Tuesday, May 8

Dell Announces 'Project Sputnik', An Ubuntu Laptop for Developers


Dell has announced Project Sputnik, a 6 month research effort to explore the possibility of creating an open source laptop targeted directly at developers.  It is based on Ubuntu 12.04 and Dell XPS13 laptop.

Barton George, Director of Marketing for Dell's Web and Tech vertical, writes about it:

To put it in context, Sputnik is part of an effort by Dell to better understand and serve the needs of developers in Web companies.  We want to finds ways to make the developer experience as powerful and simple as possible.  And what better way to do that than beginning with a laptop that is both highly mobile and extremely stylish, running the 12.04 LTS release of Ubuntu Linux.

Ubuntu Developer Dustin Kirkland got this device to try out. His experience:

And the hardware -- wow!  Aluminum outer shell.  Chiclet back-lit keyboard.  Thin, light, sexy.  At 13", it's the perfect balance between portability and usability.  The accessories and peripherals are simple, but sufficient.  Two USB ports.  A combination mic/headphones jack.  An external display port (dongle required).  And one very slim and trim AC/DC power adapter.  Oh, and there's a little button that you can press and see how much battery you have left.  There's a quad-core i7 with VT. Intel video and wifi.  Bluetooth.  256GB Samsung SSD.  4GB of RAM (I really could have used 8GB, and it's soldered onto the motherboard).  With a 46W-h battery at 7.4V, I'm getting 6+ hours of uptime.

Project Sputnik laptop will come with some basic pre-installed developer tools and will include different developer profiles. For instance if you are Javascript developer, then a Javascript profile will only install needed tools without stuffing the system with all sorts of unneeded utilities.

More information on Project Sputnik can be found here.

If you already have Dell XPS13, a customized Ubuntu 12.04 image for Project Sputnik can be downloaded from here. Please note that at the moment this image is not officially supported and it is available for demo purposes only.

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