Q: Anyone using Scriv on a Dell XPS-13 Developer Edition?

I’m looking at http://www.dell.com/uk/business/p/xps-13-linux/pd?refid=xps-13-linux&baynote_bnrank=0&baynote_irrank=1&~ck=dellSearch&isredir=true – an XPS-13 Ultrabook sold with Ubuntu 12.04 preinstalled and fully supported by Dell.

Has anyone tried Scriv on it yet? If so, was it a seamless process, or were there any gotchas during the installation?

(Reason for asking: I’ve been a Mac-only user for years, but am latterly getting just a little uneasy and am keeping an eye on my exit strategy if OSX 10.9 is announced at WWDC in July and turns out to be going in the Wrong Direction.)

I can’t give you any specific comments on the Ultrabook with Ubuntu experience, but if it has Ubuntu preinstalled then I’m very confident you can get Scrivener running on it. How simple a matter it is depends on whether you’re running 32 bit Ubuntu or 64 bit Ubuntu.

If it’s 32 bit Ubuntu it’s just a matter of installing the deb. Boom, you have Scrivener.

If it’s 64 bit Ubuntu the process is a lot more complicated. You can install 32 bit Scrivener on 64 bit Ubuntu but you lose an awful lot of spellcheck functionality, even if you go through the trouble of taking the steps you need to restore spellcheck functionality. Your best bet is to install Wine and run the windows version, or install a 32bit schroot and install Scrivener from within there. It’s pretty stable but you lose some cut and paste interaction and file management becomes a little more complicated.

The 32 bit schroot option gives you the most seamless working experience from within Linux–when it’s fully configured you won’t notice a difference between Scrivener and any other Linux app you run. It’s also a huge pain in the ass to do. I haven’t posted the step by step at this point because I’m still trying to figure out what I did in the last few steps to get everything working.

Another thing to consider is that a lot of PCs are shipping with UEFI or SecureBoot. Make sure that can be switched to legacy BIOS mode, or booting Linux becomes a bit more complicated. I’d google the specific computer you’re looking at and seeing if people were successful running Linux on it, too. While hardware driver support is way better than the 1990’s, some manufacturers like to use proprietary parts.

The Dell in question comes pre-installed with Ubuntu, not Windows. Booting Linux on it is a non-issue as that’s the default OS! (Hence the question.)

You do need to reinstall periodically, like any other computer. It might not be as simple of a procedure, if you’ve got to work around UEFI.

I, personally, would not buy a Dell. When I was doing computer support for an academic department, we’d buy at least 50 a year, and about half would be doorstops by the end of the academic year. (They received light use–word processing, email, web surfing. They were for professors, not lab computers. We used Macs for lab machines, since they could take a beating.) While we had a different agreement with Dell than the average consumer, getting Dell to actually honor the warranty was like pulling teeth.

Well, that’s a head-scratcher. Dell just say “Ubuntu 12.04LTS” on the specifications area of their website. However, it’s a UEFI laptop and is ordinarily sold with Windows 8, so I assume it’s the 64-bit version of Debian. (Not so surprising, as the XPS-13 Devops machine is sold with 8Gb of RAM and is pitched at developers as a platform for deployment prototyping and, presumably, running VMs. It’s only been on the market about 2 months.)

WRT reinstallation: Dell partition the XPS-13 developer edition with an Ubuntu 12.04LTS restore partition, plus all the required drivers, and reinstall-via-UEFI is explicitly supported. They’ve also pushed all the drivers to support it out to the Linux kernel source tree and/or Ubuntu, so future versions of Ubuntu support it out of the box. That’s what makes this particular ultrabook so attractive: you switch it on and it “just works”.

Since it’s preinstalled I don’t think the UEFI issues are going to be a problem. UEFI isn’t a problem in itself, it’s the specific implementation Microsoft requires when you have Windows 8 installed on it that’s a problem. Since Windows 8 isn’t on the laptop there’s no reason to configure UEFI that way.

(Caveat: that’s completely an assumption on my part, but I think it’s a reasonable one)

I agree with 8 megs of ram it’s probably 64 bit, which makes Scrivener install a little trickier unless you’re willing to live with crippled spellcheck.

Is spellcheck the only major issue with 64 bit Linux? (Because if so, I can live with that. Spellcheck for me is a final proofing stage before submission, and the MSs all go through a copy editor’s hands before publication.)

Scrivener for Linux works fine with Ubuntu 12.04LTS 32 and 64 bit (as long as you install ia32-libs). The issue is with spell checking, as mentioned. You will also have no problems running Scrivener for Windows under Wine on that system, although it will require a few easy steps to get moving on.

One alternative is to install Linux on your Mac hardware. Mac hardware is very good, and since they are very popular support for Linux is well researched and complete, even if it usually requires following a guide to get the drivers right. Still easier than a fresh install of Windows. :wink: