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I already complained on https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11815107 concerning the older edition that it is ludicrous to call a laptop "Developer Edition" that does not even have an ethernet port. It seems Dell makes again the same mistake.

For protocol: For selling a "hipster model" it should better be thin, well-designed etc. For something that targets developers you want

- Ethernet port (ideally 10 GBit/s instead of 1 GBit/s if possible)

- Easily available maintaince manual and easy to open case to replace/extend RAM, replace SSD, clean fan etc.

- Hardware for which open specification is as much available as possible (which is a much stronger condition than "open source drivers on GNU/Linux are available")

- But besides GNU/Linux it also should be able to run Windows (often it is really import to be able to test software on Windows)

- Non-locked UEFI bootloader (including possibility to enable/disable secure boot) with ability add own keys and also remove existing secure boot keys (e.g. Microsoft's one if you really are a FOSS fanboy).

- Ideally possibility to compile UEFI firmware from source code on your own such that as few blobs as possible are compiled in (this probably also implies a necessity that a way exists to reset the UEFI to the factory state if you bricked the UEFI by too much experimenting).

- Long lifetime (5 years +) from purchase for which the device is officially supported by the manufacturer




It appears your definition of Developer is more on the "Open source enthusiasts" (for lack of a better term).

Most developers don't care about their hardware being open source, or maintenance or unlockable UEFI, and they definitely would never compile a UEFI firmware.

Most of them probably can ignore Ethernet in favor of wifi most of the time, and can use a usb-to-ethernet adapter when really needed.

Long life is probably as important to them as it is important to everyone else.

The only real issue I think is being able to run windows, though if you are buying a linux laptop when a windows laptop of the same ilk is available, I'm not sure how much you care.


I personally do care about the open source aspect - not only because I work on open source projects, but because it means I'm not so awfully dependent on the manufacturer. Does the proprietary driver support the kernel version / distribution / whatever you wanna use? No? Bummer. The more the stuff is open, the higher the chance someone will make it work.


Well the announcement has Torvalds as posterboy (quite plausible he compiled UEFI a few times), boasts upstreamed sources for the drivers and the laptop comes with Linux pre-installed. While I generally agree with your sentiment, GPs expectations are not surprising, even if over-optimistic.


Aside from Ethernet, aren't all the other requirements depend on the kind of development you do? For me, if keyboard is convenient and I get enough Ram/CPU/Disk space I don't care how serviceable or moddable it is, I still can do my Java back-end work. The 5 year lifetime is more of a money question, I'd prefer a new system in 3 years.


I think quite many of us developers are happy with not having the thickness of the laptop doubled just to add an ethernet port. You already need to carry a chunky ethernet cable with you, so adding an usb-ethernet dongle isn't that big of a price to pay.


Are there dongles that can do 10, or even 1Gbps?


There are definitely 1Gbps dongles, I bought one at Best Buy for a USB-only laptop I picked up. Now, in hindsight, I'd probably go for integrated Ethernet, but I also do a lot of embedded development for which I'm going to be highly dependent on dongles and hubs anyhow.


Yes, 10 Gbps through a Thunderbolt port.


Not sure about 10, but I have a dongle for my XPS 13 (older version) that can do 1 Gbps.


There are plenty cheap and fast USB3 GbE adapters.


My experience with ethernet dongles is terrible. The biggest problems I have are erratic behavior on wake up. Like 1Gbps switching to 100Mbps, the device taking forever to be recognised when it is not simply not recognised.


Does anybody remember those Ethernet ports that popped out to full size when pressed?? May be due for a return...


Yeah, that's not going to happen any time soon. I think the version you are looking for is "GNU Advocate Edition". Other than the Ethernet port and the camera placement, it seems like an excellent notebook for developers.


Most offices I visit no longer provide RJ45 to the desk. It's all wifi nowadays, which makes sense since you're supposed to get 600+Mbps on a modern access point (which never happens, but that's the sales pitch).

At least the Lenovo Carbon X1 has a dongle for RJ45. Useful when that `docker pull` ends up downloading a 1.5GB container...


Regardless how fast wireless is, wired connections is always faster. It helps for installing the OS, pulling large data sets, etc... Also few USB-ether dongles support pxe boot.


And more stable mostly


To be honest, WiFi stability is a question of architecture and implementation. With the right hardware, and enough of it to avoid the issues associated with APs overload, you can make WiFi very reliable.


If it's a primary development machine then sometimes it's going to need to do some number crunching. It doesn't matter that it's not made for it, sometimes you don't have time to spin up an aws instance.

Some of these times internet access is needed for number crunching. This is when it really comes in hand

That and moving around 30gb backups of numbers you've crunched.


Those must be very small startup offices.

Even moderately sized still have copper to every desk. Latency wins when doing development.


Our office is 200 seats. While getting wired was true in the past new cubicles are going without. We have a few users that request a LAN connection for their hard IP phones.


Would you mind satisfying my curiosity, what part of your development cycle is hindered by not having 10GbE links on your laptop?


Loading and transfering VMs


> Ethernet port (ideally 10 GBit/s instead of 1 GBit/s if possible)

There are several vendors that make thunderbolt network adapters that support 10GbE SFPs. I think supporting this within the laptop would increase the laptop's size significantly. You can even go up to 40 GbE.




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