It's been over a year now since I last blogged, which is really disappointing. I think I got a lot of good writing done here from 2013-2015, with posts that really stand the test of time, and I'd like to create more of those.
This will not be one of them! But it is the start of me participating in Iron Blogger, which the kind and gentle Paul Tagliamonte has rounded up me and a number of our DC friends to do. So, I will pay a fine not to update my blog each week.
Though it is humbling to be at the point where a monetary penalty is the personal motivator that successfully puts e-pen to e-paper, I have decided to accept this and channel it in the best direction possible.
Today I would like to talk about Linux.
Desktop Linux: still not dead yet
Thanks to a dedicated little team at Dell called Sputnik, it is possible to get a light, beautiful, exquisitely machined laptop that ships with Linux, made with a world-class supply line, solid hardware and specs, and a guarantee that everything will Just Work.
In late 2014, I bought a snappy little thing and, with Paul Tagliamonte's help (sensing a pattern?), installed Debian and documented the hell out of how to do it for those who came after me. I loved that computer to pieces, in fact I loved it too much and I offered it a sip (well, quite a few sips) of the soda I was drinking at the time and then we had to spend some time apart.
So I recently went and checked out the latest from Dell's Sputnik line and got myself a new XPS. It is an outstanding and wonderful little machine:
Though it comes Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, you can install Ubuntu 16.04 or the latest Debian on it just fine. The only hiccup is that mine shipped with a buggy motherboard, but a call to Dell got me quickly in touch with a genuine expert who sent a technician out promptly to replace it. Even the customer support was excellent, better than I expect from a massive global company -- and especially nice to not have the company flick you away with their little finger when they hear that you've installed Linux on the computer they sold you. Because this time, they installed it first themselves!
If you're thinking about a new laptop and have an open mind towards Linux, consider Ubuntu or Debian. Ubuntu is very easy to install, while Debian is more challenging, my Debian instructions from last time got me through very well this time, and I'm in the process of updating them for tiny changes in Debian and the new XPS.
Also there's a gratuitous touch screen! The entire screen is a touch screen, while also sporting a 3200x1800 super high-resolution. It may not be the Year Of Linux On The Desktop, but goddamnit, you can still get a beautiful Linux computer today that runs a true community-built free operating system and it will make you feel very good.