My current writing laptop is an old, first run Intel MacBook. The track pad button is dying and so is the screen. I don’t have very long to search for and replace it with a new laptop. Luckily, I’ve started writing my files to Dropbox; so I shouldn’t lose any data when the HDD crashes.
My search for a replacement laptop has been on for many months now. I keep going back and forth between a MacBook Air and a Windows laptop that I can wipe and run Linux on. The only viable reason for me to go with the MacBook is that I really love using Scrivener. Linux support for that application is pretty much non-existent. I’ve never been an Apple fan and my dislike of Microsoft is legendary. Meanwhile, nothing has given me more pure joy in the past ten years than using Linux.
This weekend I ran across an interesting article while Googling for Linux compatible ultrabooks. Apparently Dell has started a black ops project (now in the white world) with the objective of getting Linux developers to use their laptops, specifically the new XPS 13 ultrabook. The project is known as Sputnik and it involves hardware manufacturers and of course Canonical, who make Ubuntu Linux. You can follow the blog of Barton George the Sputnik leader. Here is a short interview with Barton.
It’s a little odd that they picked an ultrabook to showcase as a developer platform, I think future versions of Sputnik will run on more robust laptops. I love that they did start on the XPS 13, because that’s the type of laptop I was looking to purchase. It’s good to know that Ubuntu 12.04, or at least their image of it, works fine with all the hardware on that laptop. Including the touch pad as of a week ago.
I still have not made up my mind, but as of today, I’m leaning heavily towards the Dell XPS 13 for my next writing laptop. You can check out reviews of this laptop everywhere, but two of the best are here and here.
As for not being able to use Scrivener, well you know, life existed before that program. I don’t really need the hand holding it offers writers. Let’s face it, I use Linux. I’m not going to whimper about much when it comes to software. I’ll probably use a combination of Focus Writer, Open Office and Sigil to get the job done. At this point, I’m really looking forward to using Linux full time again.
You must create a USB boot disc with the Sputnik ISO. Here is a program to assist with that. Also, Ubuntu has a forum dedicated to Dell installations. The later entries have some information about the Sputnik ISO.