Ten years after launching a pioneering combination of Linux preinstalled on a commercial laptop with Project Sputnik, Dell and Canonical announced that the XPS 13 Plus is the first OEM PC certified for Ubuntu 22.04 Long-Term Support (LTS). That makes this a straightforward route to having a PC that just works without worrying about whether or not each component is ready to work with Linux.
Linux-equipped Developer Edition models of the laptop were already available, with prices starting at $1,289.00, but currently ship with the older 20.04 LTS software. Long-term support releases deliver what it says on the tin for ten years of software updates, with the end of standard support for this version scheduled in 2027 and the end of life in 2032. Certified devices are lab tested to check the compatibility of each component, which means your device gets the specific drivers installed that will make all of its features work properly.
That obviously goes for the machines sold as Developer Editions with Linux out of the box but also applies if you’re installing a new OS on a machine that originally shipped with Windows 11. Marketing exec Barton George was one of the people at Dell behind Project Sputnik. In a 2019 interview with Forbes, he explained that the Developer Edition branding is intentional, applied to keep people from accidentally buying a Linux laptop to save a few bucks and getting an unexpected experience. These days Dell ships Ubuntu on many other machines — and other flavors of the XPS line, including its redesigned XPS 13 standard bearer — so it feels unlikely that the certified list will stay this short forever.
According to Dell, if you’d like to have your XPS 13 Plus and its “capacitive touch function row” set up with a hardware-optimized version of 22.04, there are a few ways for that to happen. One is to order a new XPS 13 Plus laptop and wait for it to ship, starting in August. Otherwise, if you’re in a hurry (and back everything up anyway), you can perform a fresh install, and you’ll be good to go. The last option is to wait until August 4th when Ubuntu 22.04.1 is released, as it will flick on the upgrade path for all LTS users so you can do as little work as possible.