App Think Tank: The skills and people IT needs most

April 22, 2014

Yesterday I featured the first of three videos that tackle the topic — the skills CIOs and IT need for success.  Today’s video features Ranga Jayaraman, Associate Dean and CIO of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford.

Ranga responds to the question, how would you set up your IT environment today if you had the luxury of starting completely afresh.  With regards to the people and skills he would assemble, Ranga talks about the importance of IT people who understand the business and can act quickly.  He also discusses the difference between developers in an IT shop and those in a product shop and how open source and reusable frameworks have served to make the IT developer much more powerful.  Take a listen.

Ranga’s right

I would say whether your starting from a greenfield environment or improving on your current set up that Ranga is right, you need IT people who understand the business and not just the technology.   Its no longer ok to simply be a tech expert, its about what’s most important for the customer and business and being able to move and adapt quickly.  These messages will continue to crop up as we go through the rest of videos.

These videos were taken from a think tank Dell Services held back in January in Silicon Valley which featured a panel representative of old school and new school companies, big and small.

Still to come

Later this week, I will have the last video on this initial topic, What the CIO of the future must do.  Next weeks’ series will focus on the topic Applications and software strategy and the week after that I will conclude with Cloud and Infrastructure thoughts.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

  • Think Tank Session 1- Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’
  • Think tank Session 2- Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…


24 Hours of Pizza-fueled Innovation

March 7, 2014

RevoltTV

Postponed:  Over the weekend, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to postpone our first hackathon.  Stay tuned for more details.

Im very psyched to announce Dell’s first Hackathon which will be happening next week right here in Austin.

The Dell Center for Entrepreneurs and Dell Software Information Management Solutions are teaming up with music and entertainment television network, Revolt TV  for this 24 hour code-battle.

The event, which will take place at the #DellVenue, kicks off on Monday, March 10th and ends 24 grueling hours later at noon next day.

The Challenge

The task at hand is for the developers to create an app against the Revolt API that is based around Music, Videos, and/or Artists and their data.  Revolt has put together their wish list of apps and functionality they’d love to see created, but sky’s the limit (within 24 hours ;)

Applications that can be used

  • Windows Phone 8
  • Xbox
  • Android
  • Node.js
  • .NET

Databases that can be used

  • MS SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • MongoDB
  • Redis

The competition is limited to 50 developers who can form teams of up to five people.  At noon on March 11th the teams will present their work to a panel of judges and 3 team-finalists will be chosen.  All panelists will receive a badge to the Fader Fort for the preview party that night, with the winning team announced at the event.

The Reward

The top finalists will receive products and swag from Revolt and Dell.

  • The grand prize winning team receives $2,500 and the chance to work with Revolts’ team to integrate their app.
  • XPS13Im also particularly proud to say that each member of the winning team will receive the Ubuntu-based XPS13 developer edition aka Project Sputnik.  But wait, there’s more…all developer finalists get a free 1 year license of Dell Software’s Toad Data Point.  :)

Want in?

If this sounds like something you like to take part in, we are taking the first 50 devs who sign up here.  Who knows, you could be one of Dell’s first ever Hackathon champions.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


“New Age of Apps” Think Tank to be streamed Live

January 21, 2014

On Thursday, January 23 Dell services will be hosting a think tank in Silicon Valley at the venture capital firm NEA.  While hosted in the Bay Area, the event will be streamed live for viewing around the world.

The title of the Think Tank is “The new age of apps and delivery gaps” and we have put together a group of 10 panelist that we feel represents a cross-section of technology and IT today:

  • Barry Libenson-SVP and CIO,  Safeway
  • Jay Ferro – CIO, American Cancer Society
  • Ranga Jayaraman- Associate Dean & CIO,  Stanford GSB
  • Luke Kanies – Founder & CEO, Puppet Labs
  • Alex Salazar – Co-Founder & CEO, Stormpath
  • Alex Williams – Blogger & Journalist, TechCrunch
  • Michael Cote – Research Director, Infrastructure Software at 451 Research
  • Sarah Novotny- Tech Evangelist, NGINX
  • Das Kamhout – IT Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Jimmy Pike – Sr. Fellow and Chief Architect, Dell

I will be acting as the moderator of the panel.

Join in

The event will begin at 9AM Pacific Time, and last for three and a half hours. The event will be divided into two main sessions and we’ll discuss such topics as the influence of application developers, the changing role of the CIO and why firms need to build API strategies  (see the session outlines below for more details)  You can follow and contribute questions and comments via Twitter at #TheAppGap.   Hope you can make it!

Session Outlines

Session 1- Welcome to the application-centric world – best practices in the ‘greenfield’    

The rise of cloud applications force companies to reevaluate their business architectures.  Leveraging new platforms, organizations can operate more efficiently, better engage with customers, and introduce innovative products and services faster than ever before.  In this session we’ll discuss and debate how to effectively leverage the best of today’s advanced (digital) technologies and capitalize on the opportunity for a ‘greenfield’ approach.

*Questions

  1. What would you do different to be ready for the digital age?  Entrepreneurs starting a company today, what are the architecture and design choices you’d recommend?
  2. What plans would you put in place to leverage cloud, big data, mobile and social media?  What would your API strategy be?
  3. How would you plan for growth over a 3-5 year horizon?

Session 2: Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

While CIOs are under pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency, enterprise developers have become the new ‘kingmakers’ leading product development and customer applications.  Our experts will share experiences in managing these complex stakeholder relationships, brainstorm the way out from technical debt and examine the possibilities within existing applications.

*Questions:

  1. How do organizations evolve legacy existing environments to take advantage of emerging trends – what are the breakthrough processes and technologies?
  2. What does the CIO needs to do to re-connect with business leaders and organizational strategies? What roles do CIOs, CTOs, business and developers play?
  3. How do established companies take advantage of the changes that are happening today?   i.e. private/public cloud strategies, apps modernization, leveraging new architectures, API strategies.

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC: Mark Imbriaco of GitHub

January 6, 2014

Here is the first in a series of interviews I conducted in October at DevOps Days NYC.  My first interview is with Mark Imbriaco, ops dude extraordinaire at GitHub who previously ran ops for 37signals, Heroku, and LivingSocial.

GitHub, if you’re not familiar with it is a code hoster that boasts around 5 million users and close to 10 million individual repositories.  Through the magic of its “pull request” feature it has vastly increased participation in open source projects and accelerated innovation.  Listen to Mark and learn more.

Some of the ground Mark covers:

  • How did GitHub rise to prominence and eclipse SourceForge as the developer repository of choice
  • Success Metrics
  • GitHubs architecture
  • What are GitHubs challenges as it moves forward
  • How the “pull request,” the killer app of GitHub, work

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Insight into the technology behind Goldman Sachs

December 17, 2013

Last week I attended the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas.  I went to talk to customers, do booth duty (I talked about the app-centric world and how IT can best respond to it) and check out a few sessions.

The best session I attended was a power-point-free discussion with Don Duet, Co-head of Goldman Sach’s Technology division.  Below are a few of the things that Don talked about and comments he made which I thought were particularly interesting.  It’s not just web companies that are pushing the technology envelope.

Goldman’s Technology

  • Goldman Sachs’ has 36,000 employees, 6,000 of which are developers (10,000 people in tech overall).  They have 30 PB’s of data.  They support their employees with half a million cores.
  • Goldman builds their infrastructure around their applications
  • Goldman’s four Big Bets
    • Commodity computing
    • Software defined everything
    • Drive everything in infrastructure from an application perspective
    • Open Source and Open Standards
  • Don and team do an exercise where they talk about how they would architect Goldman if they were starting fresh today (“Goldman 2.0″)
  • “It’s harder and harder to tell where the business stops and IT begins”
  • “Most of our infrastructure should be able, over time, to migrate to the public cloud (once security gets better)”

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


IDC predicts fierce battle for developers in 2014

December 16, 2013

A couple of weeks ago IDC put out their predictions for 2014, saying “2014 Will Be a Year of Escalation, Consolidation, and Innovation as the Transition to IT’s “3rd Platform” Accelerates.”

The part that really caught my eye was the the second half of the following sentence:

“In 2014, we’ll see every major player make big investments to scale up cloud, mobile, and big data capabilities, and fiercely battle for the hearts and minds of the developers who will create the solutions driving the next two decades of IT spending.” —  Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC

We have entered the app-centric world and companies that don’t seek to understand or serve developers will, at best,  find themselves at a severe disadvantage.

Pau for now…


Whitepaper: Learning from Web Companies to drive Innovation

December 4, 2013

Web-WhitepapercoverToday I finally get to debut a white paper that Michael Cote, now of the 451 Research, and I started quite a while back:

Learning from Web companies to drive Innovation – Embracing DevOps, Scale and Open Source Software

The basic theme of the paper is that Web companies set the agenda for the IT industry and enterprises can benefit by understanding and following their practices

The paper’s key themes:

  • Web companies are characterized by Open Source software and a three-tiered architecture:
    • A scale out infrastructure
    • A data tier that utilizes big data
    • An application tier supported by a proliferation of development languages
  • Developers are kingmakers and must be supported and allowed to innovate
  • DevOps is a key trend that brings developers and operations together to reduce friction and increase velocity

If this looks at all interesting, please check it out.  It should be a quick read and hopefully we’ve written it in away that is accessible to a wide audience.

Extra-credit viewing

Pau for now…


Introducing Sputnik 3 and its unofficial big brother

November 15, 2013

Sputnik3

Sputnik 3

First, a little background.  Nearly a year ago today we launched the first Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.  This Ubuntu-based client-to-cloud platform was the result of an internal skunkworks effort, Project Sputnik.  Thanks to strong community input and support the project became a product.

Within a few months of launching the initial XPS 13 Developer Edition (Sputnik 1), we introduced “Sputnik 2” solving for the biggest issue with the first release, monitor resolution.

Today we are announcing the availability of Sputnik 3, the XPS 13 Developer Edition featuring the 4th generation Intel processors. This laptop, which is touch-enabled, will replace the existing XPS 13 Developer Edition.

ubuntu_black-orange_hexAnd since we’re talking about systems and Ubuntu, in response to the continuous requests for a more powerful version of the Developer Edition, we have taken the first steps by doing some testing on the Precision M3800 and posting the results.

This system news is on the back of our announcement earlier this week about the relaunching of the Profile Tool effort and our request for input from you all.

The Sputnik 3 Product specs are as follows:

  • XPS13-DEProcessor: 4th generation Intel i7
  • Display: 13.3″ Full High Definition touch display (1080p)
  • System memory: 8GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD graphics 4440 (HD 5000 in the case of the enterprise version)
  • Hard drive: 256GB SSD drive
  • Standard Service: 1 year Dell ProSupport and onsite service after remote diagnostics
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Community projects: Cloud launcher and Profile tool (for more info see Tuesday’s update)

Availability of Sputnik 3

Starting today the updated XPS 13 Developer Edition is available in the

Pricing for the system will not increase and will remain $1,549.99

Early next week the Developer Edition will be available in Canada.

For North America, the US and Canada, in addition to the i7 configuration, there will also be an i5/128GB config  that will be available on a build-to-order basis and priced at $1249.99.

By the end of November, the Developer Edition will be available in

[Update 12/20/13: Sputnik 3 now available in Europe]

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Switzerland

Europe – Wave 2:  Available in December

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Sweden

Testing Ubuntu on the Precision M3800 mobile workstation

While the XPS 13 has proven to be very popular with developers, since we started

Dell Precision M3800

Dell Precision M3800

project Sputnik there has been a group in the community that has been asking for a “big brother” for the XPS 13 developer edition, i.e. a system with 16GB of RAM that offered a larger screen and more horsepower.

With the above in mind, when Project Sputnik team member Jared Dominguez learned about the sleek new  Precision M3800 that was coming out, he finagled his way into getting a system to do some testing.

You can find Jared’s detailed results here but the net is “For the most part, everything [he] tested works,” the one exception being the SD card reader.   The resourceful Jared then shipped his system to Chris Ball, a buddy of his that maintains the SD/MMC/SDIO subsystem of the Linux kernel, and who graciously agreed to volunteer time debugging the Linux driver for this card reader.  We will keep you updated on the progress.

So while Jared’s testing is not official it should be enough to get most devs going running Ubuntu  on the M3800.  And like the initial project Sputnik offering, if we get enough positive feedback, we might be able to offer it as an official pre-installed offering.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Project Sputnik Profile Tool: Dell commits engineering resources, Docker joins the cause and we want your input!

November 12, 2013

Sputnik_Sticker_FinalWhen we first introduced Project Sputnik over a year ago we talked about two community projects: the profile tool and the cloud launcher.  We garnered a fair amount of attention and made some progress but unfortunately not as much as I would have liked.  I am very happy to report therefore that recently we have put together an intrepid group of developers and architects within Dell to pick up the profile tool charge.

While we’ve had a few false starts in the past, besides the addition of committed Dell resources, there are a couple of other things that set this time apart: 1) we are starting from an internal use case and 2) we are working with and leveraging some of the work of Docker.

And just like when project Sputnik originally kicked off, we want to get your input and feedback on the Profile Tool and its direction (see a few paragraphs down for what specifically we are looking to you all for).

Internal need

Scratching your own itch is a key component to any self-respecting open source project. Read on to see where ours came in. A group within the Enstratius team, which we acquired back in the Spring, is switching to Sputniks (Dell XPS 13 developer edition) as their primary laptop. One thing that team member John Vincent was tasked with doing was getting these new systems set up quickly for the team. He was looking for a way to automate the process when his boss suggested he check out what we were hoping to do with the profile tool.  John liked what he saw so much that he joined the team.

Besides this representation from the Enstratius team, the Sputnik team also includes members from Dell Services’ office of the CTO and the Dell Cloud Services development and architecture team.

Working with the Docker crew

DockerRather than re-inventing the wheel, and to help provide perspective, we are now working with the folks from Docker.  They will be giving us their feedback, helping with integration and creating a Go profile.

As their CEO Ben Golub said, “The Dell team has delivered real benefits for the developer community through Project Sputnik and we expect same from the profile tool. We’re committed to working with their team to provide the best possible integration with Docker so those benefits continue to grow.”

Profile tool: Some details and a quick POC

The idea behind the profile tool is to enable a developer to quickly set up an environment without cluttering up their system.  This applies whether it is a “clean” computer for a new hire or a new project for an existing team member where the developer needs to use a new language or tool-chain.

A profile is basically a collection of simple YAML files, stored in a pre-determined directory structure, which specify one or more of the following:

  • Language:  a programming language e.g. Python, Ruby, JavaScript
  • Framework:  a language-specific software platform which simplifies the programming task (e.g. Django, Rails, Node.js)
  • Library:  an additional software component, such jinja2 or numpy for Python
  • Service: a software service used by the project, such as a database or message queue

To use a profile, it is downloaded to the developer’s machine, and an isolated environment (Linux container) is automatically created using Docker if it is part of the profile.

Input from the community

Here is the Profile Tool repository on Github and to give you a feel for how the profile tool might work, here is a quick POC (note that these actions aren’t actually being executed. We’re just logging them as if we were).

We would love to get your input. Some of the different ways you can contribute are as follows:

  • Open issues on this repository with suggestions on proposed definition syntax
  • Fork the repository and propose your own definition for a language
  • Share this initiative with your respective communities
  • Offer insight into how your community or company can use this
  • Be honest and tell us what works and what doesn’t

While almost everything is open to modification, we have a few small requirements.

  • The definition format MUST be YAML. YAML was chosen because it allows the appropriate data structures, is both human- and machine-readable and allows comments
  • Respect the goals of minimalism and composition defined above
  • This is based on Ubuntu 12.04 amd64 (for now) as the primary use case is for inclusion in the Sputnik laptop

We will be soliciting feedback for the next three weeks so please get us your thoughts by December 3.

What about the cloud tool?

We haven’t forgotten about the cloud tool, which allows you to deploy your applications to the cloud.  While you can currently use Linux containers and JuJu to get your apps into the clouds, we are working on a version that will provide even greater automation.  This will be phase II after we get the profile tool a bit further along, stay tuned!

But wait, there’s more…

If you’re interested in Project Sputnik you’ll want to watch this blog which will be bringing some more news in the not too distant future. :)

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


My O’Reilly Video — Telling the Project Sputnik story

August 29, 2013

While I interviewed a bunch of folks at OSCON, I also got the chance to be on the other end of the camera.  On Thursday of the event I sat down with Meghan Blanchette, editor at O’Reilly media and we talked about Project Sputnik, where it’s been and where it’s going.  Check it out:

Some of the ground I cover:

  • How Sputnik came to be and our biggest challenge
  • The three main components: XPS 13 developer edition, the Profile Tool, the cloud launcher
  • Our recently announced 3-free months on the Joyent Cloud
  • Getting some help from an internal development team

Update re Profile tool help

The internal team that I mentioned in the video is gearing up to get cracking on the profile tool.  The idea is first to gather requirements and user stories and then get jammin’ with design and development sprints.  It looks like after a bunch of false starts we are ready to push this in to high gear.  Look for an update next week.

Extra-credit reading

  • Will Developers Move to Sputnik?  The past, present, and future of Dell’s project – O’Reilly programming
  • Connecting the client to the cloud, The Sputnik Story – Slideshare

Pau for now…


OSCON: Talking OpenShift, RedHat’s Platform as a Service

August 22, 2013

Last but not least in my series of video from last month’s OSCON is an interview I did with Steve Citron-Pousty, Developer Evangelist for Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS.

Take a listen to what the ever-entertaining Steve CP has to say:

Note: As with my interview with Neil of Inktank, I used Youtube’s feature that is supposed to fix an unsteady camera and the result gives the video a hallucinogenic feel (witness the slightly undulating stairs).

Some of the ground Steve covers:

  • What is OpenShift and Platform as a Service?  How is OpenShift different from other PaaSs?
  • OpenShift is “polyglottal:” it supports PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Node js and Java (with Java you get JBoss and Tomcat).  It also supports MySQL, Postgres and MongoDB right out of the box.
  • How they work with APIs and how APIs allow devs to create “situational apps.”
  • Steve’s Crystal Ball time:  in 3-5 years all developers will be using a PaaS (witness their wins with Ebay/PayPal, Accenture and DoD) + Git + a NoSQL data store.

Reference —  The rest of my OSCON interviews:

 Extra-credit reading

  • Blog:  Krishnan Subramanian: Making the Move to OpenShift
  • ZDnet: Red Hat opens OpenShift PaaS cloud for business

Pau for now…


OSCON: AppDynamics and application performance management

August 15, 2013

Today’s OSCON interview takes us into the land of application performance modeling and features Dustin Whittle, Technical Evangelist at AppDynamics.   AppDynamics provides performance management for Java, .Net and PHP applications.  Check out what Dustin has to say about the wild and wacky world of APM:

Some of the ground Dustin covers

  • What does AppDynamics do?  Spoiler alert: It helps you figure out what “healthy” looks like for your application and gives you line of code visibility into your production app from the client to multiple tiers of your server and then down into the database.
  • Who looks at/uses the data AppDynamics generates?
  • How does the cloud change application development?  And what about those “noisey neighbors”?
  • APIs, SDKs and the recently launched AppDynamics X.

Tune in next time to see the next in my OSCON interview series.  Still left are RedHat’s OpenShift and Puppet.

Extra-credit reading


OSCON: Apigee and APIs

August 5, 2013

The week before last when I was out at OSCON I caught up with Sam Ramji VP of Strategy at Apigee.  I got Sam to tell me about his company and the future of APIs.   Here’s what he had to say:

Some of the ground Sam covers:

  • What does Apigee do.
  • How well is the importance of APIs understood in enterprises today
  • Using business people as their entry point into the enterprise but also catering to the developer.
  • Whats the big thing in the world of APIs in the next year

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


OSCON: The Project Sputnik story & giveaway

July 29, 2013

Last week, Dell was out in force in Portland, Oregon, representing at OSCON.   We had a booth and gave a few talks.

The talk that Cote and I delivered covered the story behind the Project Sputnik: Connecting the client to the cloud  – The Sputnik Story :

Give it away, give it away, give it away now

In addition to talking about Project Sputnik, we gave away three of the XPS 13 developer edition systems.  Here is the crowd waiting for us to draw the winner at the Dell booth:

The Sputnik drawing at the Dell booth.

The Sputnik drawing at the Dell booth.

And here is the lucky winner, Katrina Prosise, a comp sci student in Portland.

Barton George (Dell), the lucky winner, Joseph George (Dell)

L->R: Barton George (Dell), Katrina Prosise (the lucky winner), Joseph George (Dell)

Stay tuned to this blog over the next week or so as I will be sharing a bunch of the video interviews I conducted while at OSCON.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now..


Developers + IT ops = cloud innovation

June 27, 2013

A couple weeks ago Dell put on a half-day Cloud summit on BrightTALK.  The event, led out of our services group, was made up of six hour-long presentations that ranged from Cloud security to compliance to HPC.

John Willis, who recently joined Dell via the Enstratius acquisition, and I presented the deck below.  We began with the rise of the developer and their key role in cloud.  From there we talk about how IT can best work with developers to drive innovation, while at the same time maintaining stability (spoiler alert: the answer is DevOps).

If you want to listen to recordings of any of the six presentations that made up the cloud summit, check out the links below:

Extra-Credit reading

Pau for now…


Shuttleworth raves about Dell XPS13 developer edition

May 24, 2013

At the OpenStack summit last month we caught up with Ubuntu and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth.

Below is a quick snippet taken from our chat with Mark where he talks about the Dell XPS 13 developer edition aka Project Sputnik.  Mark dubs the system “freakin’ awesome” and the “environment of choice for anyone doing web or cloud development.”  :)

Extra-credit reading

  • Laptop Week Review: The Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition With Ubuntu – TechCrunch
  •  It just works: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Linux Ultrabook review – Ars Technica

Talking about Project Sputnik and the importance of Devs to Dell

January 15, 2013

At Dell World I was interviewed about Project Sputnik, the resulting XPS 13 Developer Edition we launched and the importance of developers.

Here’s the interview (notice my fashion forward blue Dell shirt ;)

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


XPS 13 Developer Edition takes off

December 19, 2012

Pitching Sputnik at Dell World

Pitching Sputnik at Dell World (photo credit: Ryan the lawyer)

I wanted to get one more quick post in before I head out for the holidays.  Things have been crazy since the XPS 13 Developer Edition launched almost three weeks ago.

In fact no sooner did we start to catch our breath from the product’s launch that Dell World took place.  We had a lot of interest at the event and Im looking at following up with the folks I met.

Launch response

For the actual launch we had fantastic press, see the list below.   That having been said, there were two areas where we got dinged by folks:

  1. Price — This turned out to be due to an internal pricing inconsistency and we were able to jump on it right away and dropped the price by $100 by the afternoon.
  2. Monitor resolution — We have heard the community loud and clear and are looking at ways to address this, stay tuned.

Partial Media Coverage

  • Dell launches Sputnik Linux Ultrabook – The Register
  • Dell releases powerful, well-supported Linux Ultrabook – Ars Technica
  • Dell ships lightweight XPS 13 laptop with Ubuntu Linux – IDG
  • Dell XPS 13 laptop: The Ubuntu developer edition arrives – ZDNet
  • Dell’s ‘Sputnik’ Ubuntu Linux ultrabook: First in a new line? – PC World
  • Dell launches Ubuntu-powered Sputnik for developers – The H-Online
  • Dell’s Ubuntu Ultrabook goes on sale in the US – PC Pro
  • Dell Ships High-End Ubuntu Laptop for Cloud Developers  – The Var Guy
  • Dell Unveils Powerful Linux Ultrabook for $1,449 – Mobile Magazine
  • Dell Launches XPS 13 Ultrabook Developed Edition, Comes With Ubuntu Linux – StudentNews.ie
  • Dell’s $1,549 Ubuntu-based XPS 13 goes on sale, $50 more than Windows variant (update: $100 price drop)Engadget
  • Dell is selling a nicely configured version of its XPS 13 ultrabook with Ubuntu Linux – CNET
  • Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook With Linux Ubuntu Almost Ready For Launch – iTech Post

Thanks to everyone for helping to turn this idea from project to product.  Stay tuned as we we continue to refine and expand on developer offerings in 2013

Happy Holidays!

Pau for now…


Initial thoughts from the Project Sputnik Beta Cosmonauts

October 2, 2012

The Project Sputnik Beta program has been going for several weeks now.  We have an intrepid group of cosmonauts and there have been a bunch of blogs posted, tweets tweeted and a flurry of activity on the forum.

In general the feedback has been very positive with some folks having issues around wifi and the touch pad.

So far four of the cosmonauts have posted detailed entries around their Sputnik experiences.   Here are excerpts from the postings.

The Sputnik Out of Box Experience

For a good look at the OOBE, complete with photos, check out Theron’s “#ProjectSputnik – first impressions“.  Here’s the summary at the end:

After initial load and getting my standard working environment up and running, I’ve got to say this little beast is pretty amazing. From the tight OS integration to the feel of the laptop, it looks and feels like a solid build. I’m going to be busy working with OpenStack over the coming months and I’m excited to see how closely integrated I can get my build envionment on this laptop to the ubuntu server I’m using for testing. After watching Mark Shuttleworth talk this year at Oscon about JuJu and #ProjectSputnik, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be amazing. More blog posts to follow.

One man’s journey back to Linux

This next blog kicked off a huge discussion on hacker news around developer laptops, OS’s and the merits of their various incarnations.  Geoffrey Papillion wrote about his odyssey through time and across various OS’s which has led him to the present and Linux once again.

Here is how he concludes his post “Thanks Mr. Jobs, But it seems I can use a linux laptop now

Two days ago I got my Dell XPS 13 as part of a Dell beta progam called project Sputnik. I got a special version of Ubuntu, with some kernel patches, and some patched packages for sleep and hibernation. After an hour of struggling with making a bootable USB drive from my Mac for my Dell(turns out it was an issue with the USB drive), I had a working computer. By 8pm I had my development enviroment setup, I had chef up and running, and even my VPN was working. I was amazed.

So, far its been good; most apps I use are web apps. I spend 70% of my time in a terminal, and 30% of my time in a web browser. Honestly its the perfect computer for me right now. So, I’m waving goodbye to the ecosystem Mr. Jobs built, and moving to the world of linux full time.

On Beyond ThinkPad

Matt Urbanski who is coming from a linux mint based Lenovo ThinkPad x220 that he has been really happy with, gives his initial thoughts in Project Sputnik Beta Day one. He concludes his post with:

I sound much like a crochety old man who dislikes change. I’m going to give this a go and see what happens. I’m now embarking on the always annoying task of getting my homedir and configurations from one machine to the other. I’ll report back after some real usage.

The Woodward Trilogy

The most prolific cosmonaut award goes to Matt Woodward who has been putting his project Sputnik laptop through its paces and written three entries about it.

Dell Sputnik: Initial impressions

Conclusion: The Dell XPS 13 is a huge winner in my book. It’s exceedingly well built, light, quiet, and has all the bells and whistles you need in an ultrabook — particularly one aimed at developers — and Dell made intelligent omissions across the board with the possible exception of the amount of RAM pre-installed.

If like me you’ve had Dells in the past and hadn’t thought about Dell in a while, this machine may well change your mind about Dell. After only a few hours of using it it’s certainly starting to change mine, and I can already see myself gravitating to the Sputnik as my go-to machine.

Dell Sputnik: Battery life test

Results: The results are quite impressive, with a run time of about 8 hours 20 minutes in my usage

A week at a conference with Dell Sputnik

Summary: After living with the Sputnik as my only machine for a week I continue to be extremely impressed. Particularly in a developer conference situation where power isn’t available at every seat and you have to fight for the few outlets that are available, the Sputnik’s fantastic battery life let me focus on the conference instead of worrying about whether or not my laptop was going to conk out.Other than the occasional issues with the trackpad I thoroughly enjoyed using the Sputnik at DjangoCon — it makes a great conference companion!

So that’s the initial round up.  Stay tuned for more!

Extra-credit reading/Resource links

Pau for now…


OSCON: Project Sputnik Explained + Coverage recap

July 30, 2012

The week before last I had a fantastic time at OSCON, seeing old friends and making new ones.  As always, the hallway track was the one I found most enlightening.

On the second day we announced that project Sputnik would be going from project to product in the fall and got a fantastic response (see some of the articles written about it at the end).  On the day of the announce Mike Hendrickson, O’Reilly’s VP of content strategy, interviewed me about the project (check out Mike’s project Sputnik review).  That video is the first one below.

I also did a “cliffs notes” version with Janet Bartleson which clocked in at one minute and 47 seconds so if you’re short on time you can check out the second one.

Extra-credit reading

  • Slideshow: Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: OSCON 2012: The Open-Source Creative Engine Drives the Economy – eWeek
  • Dell announces Ubuntu developer laptop – ITWeb
  • Dell Launching Ubuntu Linux Developer Laptop After Successful Pilot Program Dubbed ‘Project Sputnik’ – International Digital Times
  • Dell set to launch their Ubuntu developer laptop, Sputnik, later this year – TweakTown
  • Dell’s Sputnik project is a go – Technoholik
  • Dell expands open source initiatives – ITWeb
  • Linux fans rejoice: Dell XPS 13 will come with Ubuntu – BetaNews
  • Dell Takes Another Crack at Linux Boxes with Project Sputnik, Launching This Fall – HotHardware
  • Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook For Developers Will Launch In 2012 – The Droid Guy
  • Dell launching Sputnik, the Ubuntu developer laptop, this year – Ars Technica
  • Dell to launch Ubuntu-based XPS 13 laptop this fall – Hardware.Info (UK)
  • Open-Source Goes Ultraportable With Dell Pre-Installed Ubuntu XPS 13 Offering – Mobile Magazine
  • Dell to ship XPS 13 with Ubuntu Linux in some areas, Precise Pangolin goes ultraportable – Engadget
  • Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with Ubuntu Linux Installed Launches This Fall – Geeky Gadgets
  • Linux comes to ultrabooks: Dell to preload OS on XPS 13 – CNET
  • Dell to launch Linux ultrabook in Fall – Fierce CIO
  • 4 Ways Dell Is Becoming An Open Source Company – TechCrunch
  • Shuttleworth talks up Ubuntu 12.10, growing acceptance of Linux on desktop and Ubuntu Unity – ZDNET
  • Dell’s Developer Laptop – i-Programmer
  • Dell announces expansion of three open source initiatives – eChannelLine
  • Dell’s Development Computer, Project Sputnik, Coming this Fall – LAPTOP Magazine
  • Dell Opens Up To Open Source Again – RedOrbit
  • As Windows 8 looms, Dell readies Ubuntu laptop for fall release – ExtremeTech
  • Dell adds to OpenStack and creates cloud notebook – DatacenterDynamics
  • Dell’s Project Sputnik is go for launch – Bit-tech.net
  • Dell Solidifies Commitment to Open Source, Developers at OSCON – eWeek
  • Dell Linux-Based Laptop Goes On Sale This Fall – The Inquisitr
  • Dell Expands OpenStack Cloud Efforts, and Other Open Source Programs – OStatic
  • The Ultrabooks Dell Ubuntu developers arrive later this year – Xataka (Spain)
  • Dell ready to sell laptops with Ubuntu – hwjournal.net (Italy)
  • Dell puts Linux ultrabook – PuntoInformatico (Italy)
  • Dell brings XPS 13 laptop from Ubuntu – Hardware.info (Dutch)
  • Dell’s New Ubuntu Linux Laptop Is Coming This FallPC World
  • A first look at Dell’s “Sputnik” Ubuntu Linux developer laptop – ZDNet
  • A first look at Ubuntu 12.04 (Photo Gallery) – ZDNet
  • Dell Gives Linux Laptops Another Chance – TechCrunch
  • Dell launching Project Sputnik developer laptops in fall – Ubergizmo
  • Dell to release Project Sputnik developer laptop this fall – The Verge
  • Dell to launch Project Sputnik developer laptops this fall – SlashGear
  • Pentaho, Datameer Join Dell’s Project Sputnik – The VAR Guy
  • Dell to offer Ubuntu XPS 13 laptops this Autumn – Inquirer
  • Dell introduced based on OpenStack cloud solutions – Servers.PCOnline (China)
  • Dell’s to sell Ubuntu ultrabooks this fall, Project Sputnik graduates from beta – Liliputing
  • New Ubuntu Laptop, from Dell, to Head for Developers – OStatic
  • Dell confirms Linux laptop and expands OpenStack cloud solutions – V3.co.uk
  • Dell’s Ubuntu Ultrabook arrives this autumn – PC Pro
  • Dell readies Linux Ultrabook for autumn release – Reg Hardware
  • Coming: Dell Ultrabook with Ubuntu 12.04 for Developers – The H
  • Dell Ubuntu Linux Developer Laptop Launches this Fall: Project Sputnik FTW – Mobile & Apps
  • Project Sputnik Versus Microsoft – PC Magazine
  • Dell’s Ubuntu Laptop Program Enters Beta, ‘Blows Away’ Expectations – PC World
  • Dell’s Project Sputnik Set To Build The Ultimate Developer Laptop – Crazy Engineers
  • Dell release a Linux laptop in autumn‎ – TICbeat (Spain)
  • Project Sputnik: The Ubuntu laptop from Dell in approach – Blogeee.net, CNET (France)
  • Project Sputnik: the laptop to cloud developers – Tom’s Hardware (France)
  • Dell puts a foot in the Linux market – Mac Generation (France)
  • Soon an XPS 13 from Dell with Ubuntu 4.12 – Revioo.com (France)
  • Sputnik is concretely: Dell Ultra with Ubuntu Book 12:04 in Autumn – Pro-Linux (Germany)
  • Officially launched the project “Sputnik” notebook PC development to developers only with Dell, the Ubuntu – SourceForge.JP Magazine (Japan)
  • Dell XPS 13 starts this autumn sale with Ubuntu – Tweakers.net (Netherlands)
  • New Linux PC from Dell – Computerworld (Norway)
  • Dell materializes its Linux project – Silicon News (Spain)
  • Dell is preparing a new laptop with GNU / Linux – Somos Libres (Peru)
  • Dell will begin selling computers with Linux preinstalled at the factory – FayerWayer (Spanish)
  • Laptop Dell Launches Special Project Developer Sputnik This September – Chip Online Portal (Indonesia)
  • Dell returns to the market for Linux-Laptop– CyberSecurity (Russia)
  • Dell offers Linux-laptops a second chance – DailyComm (Russia)
  • Dell revives project for Linux laptops – Tech News (Bulgaria)
  • Dell Returned to the Market for Linux Laptops – siteua.org (Russia)
  • 4 Intriguing Desktop Linux Options Coming Soon to Retail Stores – Linux.com

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