The XPS 13 Developer Edition goes Bionic, Welcome 18.04!

When project Sputnik debuted over five years ago, we launched with one config of our XPS 13 developer edition and it came with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Today, thanks to the interest and support of the community, we are announcing that in the US our seventh generation XPS 13 developer edition now comes with Ubuntu 18.04.  Europe and Canada will soon be following suit.

XPS 13 with 18.04

18.04 represents Project Sputnik’s fourth preloaded LTS as we have progressed from Precise Pangolin (12.04) to Trusty Tahr (14.04) to Xenial Xerus (16.04) and today, Bionic Beaver.

What’s an LTS

In case you’re not familiar with it, LTS stands for “Long Term Support” and a new LTS release comes out every two years.  Ubuntu’s LTS releases are supported and receive updates for five years, versus nine months for the interim releases.  It is the LTS releases that Dell certifies and preloads on our Ubuntu-based systems.

That was then, this is now

Project Sputnik’s first system debuted at the end of November in 2012 and, as mentioned above, it came with Ubuntu 12.04 preloaded.

The HUD small

The HUD in 12.04 — image from

Back then there was only one configuration of the XPS 13 developer edition and it boasted: 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1,280 x 720 display.

On the OS side, Ubuntu 12.04 introduced the HUD “a revolutionary new way of interacting with application menus on the desktop.” 12.04 was also the release when people started to see the value of Ubuntu’s default user interface, Unity.

Fast forward to today

The XPS 13 developer edition is now in its seventh generation with 13 configurations.  The top of the line developer edition comes with 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and a UHD (3,840 x 2,160) display.  The big news of Ubuntu’s 18.04 LTS is the removal of Unity and the return of the GNOME desktop.

There is also a new “Minimum Install” option which excludes extras such as music players, office suites etc.  In its place you get a slimmed down version comprised of GNOME, a web browser, a terminal and basic apps.

Looking forward

Speaking of systems, right around the corner is the new Precision 5530 mobile workstation, developer edition.  Stay tuned

And if we look further on the horizon you can just make out Sputnik’s LTS number five, 20.04 😊


Extra-credit reading

  • Ditching Windows: 2 Weeks With Ubuntu Linux On The Dell XPS 13 – Forbes
  • 5 Reasons You Should Switch From Windows To Linux Right Now – Forbes
  • Dell XPS13 Developer Edition ships with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS pre-installed – Ubuntu blog
  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS: The Linux for AI, clouds, and containers – ZDnet
  • Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you’re on your GNOME – The Register
  • Dell Unveils New Ubuntu Laptops — OMG!UBUNTU!
  • Dell refreshes Precision laptops with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed – ZDnet
  • Dell stuffs Intel Coffee Lake CPUs and Ubuntu into latest Precision workstations – The Inquirer

Pau for now…

35 Responses to The XPS 13 Developer Edition goes Bionic, Welcome 18.04!

  1. […] Barton de Dell acaba de anunciar la certificación de Ubuntu 18.04 LTS para el nuevo modelo de su ultraportátil XPS 13, el cual se […]


  2. d3 says:

    Awesome! 🙂
    Currently not in the market for a laptop, but if I were, this would be it.
    Are all device drivers publicly available? My distro of choice isn’t Ubuntu for example, so that would need to go in favor of another, which would of course be pointless if nothing works because the drivers only exist as blobs for Ubuntu


  3. venemo says:

    Hi Barton,

    Congrats for your release and really glad to see you guys succeed with Project Sputnik. While I’m also a happy user of an XPS 13 9370, I must admit that there are still several issues when running Linux on this machine. These are not deal breakers but stuff that one would expect to “just work”, when the laptop is shipping with Linux.

    My question would be what is the proper place to report such issues and how to help fix them?


    • Hi @Venemo,

      the best place to report issues is at the following link Its a dynamic link and takes you to our contact list and it should adjust based on support available in your region. If it doesn’t, you can select your region in the bottom right corner to update it.

      Out of curiosity, what distro are you using? We officially support Ubuntu and make “best efforts” on other distros.

      I appreciate your interest and support!


      • venemo says:

        Thank you Barton for your kind reply. The stuff I’m talking about is not really dependent on the distro I use, but are common to all of them.

        Current remaining issues are:

        1. Excessive power draw during sleep mode. This is a kernel issue, and is tracked here:
        2. The touchpad can produce “jumps”, which has been discussed many times, even on previous XPS models. This is most likely a firmware issue (or a kernel driver bug).
        3. There is no way to update the SSD firmware on Linux. (At the same time kudos to you guys for providing firmware updates to the BIOS and the Thunderbolt NVM!)
        4. The Bluetooth device sometimes completely disappears after suspend. (You already commented on this on the forum.)

        Most other issues have been solved since I’ve purchased this machine, kudos to your team for that!

        The Arch wiki has a nice writeup of the status of Linux on this machine here: – the material is 99% applicable on other distros too, not just Arch. I personally use Fedora.

        Best regards,


  4. Tom J. says:

    Hi Barton,
    A welcome news! Could you please let us know when this upgrade is implemented in Europe (Germany)?


  5. Andrew M says:

    This looks great. I am ready to buy but I can’t configure the Dell site for more than 8gb RAM. It is my understanding that the RAM is soldered to the board so I would need to be able to select more RAM now. Is that correct?
    Also I am in Australia, presumably I need to get it delivered to a US address if I order from US site? Australia Post offer this as service so that is fine but thought I would check.


    • Hi Andrew are you looking at the US site? I just reconfirmed and there are 16GB options there.
      And as you mention you need to have it sent to a US address. Thanks for the support!!


      • Andrew M says:

        Yes you are correct; I was looking at the US site but specifically wanted the i5 and didn’t think to look at the i7 model. I guess that makes sense if it’s soldered to the board you’d probably have to pick a model and run with it and most people are going to want an i7 with 16+ Gb


      • John says:

        Before this upgrade happened, there was an i5/16 gig model that has gone away. Any idea why it was discontinued? There is a Windows version that has an i5/16 gigs of ram/256 but no corresponding Ubuntu version.


      • Hi John, let me check with the team and get back to you, stay tuned


      • Hi John, here is what i heard back from the team:

        It’s still available. Here’s the order code… Order Code: cax13w10p1c607ubuntus

        Starting configuration for this OC is i5|8gb|256, but the customer has the option to upgrade both memory (from 8gb to 16gb) and the display (from FHD to UHD touch).



  6. danasanis says:

    Pity Dell XPS or Precision developer editions are not available world wide. Last year I got Precision 5520, but had to go with no OS version cause in my region there were no Linux variant. But so happy to hear about new Linux availability on Dell computers. Just wish Kubuntu was chosen, Plasma 5 is so much better user experience… to me at least 🙂 anyway, I am very excited and looking forward for what’s to come next. Linux and Dell is awesome together and hope to continue on using Dell for my Linux OS based workflows.


    • Hi @Danasanis, thanks for the support and kind words!!

      Which country are you in? Its my understanding that the 5520 w/Ubuntu is available worldwide


      • danasanis says:

        Hi Barton!
        Thank you for your reply. My case is Lithuania (small market, I know 🙂 ), but I attempted to order in UK, but at the time, all Linux options were not available anymore. Anyway, I hope marketing teams realize, that Linux users number is greater than stats may show. I believe half of no OS Dell computers are sold to run Linux OS. In so many shops there is either windows pre-loaded or no OS options only.
        I hope Dell continues the support of Linux OS for many years to come. Nowadays it is Dell where I look when I want to upgrade my hardware. And that is because of Linux team at Dell 🙂


  7. G says:

    Great stuff, please keep delivering working hard, us developers really need an alternative to Macs.

    Currently it’s impossible to watch content in HD through Amazon prime. HDCP Content Protection. But anyway these issues need to be resolved. Linux should be the same priority as windows and Mac. How can this be achieved?


  8. Looking forward to the release of the Precision 5530 with Ubuntu 18.04


  9. Sanjeev says:

    any update on when it will be released in india?


  10. cheesedudle says:

    Hi! The work you and the team are doing is very much appreciated, however, you need to emphasize that even though many of the Dell laptops can come preloaded with Linux, this does not make them “developer edition” standard.
    I bought a Dell precision 3530 with Ubuntu 16.04 that did not live up to my expectations as a tested Dell linux machine.
    I was not aware that only the Xps 13 is in fact a Developer edition machine.
    The laptop was eventually returned….


  11. […] see, Dell has been working with Canonical to make great Ubuntu laptops since November 2012. Barton George, Project Sputnik and Linux lead at Dell, said, “When Project Sputnik debuted […]


  12. Jennings says:

    Hi, not sure if we can reinstall the ubuntu 18.04 since I prefer other desktop than gnome ? for instance, I used mate desktop a lot more.


  13. […] see, Dell has been working with Canonical to make great Ubuntu laptops since November 2012. Barton George, Project Sputnik and Linux lead at Dell, said, “When Project Sputnik debuted […]


  14. BJ says:

    So does this mean that we are good to go upgrading a 9370 that came with 16.04?


    • bj says:

      OK, it appeared in update manager. No bench marking, but it seems to be OK. I’ve been begging all year for some kind of clue but it’s clear for some reason, they just will not give us any and I guess that we have to get used to that.
      That said, I’m grateful for the awesome program and 9370 is a great computer. w00t!


  15. […] see, Dell has been working with Canonical to make great Ubuntu laptops since November 2012. Barton George, Project Sputnik and Linux lead at Dell, said, “When Project Sputnik debuted […]


  16. xemly says:

    I’ll purchase the Precision 5530 if you get Ubuntu 18.04 installed on it. Do we have a deal? 😉


  17. stromfeldt says:

    Hello Barton,

    I’m a Canadian in Australia, currently looking for an XPS 13 Developer Edition. As that’s not available for purchase down here I’m wondering if other than blowing money on Windows 10 (which I wouldn’t use at all) if there would be any disadvantage to just picking up a regular XPS 13 and installing Ubuntu 18.04 (actually elementary OS 5.0) on it myself. Are there, for example, any Linux-specific drivers installed on the Developer Edition that I wouldn’t be getting on the regular edition? I’m by no means proficient with Linux, hence my concern (and keenness towards an OS like elementary OS, which works just fine on an old-school Dell I currently have).

    Thanks for any help,


  18. Stefan says:

    How “right around the corner is the new Precision 5530” by now?


  19. Rik C says:

    Hi Barton,

    I am still rocking the 9343 XPS 13 DE. I have been upgrading from 14.04 to 18.04, but due to some problems, I am now considering a clean 18.04 install from the Canonical site. This is mostly because I do not want to go back to factory defaults.

    Is there a list of things (energy settings, drivers) that I would be missing out on, if I do so?

    Thanks in advance and good luck with Project Sputnik!


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