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Finally thinking of replacing my old Sony Vaio Pro 11. It has worked fine for almost three years, but there are better laptops out there now..

Since I build kernels on this thing, it needs to be a real Core i5 or i7, but my target weight is still around 1kg/2lbs. And I want a real keyboard, not some kind of silly convertible tablet.

I'm ok with 8GB/256GB of RAM/SSD. I've lived with 4GB when on the road for several years, I don't want to do that any more, but I also don't need huge amounts of RAM. I compile the kernel, I don't run big VM's or other odd things.

I've looked at the Asus UX305UA, and it looks almost perfect, except the QHD+ panel seems to be impossible to actually buy. And while a backlit keyboard isn't an absolute must, it is very much in the "good to have" category (unlike, say, a touchscreen, which is a complete waste of money for me).

The XPS13 always comes up, but Dell continues to destroy that laptop with the stupid "Dell Wireless", which is just a nasty OEM Broadcom solution. Yes, I'm aware of the developer edition, and yes, I'm aware that I can just fix it by switching out the wireless card myself.

But the developer edition doesn't actually have - or it is very well hidden - the "add to cart" on Dell.com (which negates the whole "look, Dell is a good guy, buy it!" argument) , and the "but you can switch it out" argument still doesn't fix the fact that I feel bad about buying crap. Sue me.

Dell, please get rid of the crappy "DW" wireless entirely. Or at least allow me to pick a good replacement at build time. Because as-is, your laptop choices look just nasty.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 still looks fairly good, but there are definitely quality assurance concerns when looking at all the reviews.

Suggestions? But please, keep the weight issue and the CPU requirements in mind - they aren't negotiable. If it's even a hair over 3lbs or has a Core-m CPU in it, just shut up about it and don't look like a fool. Ok?

Update: if you search for "xps13" and "linux" on dell.com, you get the old Developer Edition one. Which they don't sell any more. Changing the search terms to "ubuntu" instead of "linux" gets you the new one that they sell.

And on the xps13 page, the developer edition doesn't show up at all, because it's apparently a whole different SKU. Lovely. Anyway, I did finally find where Dell actually sells it, but for a while I thought they had stopped it entirely.
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144 comments
 
HP spectre x360 ?
Ended with it and it has been a great device for me (even if there is the touchscreen you don't need/like) I found every other thing you mentioned in it.
 
Very happy with my XPS developer edition. Seems like avoiding it because of a navigation issue on the website is a bit self defeating. Dell has semi-great service too. They replaced a motherboard on-site basically just on my insistence.
 
Check that the Asus doesn't have the ssd solded on the motherboard. Mine has and it broken
 
The spectre x360 is intriguing due to the OLED screen. But it's actually over 3lbs according to everything I can find.

The OLED screen might be the one thing that would make me accept the added weight, so I'm not going to call you names for not following the rules. But ..
 
I currently use a Lenovo x250s that is great. It has an i7-5600u (yes, low voltage but scales to 3.2), 16gb of ram, and 512gb ssd. This model was replaced with the x260s that has a newer cpu but is the same form factor. The small screen is the only hold up but it is still 1080p. I have done kernel builds and a lot of other Dev work using it. I even made it from Chicago to Tokyo on a single charge while coding. If you want bigger, the 4xx series is just as good, but 1lbs heavier for a full mobile cpu and larger screen.

*note: flight to Tokyo was a single charge with the internal 3 cell and the larger removable 6 cell. With screen brightness down and not going crazy with vm's or large compiles had me at about 14.5 hours usage with 35% battery still left on the flight. 
 
a 3 years old laptop is old? my 10 years old macbook (mostly running BunsenLabs) is still alive and kicking! :D
 
Does it need to be Windows or would you consider a Mac as well? ;)

[In all seriousness - I can't recommend my current laptop, a Lenovo T450s as the mobile internet has been quite flaky, especially when on a train - the T440s was much better. In any case, thoses ones would be too heavy for your requirements anyway.]
 
/sub

I'd all but decided on the XPS, but also interested in alternatives.
 
+Michael Dietrich I used to like the Apple hardware, and had two Macbook Air's over the years. Obviously running Linux.

However, the mac laptops have actually fallen behind the windows ones these days, and Apple actually tends to do even worse than Dell in the wireless department (ie crappy Broadcom OEM wireless that can't even be replaced and has even been some custom Apple-only version).

So Apple used to be good back when the PC laptop makers didn't do any reasonable thin-and-light computers. But it's no longer really worth even looking at.
 
I've been using a Samsung ATIV book 9 plus. Beautiful little machine, but they need to release a proper refresh. i5, 4gb ram just isn't enough to backup the high density screen.
 
Just watch out for laptops with ALPS GlidePoint touchpads, which is featured in a lot of quality laptops like the Lenovo and Dell brands. They aren't supported well in Linux at all. There's issues like the horizontal sensitivity being super high and the vertical sensitivity being super low, or the left mouse button not working when using the touchpad. Takes a heck of a lot if tinkering with Synaptic to get it halfway working.
 
Have you considered talking to system76? I know that they are a Ubuntu camp, but surely they would love to hook you up with a fedora laptop.
 
Christ people.

I'm deleting and blocking people who suggest 4lbs+ "gaming" laptops.

If you can't read, don't bother replying.
 
+Linus Torvalds universal unit system person here, sorry for not following the Lbs stuff... But it really is lightweight (and the foldable thing is really nice for a gimmick) the only thing I would prefer Dell for is the service which has been a Pita everywhere else for me (in Germany)
 
I could have sworn they made a light weight laptop.... Oh well
 
Surface Book i7 w/ 16gb RAM and 512GB SSD. This is thing is a beast, super lightweight, a looong battery and enough horse power to do anything you want.
 
I must be missing something here: Why are you talking about switching Wifi cards? The latest XPS 13 Developer Edition has a Intel Wifi (8260) and not the Dell Wireless stuff that's in the regular XPS 13.
 
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s? Ok it's 14'' but it weights «only» 1.3 Kg. Not sure about the NVMe support.
 
What about the HP spectre Pro 13? Light weight and a good successor to the Vaio pro 11/13 series. I am currently using a Vaio pro 13 for 3 years now and I am also searching for a good follow-up and the HP spectre pro is the only one coming close to the weight of my Sony (900 grams).
 
Schenker S306 slim may be an alternative, intel wifi, 13" full hd, 1.4kg, wide range of config possible. 
(Could be a problem, only de/uk Keyboard) 
 
+Linus Torvalds I have two systems I picked up for Platform Driver X86 work that have been mentioned above and I think meet your criteria. The Skylake Dell XPS13 Developer edition (not sure what's up with the buy it link, but I didn't have any trouble), the other is a Thinkpad X1 Carbon (G3). Both I7, both lightweight (X1 is bigger, but also lighter, the Dell is very dense and has a metal case). The X1 screen is nicer in my opinon, matte, slightly larger which is better for the high resolution IMHO. Both 16GB RAM, both have 1TB NVMe. I haven't got as far into testing them as I'd like, both have some suspend/resume issues. Wireless works on both. Both currently running F23 and have no significant user data on them. Happy to lend them both to you for a weekend if you want to poke at them. Ping me on Hangouts or email me if you want me to meet you someplace.
 
...not to mention it's difficult to trust either Dell or Lenovo after their root cert shenanigans
 
(oh, and both have backlit keyboards)
 
so using coreboot on most Thinkpads is a great way to secure the laptop. There is some success with coreboot on the latest X1 Carbon now.

 
Have a look at the german seller Tuxedo. They have the infinity book, which is quite a nice peace of hardware. It is something like the macbook air, but has a penguin as the super key! 😁 I'm running arch on it, and because it is build of common intel components, it just runs out of the box. 
 
I believe that even with the wifi problems, the XPS 13 is still the best notebook. I have been using it for a year with Mint 18 on it now. It is a pleasure to use that little thing. It's tiny and good looking. The carbon fiber is so nice to the touch. The laptop is simply brilliant.
 
I have the YOGA 900-13ISK in use since beginning of the year. My version is solid and I did not have any issues so far. Can only recommend it, even though it had Windows preinstalled. But that was fixed easily.
 
+Joe Philipps​ Root cert issues from Lenovo side only affected consumer edition equipment. Thinkpad equipment is a separate division. Not a great excuse I know, but still relevant. I'd suggest an X1 Carbon, P40 or X260 depending on screen size. Their Thinkpad Yoga's are pretty awesome too but probably not required. +Linus Torvalds​ you could ask a Lenovo partner for a Combat kit demo? Includes the X1 Carbon Yoga, T460, X260 Yoga and (non-applicable) tablets. Gives a nice overview of the hardware in one go?
 
+Darren Hart I am somewhat nervous about the X1, because the first-gen Lenovo X1 (what, five years ago?) looked really nice on paper, but was bulky and had a nasty screen. It ended up literally my least favorite laptop ever.

Your description makes me wonder if I should give it a second look. But now that I actually was able to figure out the Dell xps13 buying choices, I'm leaning towards that. I've never heard any other complaints about the XPS13 outside of the wireless thing on the regular versions.
 
+Linus Torvalds What I also like about the XPS 13 is that it was really buggy a year ago, but with BIOS and driver updates, there's no real issues any more.
 
+Linus Torvalds  The G3 X1 is a vast improvement. The screen is quite nice for our kind of work (photo geeks might not like it as much), and they fixed that absurd keyboard on the G1. I personally find the XPS13 just a bit small for that resolution (and Linux Desktops are pretty terrible about HDPI support, which makes it worse) and I really don't like gloss screens. On the other hand, the Dell just feels more solid while the X1 has more flex than I like. Dell has fewer ports and USB Type-C, Thinkpad has Mini DP, HDMI, and an annoying OneLink+specialty connector you can use for RJ45 Ethernet and other things. Thinkpad has the love-it/hate-it red eraser pointer thingie and physical mouse buttons. Both Trackpads are pretty good as Trackpads go. Offer stands if you want to see them in person.
 
Made a "ghetto dev XPS" by getting the 9350 8GB/128GB/FHD (I like matte panels and compatibility with lo-dpi external monitors, sue me) and swapping the wireless card for an Intel 8260. Life is peachy (including support for the WD15 USB-C dock if THE ENTIRE STACK is up to date - that's kernel 4.6+, BIOS 1.4.4, and the WD15 firmware update)
 
I gave up on light and easy to carry, a real Quad core i7 that is screaming fast is only in the gaming or workstation class stuff.. and that is 4-6 pounds. worth every pound of weight. I'd carry around 10 pound laptop if I could buy a 8 core Xeon.
 
I own that Asus and it is a very fine machine. The mouse pad is comfortably big and placed at the center, a lot like a Macbook, keyboard lighting works out of the box, the touchscreen works but I don't use it. The only minor bad thing about it is that you do see a hint of where the lcd screen backlighting is placed on the sides when playing dark videos, but you don't notice that usually.

Linux, Fedora, installs fine except for that if you get SSDs only - which I did, 8GB/256GB - they'll probably have two SSDs in some weird chained RAID setup. (It isn't RAID, it just makes two disks pretend to be one disk.) If you ignore partitioning warnings it works, or at least, it has worked for me for the last several years.

Linux works great and the machine with SSDs is utterly silent but I haven't done big (kernel) compiles on it. The fans only kick in when gaming, which I hardly do.

Strike that comment - they updated the XPS line. Looks like you'll get a better screen. I really love my Asus but the XPS seems to be a far newer model.
 
Damn. The XPS13 comes in gold too these days. But not the Developer Edition. Snif.

I mean, "Ehh, it's for a friend".
 
Would it be dumb to mention the Chromebook Pixel (LS)?
Can install a full Linux Distro on it (I read). 
 
+Steve Adams The Pixel is actually too bulky and heavy for me. I did use it the first-gen pixel as a laptop for a while, and loved the screen, but disliked the weight and angularity of it.
 
Any decent OEM with its head exposed to daylight would pay you to create a Linus Torvalds Edition to your specs, and many would get in line to buy a copy.

 
+Linus Torvalds don't forget the keyboard layout, especially when changing vendors. I'm still struggling with my Lenovo, even after several years of using it after an HP notebook.
 
I'd say clevo resellers. System76 for USA or mysn for eu 
 
+Claude Champagne GNOME on Wayland has touchpad gestures. You might be able to get Dell to swap it out before sending, they were incredibly helpful when I got my laptop off their website. The laptop I wanted was no longer available, but talking to customer support I got an amazing unlisted deal.
 
+Stanislav Sinyagin If the problem is the location of the Fn and Ctrl keys, you can swap them in the BIOS. Similarly, you can swap the F1-F12 keys, which are usually accessed using Fn with the other functions of those keys (volume, brightness, etc).
 
Have you looked at System 76?  They have some very nice Laptops preloaded with Ubuntu.
 
Lenovo T440P - Have one and love it. But its not cheap.
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I'm really happy with the specs and weight of my Lenovo ThinkPad T440s: Core i7, 12GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and backlit keyboard. Oh! And it works perfectly with Fedora 24.
 
+Linus Torvalds I'm also on the look out for a dedicated Linux laptop again. After having used the MacBook 12" for some time now PC laptops makes me cry though (bulk, poor screens). So far the XPS 13 has been the only alternative that I can see myself living with - even though I'd have to replace the damn wireless chip, which has annoyed me enough not to buy it yet.
 
Why not get a Respects Your Freedom certified Thinkpad refurb from Libiquity or the Ministry of Freedom? If you are OK with 8GB of RAM, you can get an X200 or a T400. You might consider the processor a little old and slow and the screen sucks, but think of all the fun you can have with a free software firmware. Good keyboard, Trackpoint, no nasty little touchpad, good weight, runs cool enough to sit in your lap, I love my X200.

https://shop.libiquity.com/product/taurinus-x200
https://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/respects-your-freedom
 
In our company we have three xps 13 9333 (all with intel wireless, 2 linux, 1 windows) and a new xps 15 (windows, 32 gb ram).
At the beginning the wireless didn't worked, stopped every few hours, etc... But I contacted ubuntu and intel and they fix the wireless issues with the beacons. Now the linux version works better than the windows one. But my phone has a better (coverage) wireless connection than the laptop, grrrrr

For me there are two main problems with the xps13:
-the limited memory, i would like to have 16gb. Yes, vms...
-the touchpad of the 9333 version is not perfect, the right button is so dificult to make it work properly.

The weight is just perfect, the screen is very good and it is touchscreen. Also the keyboard feels very nice, just the backlight can be better.
At the end, we are very happy with these machines.

An yes, the dell web page is... Imagine buying it from spain..
 
I guess with the recent TPM policy leaks, a surface pro could be considered. I love the hardware.
I wasn't that adventurous though and bought a XPS. I'm quite happy with that.
But I think i will still go to dbrand.com to make it mine.
 
Lenovo X1 Carbon. Light, great display, excellent keyboard, durable, Skylake processor. I have the Yoga, and absolutely love it. Not exactly cheap, but the best laptop I ever had, and an absolute joy to use!
 
durability is really a key aspect to consider, since most manufacturers uses to sadly bet a lot on planned obsolescence (that so called “light bulb conspiracy”) - +Povl Kvols how long do you expect it to last?
Wout B
 
Intel Wireless is crappy too…
 
I wonder whether notebooks really became that much better over the years. It's been i3/i5/i7 for quite a while now. Wouldn't it make more sense to wait for a completely new generation? I'm actually just curious what the expected benefits are from the current situation.
 
+Paulo Silva  my old laptop is the now 5½ years old little Lenovo X201 Tablet (with the tilt swivel touch/digitizer display). It still runs pretty OK, keyboard is excellent, touch and pen works perfectly, the small display hinge has had had no problems whatsoever. SSD is worn down though, but so far no failure. It is however too small for my current assignment. Display a bit low res by current standards, and 8 GB RAM 128 GB SSD - well... Still a pretty damn fast machine despite being this old!
 
We got a fourth generation X1 Carbon some months ago and it's great. It's super light, powerful and the high resolution screen is beautiful. It worked well with the latest Debian Testing and Gnome etc handles the high DPI just fine. I would buy it again — find a shop and check out the weight and build quality when have it in your hand.
 
Dell Latitude e7240 or newer one e7250. I have one with i7-4600U, 256G SSD and 16G of RAM, works like a charm. Currently on Fedora 24.

 
+Linus Torvalds​, it seems that it is Dell US that seems to be impossible. On Dell NO (norway) it links to the dev edition from the Xps page. have not checked if it comes up if searching linux on the site. The regional sites sometimes outclasses the US page. believe this is due to they are having most of their sale over the counter compared to here that web is the dominating form of electronic sale.
 
+Daniele Conventi would be great not only communicating - also telling us how fine it behaves in the next years
 
Intel jumped beyond the laptop with a 4" square desktop. Pick a wireless keyboard and mouse, and you are in around less than 2 pounds. Core I5-I7 skylake 6th gen + Iris Graphics 540(w/I5). 2-32gb DDR4 Ram, 4 usb3 ports, M.2 SSD+ 2.5" SDD, drives multiple 4k monitors, Bluetooth 4.1, Intel wireless + antenna(inside), Gigabit LAN, SD card slot. I like to work in portrait mode for text, so the monitor is another consideration. Find a light weight monitor in the market. All is desktop style configurable. The big weight would be a battery/UPS. I have yet to make a road trip, but will report on that soon.
Linus Torvalds... Geez, why aren't they giving you this stuff.
Oh, this is all proudly Linux friendly... says Intel. It works really fine.
 
Have i7 and 32GB.

(And you'll notice that Firefox dies when it has used 4GB and 40 windows + couple of tabs. It does not scale.)

Personally prefer heavier machines, like HP EliteBooks. Weight 4kg+ and even its power weight more than some laptops. But those are workstations no need for additional desktops.
 
Ok, what is the problem with the Broadcom wireless card? No drivera at all? Private drivers? Bad signal range? I just bought a dell xps 13 No Dev Edition and want to install linux mint 18 on it, do i have to fight with the wifi card? 
 
I hesitated to recommend Microsoft but I've switched from a Dell XPS (with Intel WiFi) to a Surface Pro4 and I love the excellent screen (and it's aspect ratio). I've also used the Surface Book at work - it's the first Laptop which can compete with a MBP in terms of quality. If your focus is on weight though I can only suggest to try the Surface 4's keyboard. It's backlit, it has a full (no compromise) layout and it features a really smooth touchpad that easily beats the clumsy Dell XPS'.
Speaking of Linux: the XPS 13 does work out of the box and provides ~9 hours of battery life for light work (programming without compiling, reading, etc).
The Surface needs some work (the webcam and touchscreen do not work out of the box) and offers around 5-5,5 hours of battery life (only 2,5 under heavy load).
Double that for the excellent Surface Book.
Did I mention the stunning screen which seems almost twice as bright as Lenovo's Yoga 900?
 
Razer Blade Stealth? 2.75 lbs, i7, 8gb, QHD (slightly lower res than XPS13 QHD+ if you go for the i7 version)?

Seems a bit cheaper than XPS 13 Developper Ed. I don't know about the user experience on Linux though.
 
No trouble with my recent i7 Yoga purchase-hoping it stays that way. .
 
I have a Lenovo 710s (the i5 one) which is a nice piece of hardware and seem to fulfill your criteria. The only real flaw I found so far is the right shift key: It is shifted by one key to the right in favor of uparrow from the full size arrow keys. 
 
+Ralf ter Veer Do you have to hold a modifier to press an Fx key? I've returned a Logitech keyboard because of that, as having to hold a fourth key for the CTRL-ALT-F1 combo can be challenging...
 
+Linus Torvalds regarding complaints about the XPS13 beyond wifi, +Jon Masters certainly shared a few early on :-) Many of those have been addressed. Andy Lutomirski experienced some issues as well, but we've addressed a few of those already (like hotkey handling). It still has a few ACPI failures reported in dmesg, but I haven't had a chance to classify them all yet. Besides, if you have one, it's sure to get more attention ;-)
 
I feel like +System76​ has a good opportunity to make something for this specific use case. Pretty sure lots of people would be interested in the Linus Torvalds spec. Hell, I'll buy one. +Erich Hoover​, I'll even let you teach me how to use it :)
 
+Darren Hart +Linus Torvalds the experience with the XPS was terrible initially (Dell fall into the same trap as other vendors, paying Canonical to maintain out of tree stuff that should have been upstream already) but it is much nicer now with a 4.7 kernel. Skl graphics are another story (need to switch the X driver manually to modesetting on other than just released Fedora - which does this for all skl - otherwise you'll hang and glitch with the i7 Iris graphics on i915 even if you enable every commandline knob) but also getting better. You won't care about the touchscreen, which is good, because it won't survive suspend/resume reliably even with unloading/reloading the driver in the suspend scripts.

All in all, this XPS 13 has been a disaster from an upstream perspective, but a better disaster than in previous cases from what I have learned. It seems as if 6-9 months after it shipped the next round of distros might work out of the box with an upstream kernel, while Ubuntu fanboys will continue to fail to see the reckless damage in carrying hacked up patches as hardware enablement and just think it's awesome that Ubuntu "works" out of the box. Every distro ought to work out of the box if the platform vendors cared about forcing patches to be upstream before shipping hardware, and made it a blocker. Of course, that is a fanciful pipedream - it won't ever become true because there's nobody compelling them to do this the right way.

My XPS is pretty usable these days. And I like the Dell guys very much personally, so you can also substitute Dell for anyone else with any other laptop in my commentary. It's not just Dell, it's the notion of desktop Linux as a thing that exists with an out of box upstream story on day 1, as opposed to day 201.
 
(We need more people beating vendors up with sticks^W incentives on desktop. On ARM server you're starting to see a wave of people having a come to Jesus moment about upstream because they are being forced behind the scenes with "thou shalt be upstream" rules - which should have been true three years ago, and will now be true for all of the next generation systems due to standing over people...have a big enough stick still to make that work for server this time around, have forced them all to boot with upstream bits landing in 4.8 pre-silicon for all the next gen like it should have been done. We need those commercially shipping desktop stuff to have similarly draconian rules inflicted upon the vendors, because they won't behave sensibly unless forced to do so from above)
 
The last 3 years I've been using Samsung Series 9 (old Sandy Bridge i5 - but they have 2016 version). It is running vanilla Ubuntu, just few tweaks like fn keys remapping and one or two glitches, like you need to manually put it to sleep instead of closing the lid (I don't use sleep anyway). I love it for weight and battery life, quite decent even nowadays, and for great display.
The new 13'' is ridiculously light and they bumped resolution to fhd, so it might be worth considering.
The keyboard does not match thinkpad's and touchpad is not quite like in MacBook, but they still good, imho better than majority.

 
Lenovo X1 Carbon: spec it with i7, 256gbSSD, 8gb--- perfect for a portable dev machine, looks good and light as a feather.
 
+Darren Hart I like the x1 overall, but have to second your screen quality comment, pretty bad for photo editing. Dull colors, but I have the lowers resolution version, not the 2.5k.
 
+Linus Torvalds Interesting anyone talk about MSI. I have an MSI GS70 2 kg (2.5 kg with charger) blazing fast notebook. But MSI has the MSI GS60 GHOST PRO. That's exactly what you asked: real i7. SSD read speed of 2200MB/s... But the wireless card is Bigfoot Killer (I do not know if there are problems, like the ones you reported). Despite the gamer branding I use to render heavy 3D scenes which IMHO can be equated with compiling a kernel, so they are made for heavy work besides they have the backlit keyboard. You can check the price and even customize it on this website: http://www.xoticpc.com/msi-gs70-stealth-pro006-p-8589.html

I hope I have contributed in this eternal search for a device that fits our needs x)
 
+Linus Torvalds​ Get over it, buy a XPS13 and swap the wireless card for an Intel one. I've done it, never looked back ever since. It simply is the go to ultrabook for Linux users.
 
Love my Lenovo x1 carbon, can be configured with everything you're looking for.
 
The largest problem with having an actual Core i5 or i7 is weight. One of the reasons System 79's stuff is so expensive, is that you're paying for the thermal dissipation- TDPs are DOUBLE what the mobile parts are (which is why I "settled" for an i7-5700HQ based laptop...you'd be quite surprised at how 'fast' it actually is...)

I wish you the best of luck on finding what you're looking for Linus...you're sadly going to need it.
 
+Jochen StillerBob He told you, specifically, no "mobile" parts.  A "u" deisgnation device is a dual-core i7 intended for a NUC or an ultrabook.  You pooched it.
 
The best is laptop with last CPU architecture and other hardware feature... I think, this is most important to develop Linux kernel... Other is only a details....
 
+Linus Torvalds​ Lenovo T460s: 14" UHD or FHD screen, up to 1TB NVMe and 24GB RAM with an i5 or i7.
I tell you, that thing rocks.
Just the 2+ GB/s write speed of that NVMe SSD alone, is just amazing.

Oh and did I say it only weights ~1.3kg?
 
Might be worth looking at the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga. It's similar to the carbon as far as footprint and weight but offers a gorgeous OLED screen. The stylus and touch screen are probably a waste for your use case but the hardware is really nice.
 
One thing going for XPS13 is that Dell (rightly) figured that for the developer, the right Control key is a better option than the Menu key.
 
+Linus Torvalds you should try FUJITSU Notebook LIFEBOOK U904, it comes with latest intel processor and it is one of thinnest laptop you can buy, however it comes pre-loaded with WindowsOS. 
 
Except for a few minor annoyances (as evidenced on my wall) due to distribution vendors not having their act QUITE together, my MSI ApachePro GE72 has rocked.

It's about three times the desired weight (you're going to end up with some tradeoffs for the muscle you're asking for Linus...either you do with one of the "U" variants, an HQ near-desktop beast, or a desktop model With each jump up in power profile, the weight goes up to provide adequate cooling for the device) but what it brings to the table is mid-high end desktop power in a 6 pound package. More power, it weighs in at 8-10 pounds, guaranteed.

My desktop machine's twice as fast, CPU-wise, and 5 times as fast GPU-wise; the laptop is still able to play things like Shadow of Mordor at real framerates and build OpenEmbedded build passes in acceptable times and the like.
 
Try out the hp spectre ,it weighs only 1 kg and you can get it with an i7 or i5 .note- It comes with windows, so I hope you have no problem installing linux yourself.
 
Just got Dell Latitude E7470 (running Fedora) and quite happy with it. The only drawback is small arrow buttons and home/end on Fn level.
 
I have skylake, HP G3. You can load good ram and SSDs. I compile on it... It weigs around 1.5kgs with extended battery, lasts a day or so..

Some of them come with touch screen and reflective displays, stay away from them :)
 
+Linus Torvalds​ a review of the new beast once it arrives would be much appreciated. Been dreading replacing the work laptop for two years but I guess it's time and the dev edition looks promising on paper.
 
I would think laptop companies would jump at the opportunity to have you select their product. Contacting a sales/marketing executive could be beneficial to both parties since you can get the features you desire and any public mention of the computer you select would increase sales for them. It's basically a celebrity endorsement and Linux compatibility assurance rolled into one.
 
HP Spectre 13 not the x360. 2.45lbs , real keyboard, and meets other criteria. Do not waste money on the surface, they are not durable at all. 
 
My vote goes for lenovo x1 carbon. I've had 7 thinkpads over the years all running linux, intel hw, great keyboard, good battery life
 
What hardware you buy really kinda depends on what distro you want to run on it.
Philipp
 
why not use a chromebook pixel? (except the storage)
 
+Philipp Kaderavek​ he already said he did use one and it was too bulky. He even made a post about the pixel when he got it. 
 
Fujitsu E744,everything work except fingerprint reader
 
I'm in the same boat with my 2012 era Macbook Pro. Trying to hold out until Apple releases the redesign but it's on its last legs - have the "black screen on boot" and can't seem to fix it even with SMC and PRAM reset. Fortunately if I just close the lid after chime and then open it a minute later the screen comes back on.
 
Happy birthday Linux. Thankyou for your work. You are made an awesome pice of software. I use it everyday for work and study. Thanks a lot.
 
Thanks for all you do for Linux, got tired of coming home every night to fix what my kids downloaded on Windows. Made the switch 15 years ago. Happy Birthday
 
Agreed, would be very nice if Dell could just give you the option of switching to a better wireless for the XPS.
 
+Eivind Furuberg I've got the XPS 13 dev edition 2015 (so last year, the broadwell one, not the current skylake one). I liked it quite a lot with two caveats: the broadcom wireless works only with the proprietary drivers with no AP mode, the audio needs some alsamixer fiddling to work properly bugzilla.kernel.org - Bug 114171 – I2S mode has no internal microphone, speakers and headphones out of the box on broadwell-rt286 (broadwell-audio Dell XPS 13 9343) . No idea if the new one shares either of the two.

Other than that it's a great and pretty though (to mechanical stress) laptop. The palm rest is carbon fiber, very comfortable.
ayo oki
 
The HP EliteBook 1030 G1 if you have not decided yet. 
Neo Liu
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ThinkPad T460s, light, powerful and perfect for running linux.
 
If you really want to be down around 2 lbs then the Samsung Notebook 9 13-inch is pretty unique. And price seems reasonable. It's 0.8 lbs lighter than the lightest XPS 13.

Too bad you're still stuck with only dual core on these "U" CPUs. The XPS 15 is a huge performance upgrade and not too much larger. I don't know of anything else that comes close let alone have the quad core. I suppose the dual core is adequate.

 
I personally have been living in a cave for my exams but I would look at carbon x1, i've heard some good about system76 over the internet, but it's over the internet... sadly I've looked myself and there aren't really good laptops. most of them have problems! but I myself would go with a ux305 and maybe a PC for kernel compiling? I don't do heavy stuff. as I'm still not in college yet most of the things I do is fooling around. 
 
Surface Pro 4. It has a mechanical keyboard
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