Dell’s spiffy Developer Edition notebooks are a product of the company’s “Project Sputnik”, an “open-ended exploratory project to identify what developers wanted in an ideal system”. Unfortunately, despite being widely available in the US and Europe, you can’t get them in Australia (the exception being the Precision 5520). So, why do we miss out?
First of all, why would you want a “Developer Edition” Dell notebook anyway? The main point of difference is the option to preload Ubuntu or Red Hat, with all the necessary drivers installed, saving you the hassle of doing it yourself. This also brings down the price as you’re not paying for Windows.
While not of great benefit to the lone programmer (especially those who enjoy the process of installing their OS themselves), in an enterprise scenario, being able to order high-spec Linux notebooks in bulk with support — and saving a few hundred dollars per unit — is very tempting.
Sadly, the Developer Edition hardware, in particular the XPS 13 model, cannot be purchased in Australia, despite a page on the Dell Australia website apparently showing the opposite.
According to Project Sputnik lead George Barton, the reason you can’t get it is because Dell limits the “number of systems that they can offer” by region — in this case, the DE models don’t make the cut:
I did recently get the list of other countries but they are all within EMEA. I’d love to have the XPS 13 Developer Edition available in Australia but unfortunately there aren’t any plans currently to add it. The way it works at Dell is each region/country has a certain number of systems that they can offer. They decide which ones they think will be most popular with their customers.
Barton mentions “[going] back again to our Australian team and see if they’ve had a change of heart”, but seeing as the comment was made in January with no follow-up, I don’t think he had much luck.
I know, it’s not a great loss, but it’d be nice to have the option.