Project Sputnik to go from Pilot to Product


A couple of weeks ago we announced a Beta program for the four-month old Project Sputnik — an effort to investigate creating a developer focused laptop based on Ubuntu and Dell’s XPS13 laptop.

Since the beta announcement we have received thousands of applications from around the world.  This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received on the Project Sputnik storm session, has convinced us to take this project from pilot to product.

This fall we will be offering an Ubuntu 12.04LTS-based laptop pre-loaded on Dell’s XPS13 laptop.

Going from skunk works to mainstream

Back in the Spring, project Sputnik was the first effort green-lighted by an internal incubation program at Dell.  Thanks to the incubation program we got a little bit of funding and some executive advisers.  This incubation program notwithstanding, project Sputnik  has been a pretty scrappy skunk works effort to date.

The idea behind the incubation program is to harness that scrappiness and inventiveness to explore & validate new ideas & products outside mainstream Dell processes. Thanks to the tremendous amount of support both outside (you, the community!) and inside Dell,  with today’s announcement, we will begin making our transition to an official, “mainstream” Dell product.

  I should also mention, if its not obvious, that we have not been doing the work alone. Canonical  has been “scrappin” right besides us, helping to drive the project and doing a ton of engineering on the software side.

Beta program

As I mentioned at the start we have been completely blown away by the number of applications we have received.  We’re currently working through logistics of how to handle the tons of applications, we’ll notify all applicants soon, and intend to keep that process and the future product aligned with the spirit of the program.

To make sure that we are listening to your ideas, please continue to post any thoughts about what you would like to see in a developer laptop on our Storm session.   If you have an XPS13 running Ubuntu and want to share your experience or report a bug or issue, see our forum on Dell Tech center.

For more information on the program see the Project Sputnik FAQ

Thanks everyone for all the interest and passion, stay tuned as we push forward!

Reference: current solution details

Hardware

The solution is based on the high-end configuration of the Dell XPS13 laptop.

Software

Available now

  • drivers/patches for Hardware enablement
  • basic offering of key tools and utilities

Coming soon

  • Profile tool: a software management tool to go out to a github repository to pull down various developer profiles e.g. javascript, ruby, android.
  • Cloud tool: will allow developers to create “microclouds” on their laptops, simulating a proper, at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.

Extra-credit reading

  • Press release: Dell Demonstrates Commitment to Open Source Software, Developer Communities
  • Dell Tech Center: Sputnik wiki
  • PC World — Dell’s Ubuntu‬ Laptop Program Enters Beta, ‘Blows Away’ Expectations
  • Initial thoughts on Project Sputnik from O’Reilly’s Mike Hendrickson
  • Transcript from last week’s Sputnik chat on Tech Center

Pau for now…

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39 Responses to Project Sputnik to go from Pilot to Product

  1. You sure sound excited, but where is this community?

    I’ve attended many developer events in the past few months with my #XPS13 and have yet to see another.

    One guy told me this is the laptop many analysts were given.

  2. AG says:

    Sounds excellent, perfect timing too…

  3. ratfink says:

    Ah it’s OEM contract negotiation time again? It’s nice to know that every 5 years dell will offer Linux products.

  4. sami says:

    Will this come available also in europe?

  5. [...] we have received thousands of applications from around the world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received on [...]

  6. [...] we have received thousands of applications from around the world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received on [...]

  7. [...] we have received thousands of applications from around the world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received on [...]

  8. [...] we have received thousands of applications from around the world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received on [...]

  9. [...] we have received thousands of applications from around the world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received on [...]

  10. [...] we have received thousands of applications from around the world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received on [...]

  11. Callum says:

    thanks for the hard work and I’m excited about this. I’m still using the XPS M1330N and 1325N (the last Linux Dell notebooks) and they’re both working really well but a refresh with faster cpu etc would be welcome!

    The main advantage I’m excited is that there will be (another) certified hardware build so that I know that any recent distro will find all the hardware etc and *just work*.

    and yeah, I know I could buy a Windows one just now and wipe it – but that’s not the point. This is a work machine, not a toy, so I prefer the guarantee to be in place that everything will work.

  12. [...] we have received thousands of applications from around the world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received [...]

  13. [...] Ultrabook running Ubuntu came out of Project Sputnik, which was publicised a few weeks ago and saw various Dell employees evaluate the market potential [...]

  14. [...] Dell анонсировала перевод экспериментального проекта Sputnik в разряд [...]

  15. [...] portfolio later this year, one that’s based on an open source developer notebook serving its Project Sputnik pilot program. That laptop is a Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS [...]

  16. [...] portfolio later this year, one that’s based on an open source developer notebook serving its Project Sputnik pilot program. That laptop is a Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS [...]

  17. [...] we have received thousands of applications from around the world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This tremendous response, on top of fantastic amount of input we have received [...]

  18. Erlantz says:

    Great news!!! I’ll definitely buy it (when i earn enough money :P). Will the project be updated to 12.10 (and future updates) or will it remain on the 12.04 version until the next LTS?

  19. [...] Dell анонсировала перевод экспериментального проекта Sputnik в разряд [...]

  20. [...] we have perceived thousands of applications from around a world,” George wrote in a new blog post on Wednesday. “This extensive response, on tip of illusory volume of submit we have perceived on [...]

  21. BrunoSpy says:

    Keep up the goog work !
    I bought a XPS 13, installed an Arch and compiled drivers and patches : it’s awesome :)
    I’m know wiating for the inclusion of these patches in the mainline kernel and it will be perfect !

  22. Maja Haloway says:

    Check out Barton’s YouTube video on Sputnik, recorded at OSCON this week http://youtu.be/n7o6CLtggXg

  23. Miro says:

    Another Arch linux user here :)

    With the patches everything works very well! There is only one thing not working though – any idea if the Intel’s WIDI (wireless display) will get some linux drivers soon?

  24. You have an error in the “Storm session” link url — remove the “http://” from the end.

  25. [...] portfolio later this year, one that’s based on an open source developer notebook serving its Project Sputnik pilot program. That laptop is a Dell XPS 13with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS [...]

  26. wallinbl says:

    Sounds great, but you’ve got to get the screen resolution up to 1600×900 at least. 1366×768 is simply insufficient.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Stop wasting time with custom software, I’m not going to use it. Produce decent hardware please. Screen res + battery life = developer laptop.

  28. [...] (maybe you follow him?), and has been keeping everyone up to date as we took project Sputnik from a pilot to product in less than six months. Michael Coté is another one of our favorite innovative thinkers [...]

  29. [...] (maybe you follow him?), and has been keeping everyone up to date as we took project Sputnik from a pilot to product in less than six months. Michael Coté is another one of our favorite innovative thinkers [...]

  30. [...] From the start, the idea was to conduct project Sputnik out in the open, soliciting and leveraging direct input from developers via our Project Sputnik StormSession, comments on this blog, threads on the Sputnik tech center forum as well as the project Sputnik beta program.  In fact it was the tremendous interest in the beta program that convinced us to take Project Sputnik from pilot to product. [...]

  31. [...] the second day we announced that project Sputnik would be going from project to product in the fall and got a fantastic response [...]

  32. [...] apologize for the radio silence since OSCON.   Since announcing that we would be delivering a product this fall, our little team has been working hard to get us locked and loaded on the roadmap.  We [...]

  33. […] portfolio later this year, one that’s based on an open source developer notebook serving its Project Sputnik pilot program. That laptop is a Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS […]

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