4th gen Dell XPS 13 developer edition available!

April 9, 2015

I would first like to thank everyone for their patience and support as we worked through various bugs that crept up.  This has taken longer than we would have liked but I’m happy to say that as of today, the Dell XPS 13 developer edition is now available in the United States, Canada and Europe!

A short history

As many of you may known, the developer edition began its life as Project Sputnik.  Funded by an Image result for images sputnikinternal incubation fund set up to drive innovation within Dell, Sputnik went from open-ended exploratory project to official product within nine months.

The entire program was conducted in the open in order to identify what you — developers — demanded in an ideal Ubuntu-based laptop. It was also your interest and support that drove Sputnik from project to product.

At the beginning of the year we launched an expansion to the line, the Precision M3800 developer edition, and today we are announcing the availability of the 4th generation of the XPS 13 developer edition.

General specifications of new Dell XPS 13 developer edition (see configs below. Note we realize that some of the tech specs are incorrect, they are in the queue to be fixed.  We made the decision to go ahead launch since we have had so much interest and we wanted to make it orderable as soon as possible)

  • Ubuntu 14.04*
  • 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-5200U or i7-5500U
  • 13.3-inch infinity display
  • 8GB Dual Channel DDR3L at 1600MHz
  • Intel (R) HD Graphics 5500
  • 1 Year ProSupport with Next Business Day Onsite Service
  • 2.8 lbs

* We recommend that users use the factory shipped Ubuntu image with the XPS 13 with at least BIOS A02.  We do however recognize that users will want to use other Linux distributions, Ubuntu versions or kernel versions so we’ve assembled a list to indicate problems users should expect with other distros.  In general you will have the best experience on the latest in development distributions with newer kernels.  For more information and instructions please see the technical notes at the end of this post.

US/Canada configurations:

i5/8GB

  • 128GB, Non Touch FHD (1920×1080)
  • 256GB, Touch TL QHD (2560×1440)

i7/8GB

  • 256GB, Touch TL QHD+  (3200×1800)
  • 512GB, Touch TL QHD+  (3200×1800)

Europe configurations/Countries

The XPS 13 developer edition is available in both the consumer and business channels in the following countries:

  • Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom

European configurations

  • i5/8GB — 256GB, Touch TL FHD (1920×1080)
  • i7/8GB — 512GB, Touch TL QHD+  (3200×1800)

A big shout out

I wanted to give recognition and a big thanks to the members of our small but mighty Sputnik core team: Mario Limonciello, Jared Dominguez, Amber Huang and Amit Bhutani.  These are the folks who have worked their butts off and made this a reality!

Technical Notes:

Updated April 16, 2015: new information with regards to current status quo from some people who have used Debian as well as 4.0 updates.

Updating to BIOS A02 or later

  1. Download the executable from support.dell.com and save it to a FAT32 formatted USB disk.
  2. Reboot the computer.
  3. At the Dell POST screen, press F12 to bring up the BIOS boot menu.
  4. Select the option to flash the BIOS.
  5. In the popup menu, select your USB disk and select the BIOS executable.
  6. Follow on screen directions.

Systems shipped with A01 or A00 BIOS

If you purchased the machine with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and it contains BIOS A00 or BIOS A01, please update the BIOS to A02 or later.  If you choose to run a kernel version earlier than 3.15 you should also append the following to your kernel command line:

psmouse.resetafter=0

If you machine was shipped with A02 or later, you will not need this kernel command line change.  The developer edition units will ship with A02 or later.

Ubuntu 14.04

Ubuntu 14.04 includes kernel 3.13.  The touchpad will run in PS2 mode and the soundcard will run in HDA mode.  Currently (4/15) out of the box the HDA microphone will not work, and you will need some packages from the factory shipped image to make it work properly.  The patches needed for microphone support are available here:

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=e1e62b98ebddc3234f3259019d3236f66fc667f8

and

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=f3b703326541d0c1ce85f5e570f6d2b6bd4296ec

Ubuntu 14.10

Ubuntu 14.10 includes kernel 3.16.

With BIOS A00 or BIOS A01 the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound will not function.  Please update to at least BIOS A02 and the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound in HDA mode.  Currently (4/15) the microphone will not work and you will these patches for microphone support: https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=e1e62b98ebddc3234f3259019d3236f66fc667f8

and

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=f3b703326541d0c1ce85f5e570f6d2b6bd4296ec

 

Ubuntu 15.04

Ubuntu 15.04 includes kernel 3.19.

With BIOS A00 or BIOS A01 the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound will not function.  Please update to at least BIOS A02 and the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound in HDA mode.  (4/15) All of the relevant patches have been backported and all functions will work out of the box.

Fedora 21

Fedora 21 includes kernel version 3.17.  With BIOS A00 or BIOS A01 the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound will not function.  Please update to at least BIOS A02 and the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound in HDA mode.  Currently (4/15) the microphone will not work.  You can track the backporting of the patches here: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1188741

Debian 7.0

We recommend that Debian 7.0 users upgrade to a kernel 4.0 and apply those two patches.  The above notations will apply to Debian 7.0 then.

Debian 8.0

Debian 8.0 will use kernel 3.16.  With BIOS A00 or BIOS A01 the touchpad will operate in I2C mode and sound will not work.  The system will fail to suspend and resume due to a bug in the touchpad driver.  This patch: https://github.com/torvalds/linux/commit/109571cf3ec78a39477eedd6b11927f52cbcb1e8

Will need to be backported for it to work properly.

With BIOS A02 the touchpad will operate in I2C mode and the sound in HDA mode.  Currently (4/8) the microphone will not work.  The patches needed for microphone support are available here:

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=e1e62b98ebddc3234f3259019d3236f66fc667f8

and

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=f3b703326541d0c1ce85f5e570f6d2b6bd4296ec

We recommend for Debian 8.0 users upgrade to kernel 4.0 and apply the two extra microphone patches.

Also, there are some problems with the xserver-xorg-video-intel package today with Debian 8.0.  You’ll presently (4/15) need to backport from experimental to resolve them.  More details are available here: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=782690

Other Notes

Extra credit reading

  • Designed for developers – Dell launches two new Ubuntu-based systems — Ubuntu insights

Pau for now…


Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS, what its about and where Dell fits in

November 18, 2014

The next interview in my series from Dell World features Julio Tapia of Red Hat.  Julio is a global director for Red Hat’s platform as a service, OpenShift.

I got Julio to give me a quick overview of OpenShift, where Dell plays and what they are planning going forward.

Some of the ground Julio covers

  • Who is OpenShift targeted at and how does it benefit developers
  • The three flavors: Online (Public PaaS), Enterprise (Private PaaS) and Origin (Community PaaS)
  • How Dell is working with OpenShift and the DevOps in a Box they both announced
  • The role Docker plays
  • What’s in store for next year and how their work with Google and Kubernetes will help ISVs

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


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…


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