Synaptics Touchpad drivers now in Test Kernels

May 14, 2014

Great news, yesterday the i2c Linux kernel drivers from Synaptics made it upstream and are in the proposed repository.  This is relevant for those Sputnik 3 users who have upgraded from Ubuntu 12.04 to either 13.10 or 14.04 LTS.

If you want to start kicking the tires before the drivers hit updates, you can enable the proposed repository and get to the test kernels by following  the instructions here:

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Testing/EnableProposed

What the issue was

From 13.10 on there is better i2c support and since there weren’t any drivers, this caused the touchpad to operate in very basic i2c mode, meaning no multi-touch, tap-to-click, scrolling, etc.  Users were either left with a minimally-functional touchpad in i2c mode, or they had to end up blacklisting the i2c-hid modules as a workaround so the touchpad would come up in psmouse mode and operate similar to how it did in 12.04.

Going Forward

Canonical, who has been instrumental in this whole process, is  also doing their best to try and backport this functionality into 14.04 LTS so that users can take advantage of native i2c touchpad support.

Thanks 

I would like to give big shout outs to Synaptics, Canonical and Kent Baxley from Canonical for making this happen!!

Pau for now….


Developers share experiences running Ubuntu on Dell M3800 and XPS 15

May 12, 2014

Back in November when we  launched Sputnik 3, we also announced its “unofficial big brother,” the Dell M3800 Precision workstation and the Dell XPS 15.  This announcement was based on the after-hours work that Dell Linux engineer Jared Dominguez did to test and document the system.

Quite a few developers have referenced Jared’s work, taken the plunge and installed Ubuntu on these beefier systems.

M3800 Precision workstation

Here is a video that Rudy Vissers from Belgium created last month.  Rudy walks us through his new M3800 Precision including touchscreen and graphics.

XPS 15 laptop

Web developer Matt Woodward, who is a Principal IT Specialist for the US Senate and one of the original Project Sputnik beta cosmonauts, decided on upgrading to the XPS 15.  He shared his experience running Ubuntu on the XPS 15 on his blog earlier this month.  Here is an excerpt:

…Once Ubuntu is installed everything works out of the box. The screen runs at the full, mind-blowing 3200×1800 resolution, and even the touch screen works. No issues with sound card, WiFi, or anything else. Awesome…

If you need something a bit bigger and beefier than the XPS 13 developer edition, you just may want to check out either the M3800 or XPS 15.

If you’d like to see these as official products that come with Ubuntu pre-installed add your voice here:  Gathering interest on official Ubuntu support for Precision M3800  No promises but who knows!

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: Open Source all the way

April 28, 2014

This week I’m continuing with the video series from our Application think tank earlier this year.  The videos this week are centered around the topic of applications and software strategy: what should your foundation be, what should your strategy be going forward and how do you deal with what you have.

To kick this topic off, here is a video featuring Barry Libenson, SVP and CIO at Safeway.  The question posed was what role does Open Source play in your software strategy.  Barry says what he never thought he would say, “Open source all the way.”  Take a listen as he explains one man’s conversion.

As Barry explains, open source isn’t just for the bleeding edge anymore, its for mainstream enterprises.  It features a robust ecosystem and is where the talent is.  Whether you’re a start-up or Fortune 50 company, as Barry says, Open Source all the way.

Stay tuned

Tomorrow we’ll look how the American Cancer Society and Intel have set up their guidelines for new applications being created.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC — Jonathan Reams of MongoDB

January 8, 2014

As I continue in my series of videos from DevOps days NYC a few months ago, here is an interview with Jonathan Reams of MongoDB.

Johnathan is systems engineer on Mongo’s DevOps team and is helping to make MongoDB, the NoSQL non-relational database, more appealing to operations.

Some of the ground Jonathan covers:

  • Mongo’s huMONGOus recent round of funding
  • As a NoSQL database, how is Mongo different from traditional relational databases
  • How does MongoDB compare to other non-relational databases like Couchbase or Basho’s Riak
  • Seeking to widen appeal beyond developers to operations
  • Whats next for Mongo for both developers and ops

Extra-credit reading

  • Military Supply Data Search Tool Uses MongoDB – InformationWeek
  • MongoDB grabs $150M in funding, now top NYC startup at $1.2B valuation – VentureBeat

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC: Mike Ainsworth of SaltStack

January 7, 2014

Infrastructure automation and configuration management have become a hot topic as organizations, particularly those in the web and cloud space have continued to scale out. The first player, that helped define the space, was CFengine.  Heavy weights in this space now include Puppet and Chef, and at Dell we lead, Project Crowbar, an open source effort in this area.

The new kid on the block, based in Salt Lake city, is SaltStack.   Although relatively new, they count LinkedIn as one of their users.   At DevOps Days NYC back in October I grabbed some time with Salt solutions engineer, Mike Ainsworth.  Here is what Mike had to say:

Some of the ground Mike covers

  • What does SaltStack do
  • When did they get their start and how has their momentum been
  • How they differ from the other players in the space
  • How Linkedin is using SaltStack
  • The technical details re what they are focusing on going forward

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…


Update: Project Sputnik Profile tool

December 11, 2013

About a month ago I blogged that, with renewed vigor and resources, we were tackling the Project Sputnik Profile Tool – a tool that enables a developer to quickly set up an environment without cluttering up their system. The announcement included a new collaboration with the folks from Docker and a request for feedback from the Community by December 3.

That date has now passed and Peter Owens, who is the project manager for the Profile Tool effort, has collated the feedback and mapped it against our vision for the tool and our minimum requirements.

(When not managing the profile tool effort Peter, as Director of Software Engineering in Dell Services, leads a development team responsible for the delivery of Managed-Private Clouds to global customers and expanding Dell’s OpenStack /DevOps development capability. Peter is based Dell’s Cloud Centre of Excellence in Dublin Ireland.)

Here is Peter’s  summary:

What we’ve learned

It is clear that you believe we are on the right track with the Profile Tool and that our plan to leveraging Docker will allow users to set up environments with minimum impact on system resources.

Where the feedback became very interesting was in the following areas:

1) project lifecycle

We need to define user stories for the following scenarios:

  • where the tool is re-run or a project has already been setup by a user
  • the project definition is changed
  • adding and removing packages
  • handling changes to languages or frameworks pulled into a project

2) User specific configurations

  • to avoid conflicts, profiles should not be keyed solely on username

3) Specifying language versions

  • we need to specify language versions within potentially multi-project environments
  • users should be able to specify the language version from within a project

It was generally felt that separating out usernames, packages and config definitions was the correct approach. There were also some useful comparisons with other tools such as Boxen which enables you to centralize your configs for an entire organization. This means a “template” can be created for new hires or groups of developers.

 A Big Thanks and Next Steps

We are very grateful to those who took the time to contribute, share this initiative with their respective communities and provide feedback. Based on the feedback we’ve received we have started working on user story requirements which we hope to have done by the end of the year.  After that we will start coding in January.

As you’d expect we will be using a GitHub central repository where all the code can stay in sync. Code changes will be committed to this and other developers will pull them (sync them to their local repository). To start with we will be providing read-only access to the central repository, so the community will be able to keep track of our progress!  Once we get a little further along we will open up the repository for others to jump in.

Stay tuned and thanks again!

Extra-credit reading

  • Dell aims for cloudy orbit with Sputnik Ubuntu developer project – The Register

Pau for now…


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