By now most of us know that Dell has promised to release computers running on Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux. So far it’s been following through with a select few of its machines. Most notably it includes the option to customize with Ubuntu on every netbook the company offers. Dell has now decided to offer Ubuntu on its Studio XPS 13 laptop.
The Linux option isn’t all that surprising — what is surprising is how the machine is handled by Dell. The Studio XPS 13 with Ubuntu cannot be upgraded as fully as the Vista version of the same laptop. It’s limited to a 2.53 GHz processor upgrade from 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, while the Vista machine can go up to 2.66 GHz. The Ubuntu version can only be upgraded to 4 GB of RAM, with the Vista version going all the way up to a possible 8 GB. There’s also the lack of availability of any mobile broadband module or 9-cell battery that the Vista laptop can come equipped with.
It’s more than a bit annoying that Dell sets these limitations on the Ubuntu version. The OS can definitely handle all of those upgrades that Vista can, and can greatly benefit from them. Obviously Ubuntu may not be the most popular choice among Dell customers, but that’s not an excuse to cripple the upgrade options for any Ubuntu-equipped machine compared to a Windows one. It makes more sense to just buy the fully upgraded Vista version, and then replace it with Jaunty Jackalope rather than getting stuck with limited options and Ubuntu 8.10 from Dell.