The all rounder
What are the basic, lowest-common-denominator tools that you would like to see pre-loaded.
git, because there is no better SCM out there.
gEdit. No, really. I love that text editor! You should also include the github gedit themes.
What profiles are most important to you to be available from Github?
For me, nginX, SQLite, and PHP. PHP 5.4.x takes care of SQLite as it's built in. nginX is a really fast web server software that I use in production. And of course, you'll be providing the linux flavor for me.
PHP 5.4.x, stand alone. Now that it includes a web server built in, I can pretty much start programming after just installing PHP. It includes a web sever, so I don't need to install nginx, it has SQLite baked in by default. It's my whole application layer, in one application. Crazy but true fact, using PHP 5.4.2, with PDO SQLite enabled, running the built in web server, I was using 2.4 MB of system memory.
What do you need in a laptop to do your job, how much memory, how powerful a CPU etc.
In most cases, I don't use that much CPU power when I'm devloping. But I do have some image editing to do, it would be useful to have a pretty fast CPU. Anything from the Sandy Bridge era should work pretty well. But if you can include an Ivy Bridge just for battery life sake, that would be a great option. But that's just me, I'm sure there are a ton of C++ devlopers that would love as many threads as you can give them so it does not take an age to compile their software.
I do use quite a bit of ram when I'm fidding with SQL data. So, obvisouly, the more the better. I can't see anyone complaning about haveing 8GB of ram as the default for this system.
What makes you more productive, what bugs you?
GET OUT OF MY WAY! Don't make me think about why my computer is not working. Because if it's not, then it's useless to me. I'm using it to program, not trouble shoot my linux install.
I really don't want it to have a terrible trackpad. Things like two finger scolling should work right out of the box, SMOOTHLY, or just don't bother. I should never have to think, "Right, I should not do this, because I don't know what the results are going to be" when using the laptop.
1366x768 is EVIL! I very commonaly have two documents open side by side on my computer. One is the text editor that I'm using, and the other might be the manaul. I need more space then that resolution affords me.
What type of support do you need/expect from an offering like this if it becomes mainstream.
Very little, really. Most people that use Linux in the first place don't require that much help.
Just make sure that your drivers work well with the system and we should be golden
Although, if you could open source your drivers, so that they can be pulled down by Ubuntu's update manager, instead of having to handle the 3rd party driver nonsense, that would be much better for everyone.