Hardware Support > Software Tools
I actually already have an XPS13 and think it's probably the best offering so far. With proper hardware support and drivers this really could be the best Linux development laptop I've seen. I have also already used this with Ubuntu 12.04 and am currently sitting on Windows though the experience is about equal. Here is what I need from this machine in Ubuntu:
1. Full support for touchpad features, mainly:
- Two finger scrolling.
- Four finger access to Unity/Gnome Shell
- Three finger left/right desktop switching (or something like that).
- Really just having support for the hardware.
3. Ocassional GUI freezes. Yeah, very rarely X will simply freeze. I can usually switch to a TTY and restart it but I might as well reboot the machine at that point.
4. If the laptop has an external monitor plugged in and the lid is closed, the laptop will not try to sleep even after disconnecting the external display. This causes some obvious problems.
A lot of people have been saying that they need 8gb of RAM minimum due to Eclipse. I find this to be true when you're concerned about disk access time as Eclipse will thrash a lot if not given a large enough heap. On this machine, however, I don't really mind Eclipse going to the disk as the solid state drive is incredibly fast. In fact, i'm fairly sure I did not adjust Eclipse's heap settings at all and have very little, if any, slowdown. While 8gb of RAM would certainly be a huge improvement, I don't think it's necessary.
In terms of software support, I was able to get my development environment working without issue, I typically use:
- Eclipse (of the SpringSource Tool Suite variety)
- Android SDK
- Google App Engine SDK
- Apache Tomcat 7 (Custom internal build)
There is apparently a bug in 12.04 that prevents it from authenticating to WPA2 Enterprise access points. This is pretty critical and was the final straw in moving to windows: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/wpasupplicant/+bug/969343. Apparently it can be worked around by downgrading OpenSSLbut this isn't really an optimal solution.
Finally, Adobe Flash and it's rediculous behavior when attemping to access the Camera/Mic. It seems that the privacy dialog that comes up when it attempts to access the Camera or Mic does not work in Firefox or Chromium. You simply cannot click the widgets and must kill the tab. This can be worked around by going into the Flash Plugin's privacy settings and explicitly whitelisting the website but this setting is frequently forgotten and is a painful exercise. This bug has been around for a *very* long time.
I recognize that a lot of these issues aren't really Dell's responsibility but they do go a long way to smooth out the user experience and, in some cases, make it actually possible to develop in an enterprise setting.
Lastly, there exists a bug on Windows with the newer Cypress touchpad drivers where the cursor will lock up for a few seconds every so often. This is incredibly irritating and I sincerely hope it doesn't get ported to Linux when it comes time to add hardware support for the touchpad.