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Dell Designing Developer Oriented Laptop

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the dude-you-got-a-webscale-laptop dept.

Ubuntu 399

jones_supa writes "Barton George, director of marketing for Dell's Web vertical reveals information about 'Project Sputnik', a laptop tailored for developer needs in web companies. 'We want to find ways to make the developer experience as powerful and simple as possible. And what better way to do that than beginning with a laptop that is both highly mobile and extremely stylish, running the 12.04 LTS release of Ubuntu Linux,' George ponders. He also gives a quick list of packages that the default installation could include. The machine will base on the XPS13, assessing a couple of its main hardware deficiencies along the way." According to the article, this is a "6 month project to investigate an Ubuntu laptop. If successful, we have big plans for the effort." It's unclear how closely they are working with upstream, but there's mention of Canonical as a commercial partner so this may mean Dell is working to ensure some of their hardware Just Works (tm) with Ubuntu. The software side is so far just a customized install with developer tools preinstalled. Ars remains skeptical about Dell's strategy for GNU/Linux support, which may be warranted given their track record.

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Resolution (5, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#39941441)

The one thing that they (Dell) and pretty much everyone else are missing is a decent screen resolution. 1366x768 and 1440x900 just don't cut it for development. They're barely useable for browsing.

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941515)

Ok, let's see 8 cores 3Ghz or better, 16GB ram dual 1920x1080 screens, 500GB of RAID-1 SSD storage and a 12-hour battery life. Weight under 20 lbs. Price - $3000. Can it be done?

Re:Resolution (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#39941543)

Maybe not on a 13" XPS, but my 15" 1920x1080 Latitude does me just fine.

Re:Resolution (2)

Abalamahalamatandra (639919) | about 2 years ago | (#39941749)

Me as well. I just got a "new" laptop, a Latitude e6510, from the Dell Outlet. It has a 15" 1920x1080 screen and I'm very happy indeed. I would have bought a new e6520, but some idiot at Dell decided people want 15" laptops with a numeric keypad, which made it nearly two inches wider than the e6510 with the same screen size.

I think this system would be much more suited to developers than the XPS 13 - it's very rugged and not very heavy, not all THAT much bigger than the XPS, and has a modular bay that you can put a second hard drive in if you want.

Battery life is somewhat of a con, though - mine has a quad-core i7 and gets maybe 2.5 hours running Ubuntu 12.04 with the standard six-cell battery. But I run on power 95% of the time and it's a small price to pay for all this power, the thing is a speed demon to me after using my XPS M1330 for four years.

Re:Resolution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941547)

Absolutely this.

Re:Resolution (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | about 2 years ago | (#39941551)

Eh? I regularly browse on a 1024x768 netbook without difficulty. Seems to me that the web pages you are browsing don't scale too well.

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941725)

1024x600 here... browsing is not a problem. Eye strain is!

Re:Resolution (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#39942081)

Resolution isn't a problem as any decent browser can seamlessly scale stuff. It's mostly about screen proportions, and you just happen to have the best (barely) available one for about any kind of work other than watching cinema movies. I'd take a 4x3 (or 3x4!) screen of a shitty resolution over something 16x10 or worse.

Certain extensions, and a good deal of programs other than browsers fail to obey size scaling settings, though, so resolution is still nice to have (besides less eyestrain). It's almost always about vertical resolution though, again.

Re:Resolution (5, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#39941601)

I agree with this. Also, most of the other important developer friendly things would be in the hardware, not the software. Many developers are likely to wipe the thing and start over from scratch anyway. Important things for developers are good screen resolution. Standard keyboard layout. this includes ensuring that function keys (F1-F12) always act as function keys, and also that pgup ins and the like are located in an easy to reach place Depending on the developer, you might be better off dropping the numeric pad so that you can fit the pgup/arrow keys in the correct arrangement. Also of importance is plenty of USB ports to hook up additional hardware without a hub, as well as outputs for a couple different kinds of monitors HDMI/DVI and possibly VGA. Developers don't care about what packages are included by default, because they can install whatever they want after the fact. The things they can't change later, like hardware, are the things to focus on.

Re:Resolution (1)

mrops (927562) | about 2 years ago | (#39942147)

I would like to see a xeon based laptop to be honest. and give me cores, there is no such thing as too many cores when compiling code. i would love to cut my build time from 20 min to 2 min if possible.

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39942175)

Absolutely! The two things that would make a great development laptop in my opinion are a 15"+ 16x10 (resolution less important than aspect ratio) screen and a standard keyboard layout with arrow and home/end group instead of a numpad. The fact that nobody seems to be able to supply that should be embarrassing.

Re:Resolution (3, Interesting)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#39941707)

Let's get through the list what I need from a development laptop: screen size, high resolution, good color representation and the option to hook up at least a secondary monitor.
Other than that? Speed? Mostly irrelevant though being quiet would be nice. Mobility? Must not be to big or to heavy to carry around in a normal messenger bag or backpack. Disk size and ram? Standard issue. OS? Whatever suits your fancy and provides the tools for the job. Style? Of course we like to have cool machines, but is it needed - No. Battery life? Somewhat but for serious work one needs a desk anyway.

Re:Resolution (5, Insightful)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#39941735)

Oups forgot one: Non reflective screen surface, just in case your office has a window.

Re:Resolution (4, Interesting)

ranton (36917) | about 2 years ago | (#39941805)

Absolutely true. I cannot believe that Apple is the only company still making a 1200 vertical resolution screen. It's annoying having to spend $2700 on the only decent laptop that still exists.

Re:Resolution (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#39942183)

Absolutely true. I cannot believe that Apple is the only company still making a 1200 vertical resolution screen. It's annoying having to spend $2700 on the only decent laptop that still exists.

I'm pretty sure Dell sells laptops that do 1920x1200 as well, it may not be as a standard feature like Apple, but definitely available as an option.

Anyhow, there must be some way to cobble something together with say, an iPad. iPad runs an app that just turns it into a screen (2048x1536), while the keyboard part has the standard PC bits.

Re:Resolution (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#39941843)

366x768 and 1440x900 just don't cut it for development.

Sure they do.

If you're on a 13" screen, then pushing much beyond 1440x900 starts to give awfully tiny text at the smallest decently readable font size. Of course I'd jump at the chance of such a panel, but I find 1920x1080 to be comfortable on a 17" laptop, and would probably be OK on a 15" one.

If you're constrained by screen space, get a good quality folding editor and a decent window manager which can switch quickly and efficiently between a lot of virtual screens.

Developing on a small screen is always going to be harder than on a desktop with lots of space, but pumping up the DPI isn't necessarily the solution.

That said...

If I had the option of paying a few hundred extra bucks to get a 1920x1080 (since this seems to be the standard now) panel on a 13" or even 11" laptop, of course I'd jump at the chance!

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39942129)

What does resolution have to do with font size? The new iPad has a 9" screen at 2048x1536, nobody complains that it's hard to read. The fact that we don't have panels like this in laptops is shameful.

Re:Resolution (4, Insightful)

mepperpint (790350) | about 2 years ago | (#39941911)

Agreed! The display is very important. I do not understand why the other commenters seems to be asking for a 1920x1080 display. This wide screen is good for watching movies, but crap for development work. I need more verticle screen real estate so that I can see a larger block of code at once. Verticle space is far more valuable than horizontal. I would gladly take a 1600x1200 display over a 1920x1080. If they really want to be innovative, they'll put a 1920x1200 display on the laptop along with a feature where it can be rotated vertical to give me 1200x1920. That's what I do on my desktop and it works great. Duplicate it on my laptop and I'll finally be able to use it for work purposes.

Re:Resolution (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 years ago | (#39941955)

I'm in an Emacs terminal session with 80 columns and 30 lines.
When I'm feeling foppish, I turn on syntax highlighting.
It's about keeping the pimp hand strong, man.

Re:Resolution (5, Insightful)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 2 years ago | (#39941989)

In particular for development, I personally find the 4:3 screens better than the widescreen ones. And that is one of mine biggest complains with the modern laptops as development goes. I want to see more lines of the source code on the screen. In the end one buys 24" external display - sufficiently tall to fit more lines of code - only to waste 20-30% of the screen space on the sides.

They should introduce something like "tall screen." And if keyboard is OK, I might even consider buying it.

Re:Resolution (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#39942017)

I wouldn't say that's the only thing, but I remember having laptops with better than 900 vertical resolution, and I'd love to see that again.

Aside from that
* Options for both low power (energy) and high power (performance) processors - obviously you won't get either at the same time, but an option for whichever would fit your needs best, would be nice.
* Options for either a simple-low-power-integrated GPU, or a high performance (ATI/nVidia) card. Many developers won't need the latter, many will.
* Space for lots of memory (usually not an issue these days)
* Space for at least two drives (useful for performance, data safety, etc.)
* Lots of battery life - maybe a dual battery system. Done force lightest-weight-possible on everyone - some of us only need portable, not mobile, computing, and see an 8-12lb notebook as only mildly annoying, well worth the extra battery life that can be put into that weight.

I guess it comes down to - the most important thing for notebooks, is flexibility in what your models offer - there's a wide variety of dev work to be done out there.

Re:Resolution (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#39942053)

Honestly, I can't tell the diference between those resolutions on such a tiny screen (suposing DPI is properly configure so that font size remains constant). I can't really tell if graphics are smoother or not.
The same would not hold true on a >26" screen, but on a 13" screen, I guess most people don't have such a good eyesight.

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39942073)

I have a Latitude E6510 with a 1920x1080 screen.... what's the issue? Do they not say they will offer this screen with the new "developer" laptops?

6 months to install Linux? (2)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#39941447)

That's not encouraging. I jest of course, that's a reasonable time to ensure a support line for the platform. We'll see how it works out, would be nice to have an OEM doing a Linux system that's more then just installing it and forgetting about it.

ubuntu eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941449)

Real developers won't be keeping that installed. Debian, CentOS, Fedora.... anything but Ubuntu would have been a smart choice.

Re:ubuntu eh? (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 2 years ago | (#39941721)

debian is too much outdated for a brand new laptop, and for the other distros : .rpm? are we stuck in the 90s?

Year of the linux laptop? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941451)

Could 2012 be the year of the linux laptop? And I might not be completely joking here.

Re:Year of the linux laptop? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941507)

No, because it will be junky shit. But then again, when has Linux ever been anything but junky?

Re:Year of the linux laptop? (2)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#39941715)

ignoring the troll part, and also with a response to a comment in a parallel thread.
No this won't be linux on the desktop, mostly because the market segment is still too small. (this is targeting devs, thus a small market).

Someone else said anything but Ubuntu, and I disagree.
I think if Dell goes through with this , it is a good thing. A notebook with all know Linux compatible HW (with working sound even?) would be great. Doesn't matter what distro you put on there, at least the HW is not going to give you fits. Ubuntu is just as good as any other, and I'd argue that it's better for this application. If a Linux newbie buys this at least they won't be dead in the water because they don't know how to use apt or yum.

Re:Year of the linux laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941511)

From the summary it's obviously the Summer of George on the desktop.

Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941481)


I was told here on Slashdot, by a Brit, that the actual word is orientated. Because that's how they speak it over there and we country bumpkins across the pond can't enunciate correctly.


Re:Language (2)

6031769 (829845) | about 2 years ago | (#39941531)

Indeed. Orient is a noun, orientate is a verb. This is why, among other things, there are orientation sessions but never oriention sessions.

Re:Language (5, Informative)

aethelrick (926305) | about 2 years ago | (#39941799)

They're both correct (as much as a constantly evolving language can be). They were both independently derived from the same French word "orienter" which is a verb as it happens. Orient was first used in the 1700s and Orientate was first used in the 1800s. One was not derived from the other. Pedants begone!

Re:Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39942139)

If I had moderatory points, I would voter for you.:)

Why Ubuntu? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941491)

Until Visual Studio is ported to Linux, I don't see why developers would want to run Ubuntu.

Re:Why Ubuntu? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941523)

Visual Studio is outdated shit for retards.


Re:Why Ubuntu? (2)

knuthin (2255242) | about 2 years ago | (#39941533)


Re:Why Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941567)

Ever tried Cygwin? vim also runs on Windows.

Re:Why Ubuntu? (4, Insightful)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#39941913)

Visual Studio vs VIM is like an aircraft carrier vs the world's greatest compound bow. I'll grant you, it is the best goddamned bow the world has ever seen. A good bowman can take shots a sniper would be hard-pressed to make, and there is a simple joy to using such a powerful and versatile tool. And if you want, you can call it the rustiest piece of shit aircraft carrier that's ever wallowed the seas. But come on. Be real. They're hardly even the same thing.

Here's a thought... (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 2 years ago | (#39941501)

If I am going to be using the laptop outside of a dimly lit room, give me the option of buying a quality matte display. I don't care if it's an extra $200. Just give me the damn option. My comfort and ability to work in public without feeling like I'm staring into a mirror is more important.

Re:Here's a thought... (2)

EnsilZah (575600) | about 2 years ago | (#39942059)

I don't want to sound like a shill but every time I see people complaining about laptop monitor glossiness and resolution I feel the urge to recommend a Thinkpad.
Probably not quite as solid as in the IBM days but still pretty good. (at least the T and W models)

Shovelware (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#39941545)

I'm worried about the shovelware. Will ten antiviruses and junk like that be in a removable ubuntu package or will it be too deeply embedded into the OS to remove?

Re:Shovelware (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#39941823)

I don't think you understand Linux.
No antivirus.
Everything is configurable.
Not like Windows and Mac at all.

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39941561)

Developing on a 13 inch screen...

Re:Laugh (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#39941755)

Developing on a 13 inch screen...

Developing on dual 30" screens is certainly nicer, but it you can't develop on a 13" screen, then you're not terribly effective. I developed good software on a netbook (1024x600), since I was travelling a lot and I valued the light weight (940g for a 20G EEE 900, with the lightest PSU I've ever used) and decent battery life over a big screen.

Once you're all set up with a decent folding editor and plenty of virtual screens, it's a surprisingly good environment.

And don't forget that unless you're flogging the CPU, the backlight is the biggest power draw, which scales with the square of the diagonal length. You simply cannot have a lightweight large screen laptop with a long battery life.

Remember, no matter how awesomely huge your screen space is, development is a bit of a drag if you have to write the code on paper when the battery runs out.

Aw bloody hell... it's based on the XPS series (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941579)

That means the fookin' USB3 ports will never work and Dell will continue to blame the customer for the defect as usual.

Re:Aw bloody hell... it's based on the XPS series (1)

tom17 (659054) | about 2 years ago | (#39941965)

Wait, what? What is this about?

I have an XPS with USB3 ports. I thought they worked OK. I recently got a USB3 disk enclosure and had problems formatting a drive. Ended up doing it in Linux on another machine and put it down to Windows.

I also plugged in someone's stupid USB cigarette (to charge it) and I think it 'blew' my USB port. I keep getting these 'power surge' alerts in Win7 ever since. I am planning on restoring windows soon and then running it through the warranty process.

From what you said, it sounds like I may be in for a shock. Are they generally being arsey about failed hardware now?



Corporate Reverse Engineering (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941589)

Maybe Dell can succeed where legions of open-source developers have failed: to twist the arm of hardware developers to release the source of their drivers so we can FINALLY use our computers with Linux without ages of pointless driver and configuration file tweaking!

developer tools preinstalled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941591)

You lost me at:

The software side is so far just a customized install with developer tools preinstalled.

They dropped it from their website? (3, Interesting)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#39941597)

http://www.dell.com/ca/business/p/laptops?~ck=mn#!facets=16260~0~195640&p=1 [dell.com]

Could have surprised me. My laptop is the predecessor to that model, the Vostro V130n, which came with Ubuntu LTS installed on it. They're still selling them, you just have to look for it. The V130n features a Celeron U3600, 2GB of RAM, 13.3" screen (1366x768), and came originally with a 250GB hard drive. The battery life isn't that great (about 2.5h with the factory configuration), but that's because the battery is very small (slightly less than the volume of a CD jewel case). I was able to increase the battery life to 4h by swapping the hard drive with an Intel 320-series SSD. 3.2lbs with the stock configuration, and slightly lighter than that with the hard drive swapped. Total cost (including the hard drive replacement) was under $500. If they can price this ultraportable under $1000 like they're doing with the XPS 13, I would seriously consider it when it comes time to replace my current laptop. (though that'll probably be a few years, it's plenty powerful enough for everything I throw at it).

It's nice that they're doing this, and more power to them, but it's misleading to claim that they aren't supporting Linux, when you can, today, buy a reasonably nice system with Ubuntu preinstalled on it.

Probably just as much market positioning (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#39941609)

The software side is so far just a customized install with developer tools preinstalled. Ars remains skeptical about Dell's strategy for GNU/Linux support, which may be warranted given their track record.

Call it a "developer laptop" and you've probably scared away 99% of the market, the 99% Dell doesn't want. The ones who think it'll be like Windows or run Windows software or work with all accessories they have on their old PC. The people interested in Linux will know hey it's just an Ubuntu install with a few preloads, the important thing is the hardware is supported under Linux. To me it sounds good, to make it profitable it's just as much about not selling to the wrong people as selling to the right people. Support and returns will very quickly kill your margins.

Re:Probably just as much market positioning (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#39941887)

well, maybe they should call it a 'professional' laptop and sell it to businesses - like the majority of their sales.

if it comes installed with everything you'd want, I doubt anyone would wipe it and start over, there comes a point where you just don't want to play with these things, you want to get work done. If they get a Linux install working (and that really means sorting all the driver issues like power management, and all the cheapest components Dell has a tendency to put in there from version to version) then it might well be a very good idea.

Besides, knowing Dell, it'll still have Windows as an option.

Re:Probably just as much market positioning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39942091)

Call it a "developer laptop" and you've probably scared away 99% of the market, the 99% Dell doesn't want. The ones who think it'll be like Windows or run Windows software...

You mean like - oh, I don't know - Windows developers?

proof Linux is not ready yet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941639)

If this OS is ready for the main stream how come we are needing to have boxes built to make it so "it just works"

Re:proof Linux is not ready yet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941815)

The same can be said for Windows--ever install it on a machine where the NIC driver wasn't included? Pretty awesome when you get to spend hours tracking down drivers on another machine.

Is OSX ready for main stream? Apple makes it so the only way you can legally run it is on a box built so that "it just works." Hackintosh machines need a lot of hacking to get them running right, and forget about updates.

Sounds cool, but (2)

Danzigism (881294) | about 2 years ago | (#39941643)

It's almost as if they're just throwing the word "developer" in there just to make it seem like a different machine. I will admit it definitely peaks my interest and I'd certainly contemplate buying one. But every time I try to code on a laptop, especially web development, I get very frustrated with the lack of a good keyboard and mouse. Not to mention the INSERT key is probably the most important key for me to use and they're always in awkward places unlike your standard desktop keyboard. What also concerns me is the simple longevity problem with laptops. Hard drive crashes (maybe not so much nowadays thanks to SSD) and dead batteries seem to be all too common. Therefore relying on such a machine to get your work done is hard to do. I know people make due just fine, but for me personally it will take a lot convincing.

The metrosexual web designer cliche' (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#39941671)

I find significant dissonance with their two statements:

"ways to make the developer experience as powerful and simple as possible" and
"what better way to do that than beginning with a laptop that is both highly mobile and extremely stylish"

I was unaware that web designers did most of their work "in the field" away from modern conveniences like desks and dual monitors. I am also surprised that "stylish" is equated with "powerful and simple".

By the look of their press release, I'd say they are trying to convert all of the metrosexual Apple users to Dell brand users with shiny and an OSX-esque GUI. Function and capability don't appear to play into the equation much.

Re:The metrosexual web designer cliche' (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 2 years ago | (#39941737)

By the look of their press release, I'd say they are trying to convert all of the metrosexual Apple users to Dell brand users with shiny and an OSX-esque GUI. Function and capability don't appear to play into the equation much.


Re:The metrosexual web designer cliche' (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | about 2 years ago | (#39941891)

But ... But it's going to be stylish!

I'd just be happy if the laptop didn't need a power converter that's bigger than a hardback novel. Seriously Dell it's getting out of hand,

Bring back 4x3 screen ratio: more vertical screen (5, Insightful)

billmil (59216) | about 2 years ago | (#39941683)

As a developer, I need more vertical screen space: looking at code, looking at debuggers, editing long files.

I have two monitors at work: an ld 19" and 23". The 23" has less vertical screen space than the 19".

More vetical screen real estate would make a laptop more dev friendly

Re:Bring back 4x3 screen ratio: more vertical scre (2)

Partaolas (1926386) | about 2 years ago | (#39941779)

Turn it to the side...

Kidding of course, hard to do it with a laptop anyways, but while I was working on a long report recently I decided to rotate my 19" monitor and it was great.

My laptop has a 12" 4x3 screen and I find it much better than the 13-14" wide screen ones.

Re:Bring back 4x3 screen ratio: more vertical scre (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941927)

Actually, when I read "developer laptop" I immediately imagined a portrait-oriented laptop wide enough for insert/delete cluster and the numpad. It would be quite a behemoth. Alas, nothing that radical is offered.

Re:Bring back 4x3 screen ratio: more vertical scre (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#39942045)

16x10 is the best resolution, especially now the docks of your window managers are finding their way to the side (where they used to be, decades ago).

Ubuntu as a development platform. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941703)

Well, I'm glad to hear they are at least waiting 6 months before putting anything into the market. It'll take that time for any and all bugs pertaining to Ubuntu 12.04 to be cleared up, I'm sure.

I want to say Ubuntu would be a terrible platform for development, but I've found that despite its rapidly changing environment its often been the easiest to configure solely from the repositories. I'd be interested if they don't preinstall tons of unnecessary crap and the drivers it comes with are solid.

Question (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#39941783)

How is this any different then selling a normal notebook and letting the developer run one apt-get to install all the developer tools?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941923)

They charge more. That's how.

6 Months... (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | about 2 years ago | (#39941859)

Is not long enough. We use our laptops for 3 (or more) years. Every 3 (2 if I beg) I can have a new one.

I expect that I can have one of these in 2 years (having just gone through a replacement). Been pushing for an Apple laptop, anyway...

hermes bags (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941865)

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It's not the software, it's the hardware (5, Insightful)

rjlouro (651989) | about 2 years ago | (#39941903)

Developers have no problems hacking their favorite environment, linux, windows, whatever. It's the hardware that counts. Personally I'd like a development laptop that would be:
  • - Very high resolution
  • - 4:3 format
  • - mate screen, enough of that bright crap
  • - Powerfull CPU and RAM
  • - No internal DVD drive, swap that for an additional HD or Battery
  • - present that in several options, from 12 to 17 inch. Developers do travel sometimes, and they love to take their gear with them.
  • - a very good keyboard, with decent feedback. IBM M-Type would be great
  • - Button to disable trackpad.
  • - A good docking station to hook up external monitors, keyboard+mouse, etc.
  • - Easily removable everything, battery, ram, HD, etc.

Do that and I buy one.

Re:It's not the software, it's the hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39942123)

4:3 format

They can all do that. Unless the display has a resolution lower than 4 x 3 pixels.

Dell, if you're listening, (1)

Hermanas (1665329) | about 2 years ago | (#39941961)

This is a great idea, and I'd definitely support it if it materializes, even though I bought a new laptop just last week. Just make sure it has a *matt* display, decent screen-size (so I can do both development and design) and decent resolution. And at least 4GB of memory, but preferably 8GB (having tons of tabs and browsers open tends to eat memory). The rest, like graphics card and battery life, I'm not extremely bothered about. But give me this laptop, without the need to pay for Windows and keep it on in order to not void the warranty, and you'll have more than enough customers lining up.

Know your customers (3, Funny)

CaseyB (1105) | about 2 years ago | (#39941963)

We want to find ways to make the developer experience as powerful and simple as possible [...] extremely stylish

Failed, right out of the gate.

developer laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39941983)

Laptops suck for development. The only thing that makes them suck less is a top notch keyboard.

Keyboard and screen (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | about 2 years ago | (#39941985)

I want standard US keyboard layout with only one thing written on each key, I want high resolution screen (130 DPI and over). I can't buy a PC laptop because none of them have good keyboard and every key has 5 things written on it and for some reason in Canada ALL keyboards have stupid layout where left shift key is split and \ placed next to z. All keys programmers use all the time like brackets, semicolon etc keys are at non-standard locations. Enter key is split and weirdly shaped. I pretty much have to buy Mac and then install whatever OS I want on it just because PC hardware is getting hideously unusable.

A developer oriented laptop with a user-friendly O (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#39942001)

Really, why does having a user-friendly OS make a laptop developer-friendly?
I think both things are generally mutually exclusive.

Re:A developer oriented laptop with a user-friendl (1)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | about 2 years ago | (#39942133)

because for the most part, worrying about the desktop leads to you wasting time from your primary activity, developing, instead you end up fixing the graphics, installing nvidia drivers, message around with config files wondering why your x desktop is broken, can't play music, uninstall pulseaudio, etc, etc.

having a desktop which is out of the box preconfigured and running means you can do your job and not waste time on stuff you shouldn't normally care about, or should I dare to say it, bother thinking about.

No VGA out, no dock, no multi-head support (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#39942021)

I almost purchased an XPS a couple months ago but wanted to run multiple monitors. Dell said they don't have a docking station for it so all you get is HDMI. Yeah.... no. I opted instead to build a micro-atx system. Not as portable but I've got dual heads, tons of ram, SSD, 8 cores, 4 VGA Outs, and a water cooled CPU. All for about the same price. If Dell would have offered dual head support through a docking station I probably would have been sold but kind of glad they don't now.

Dell has supported Linux for over a Decade (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | about 2 years ago | (#39942025)

Dell has been supporting Linux on servers for well over 10 years. You've always been free to install Linux on your laptop- just don't expect to get (consumer level/any) support.

The hardware cost is just a fraction of what you pay. In a previous life, when I worked at a little company in Round Rock, TX that rhymes with hell, testing took up the vast majority of development effort, and every additional OS added to that test effort/cost. If/when the analysis says it can make a profit that is similar to the other lines of business, that path is taken.

Sorry to break the bad news (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#39942035)

...but a developer machine is a desktop.

External keyboard, individual to the devs taste of ergonomical. Two monitors, one for IDE/debugger, one for running/reference lookup.
Preloading any developper tools is pointless, as you will need the ones in use in your company.

Excellent idea, but why did it have to be Dell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39942043)

Over the years I participated in purchase of a few laptops from Dell -- all of them had defects. Starting from m600 a few years back, where internal mic did not work, through the last one , which was bought from Dell against my advice, came DOA, got returned, and Dell refused to refund purchase tax.

So, good product idea, but I am not lining up with my wallet.

No touchpad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39942085)

Replace the touchpad with a trackball (or at least let me disable the touchpad entirely when I plug in a USB trackball).

Widescreen IPS display (1)

sprior (249994) | about 2 years ago | (#39942125)

Widescreen IPS display with at least 1200 pixel vertical resolution or it didn't happen...

And Windows devs can go suck eggs. (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#39942157)

That appears to be the underlying message, but wait, what's that on Monster.com? Aren't most well paying developer jobs for, dare I say it, "Windows?"

FYI, I made my Window laptop adequate for development. I put in 16GB of DDR3 RAM and run two or three dedicated virtual machines to which I can quickly switch via the magic of "Alt-TAB." It's reasonably fast and the VMs act as different desktops. The new laptop and memory came in under $600.

Thanks Dell, but I'll keep my HP.

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