Sputnik update: Profile tool and touchpad


I’ve meant to blog more frequently around Sputnik but it’s been crazy busy marshalling resources within Dell for our little skunk works project.

We have captured a lot attention within the company and are trying to leverage that attention to help beef up our core team.  One of the areas outside the company we have gotten a great deal of support from is Canonical, the commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu.

Here are a couple of the areas we’ve been working on with Canonical:

The Touchpad

Probably the area we’ve gotten the most amount of inquiries into is the status of the driver being written for the touchpad to allow multi-touch support.  Last week Dell and Canonical received two code drops from the vendor and they are looking very good.  Its only a matter of time now before we have driver in the XPS enablement PPA.  Stay tuned.

Update June 21: the driver for the touchpad is now available!

The Profile tool

Over the last couple of weeks we had a series of calls with folks from Canonical to scope out the effort around the profile tool.

The basic idea around the tool is that instead of stuffing the system with every possible tool or app a developer could possibly want, we are keeping  the actual “stuff” on the install image  pretty basic.

Instead we are working with Canonical to put together a tool that can go out to a github repository and pull down various developer profiles e.g. Android, Ruby, Javascript…

After our conversations we decided to break the effort into two phases:

Phase I – “System Configuration”:

  • The first phase will focus on installing bundles of packages with a YAML-driven approach. This will allow developers to get installable components of the toolchains they need

Phase II – “User Configuration”:

  • The second phase is focused on automating the configuration of the developer’s toolchain and environment, using a model-driven automation tool like Chef, Puppet etc.
  • The idea would be to create an open community where developers can share these profiles, extend them, etc.
  • We are still figuring out the feasibility of this phase and gauging interest.

We’d be interested in any comments or thoughts you have around the profile tool, or anything else having to do with Sputnik.

I’m hoping to start providing more updates (keep you fingers crossed)

Extra-Credit reading:

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13 Responses to Sputnik update: Profile tool and touchpad

  1. Erico says:

    I for one would really enjoy a machine with preconfigured software/hardware bundles. It saves a lot of time to just pick what you want to develop and have all the necessary tools ready to go in a few clicks.

  2. Dennis says:

    cant wait for the Touchpad driver :)

    Hope we get it fast!

  3. Strad says:

    +1 on waiting (eagerly) for the touchpad driver

  4. Josh says:

    is this going to be like ~/.osx? (I’m not entirely sure what that can do, to be honest), it sounds awesome, whatever it is…

  5. Hardware support is much more important than software bundles. Support all the hardware with no tinkering required! This software profile thing is missing the mark.

  6. I like the idea of the bundles. In the realm of the first phase I would really like something that worked a bit like the homebrew tool for mac. In Ubuntu it’s a bit of a pain to have to add PPA’s to get the latest tools for development. I am a web developer, and don’t need the latest version of Xorg to have my job done, but I do need to be able to tinker with the version of libraries to build some ruby or nodejs extensions and apt-get isn’t the right tool for it.

  7. [...] been working hard to get us locked and loaded on the roadmap.  We have also been focusing on the Profile tool that Canonical has been building for [...]

  8. [...] original idea was to build out the profile tool in two phases: Phase I – “System Configuration” and Phase [...]

  9. [...] Progress with help from Canonical – Barton’s blog post  that discusses The Profile Tool and getting the XPS 13 working with Ubuntu 12.04LTS [...]

  10. [...] original idea was to build out the profile tool in two phases: Phase I – “System Configuration” and Phase [...]

  11. [...] been working hard to get us locked and loaded on the roadmap.  We have also been focusing on the Profile tool that Canonical has been building for [...]

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