Dell's 'Sputnik' Ubuntu Linux ultrabook: First in a new line?

Testers are asking for a 'big brother version' of the company's new 'XPS 13, Developer Edition,' Dell says.

By Katherine Noyes, PC World |  Hardware, Dell, Linux

Linux fans may recall the excitement that greeted the launch of Dell's "Project Sputnik" earlier this year.

Made possible through an internal skunkworks effort, the project aimed to create an Ubuntu-preloaded laptop targeting developers, in particular, with what Dell has called a "client to cloud" solution.

By midsummer, Dell said the associated beta program was exceeding expectations, and today the resulting ultrabook officially launched in the U.S. and Canada.

I spoke earlier this week with Barton George, director of the Web vertical at Dell, along with Michael Cote, its director of cloud strategy, about Dell's strategy and goals for the new release.

Deploying to the cloud

First, some specs: Dubbed the XPS 13, Developer Edition, the new device sports an i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB memory. Pricing is $1,549, which includes a year of professional support. International availability will be extended early next year, Dell says.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" is the operating system, of course, and on the software side it's accompanied by a basic set of drivers, tools, and utilities along with the cloud launcher and profile tool that have been a big part of the project's focus all along.

"The idea behind the profile tool is to provide access to a library of community-created profiles on GitHub, such as Ruby and Android, to quickly set up your development environments and tool chains," George explained. The cloud launcher, meanwhile, lets developers create "microclouds" on their laptop, simulating an at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.

Both tools were also recently launched on GitHub. The video below provides a brief introduction to the new machine.

'As open as possible'

Since the launch of the Sputnik project, Dell's goals have stayed essentially the same, though a few tactics have changed, George told me.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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