I just learned that the Dell employee discount, which is offered to employees of numerous Dell partners, does not apply to their N-series laptops, even though many people only have this discount because of their work with Ubuntu.
The irony continues to drip as the models I compared between the employee purchase price and the Ubuntu versions of the same, such as the Inspiron 15 and Inspiron 15n, roughly discounted the added cost of Windows 7 only. It appears that the employee discount equates to free Windows 7.
The current Dell Ubuntu offerings lack in many other areas, such as not offering gigabit ethernet or 802.11n as options. While I would love to support Dell in working with the Ubuntu community more, I really can't justify buying a sub-par laptop at the prices they're offering them at.
My friend Mackenzie showed off her System76 laptop at the 9.10 release party a few weeks ago. All of their laptops include gigabit ethernet, 802.11agn wireless, and many other options Dell doesn't offer. They're a bit more pricey, but according to Mackenzie their service is significantly better.