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Thursday September 18th 2014

Dell Working On OpenStack-Friendly Ubuntu Laptop for Developers





For years now, Dell Computer has experimented with shipping computers pre-loaded with Ubuntu, and Dell also just announced a long-term Linux-focused agreement with Red Hat. Now, Dell–the world’s number two PC maker–is seeking community input for the design of an Ubuntu-based laptop aimed specifically at developers. The initiative is dubbed Project Sputnik, and is yet another way that Dell remains open to Ubuntu-based computers.

According to the Project Sputnik page:

"Project Sputnik is based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and supports Ubuntu 12.04.  The image will come with the necessary drivers to support the HW along with a very basic set of general developer tools.  Then you can use the included profile management tool to pull down appropriate tools from a github repository [this is currently being developed].  The initial profiles will be for Ruby, Android and JavaScript development."

There is also a blog post with much more information on Project Sputnik, which notes:

"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."

The idea is a very good one. Lots of developers might welcome an Ubuntu-based laptop loaded with the right tools for a very low price. And, the blog post makes clear that the Sputnik computer will eventually spread out to the cloud via the OpenStack platform:

"When we initially pitched Sputnik to Ubuntu’s founder Mark Shuttleworth a couple months ago he really liked the idea.  In his eyes however, he saw something bigger.  Where it got really interesting for him was when this laptop was optimized for DevOps.  In this scenario we would have a common set of tools from client, to test, to production, thereby tying Sputnik via a common tool chain to a cloud backend powered by OpenStack.  Developers could create ‘micro clouds’ locally and then push them to the cloud writ large."

This project is one worth watching, and Dell has set a six-month timeframe for bringing it to fruition.

 

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