unit so I am getting very good at resetting and building Windows 10 units. I am back to syncing two desktops for data preservation and an image monthly. I make sparing use of One Drive, and am backing away from FaceCrook more lately. Like here I am less online and more RW to get my stuff sold and packed. We actually have about 1/5 of our stuff packed.

Use my rvroadie email if you need to reach me other than text or call. The other goes away when we move.


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Mint releases are supported for 5 years.  Interim updates, such as 18.0 -> 18.1 -> 18.2 -> 18.3 are very easy to install.  I recommend a clean install between version number (ie 18.3 -> 19.0).  If you prefer to install once and upgrade indefinitely, you may want to try a rolling release distribution such as Arch, Manjaro, or SuSE Tumbleweed. 

I currently have a mix of Linux versions installed.  Most have Mint 19.0 (soon to be 19.1) or 18.3 installed.  A couple of machines are running Mint Debian Edition 3 (Cindy), MX linux, or pure Debian. 

One nice thing about Linux is that you can try different distributions until you find the one you like best.

Safe Travels...

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