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…


Sputnik 3 — Great Reviews from the Blog-o-sphere

January 29, 2014

At the end of last year we launched the third generation of the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, aka Sputnik 3, which features the 4th generation Intel processors.  This Ubuntu-based laptop is the third in a line of developer focused systems which began life as the internal skunk works effort, “Project Sputnik.”  Thanks to strong community input and support the project became a product a little over a year ago.

Over this past month there have been three great reviews that have come out that I wanted to share.

1) Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition review (Haswell, late 2013 model)

This first review, from J’s blog, is quite detailed and comprehensive.   It has great photos and got nice traction on Hacker News.  Here is the opening paragraph

The XPS 13 Developer Edition, aka “Project Sputnik”, is a laptop with a FullHD 13-inch screen, backlit keyboard, SSD, 4th gen intel CPU and comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

What makes this machine so interesting is not so much that Ubuntu comes pre-installed on it (it would be easy for anybody to install it him/herself, after all), but rather that Dell put some extra-work in making sure everything works right out of the box and supports running Ubuntu on it. WiFi, keyboard backlight, screen brightness control, sleepmode, etc. are guaranteed to work. [read more]

2) Guide to Leaving Your Mac Laptop

Carin Meier not only reviewed the XPS 13 developer edition but walks folks who may be interested in leaving their Macs behind how she set up her programs that she uses on a daily basis.  This blog too has great pics.  Carin’s blog starts,

I felt like I was in a controlling relationship headed downhill. After two custom laptops returned for defective hardware, I wanted to leave. But leaving didn’t seem so easy after living in the walled garden of Apple all those years.

This blog post is about how to leave your Mac and return to OSS.

There are quite a few nice alternatives to the Mac Air out there. I decided to go with the new Sputnik 3. Some of my reasons:

  • Powerful – New Haswell processor
  • 13.3 inch touch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Ships with Ubuntu 12.04 (64 bit)
  • Nice design (yes looks are important) [Read more]

3) Got me a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

The third review, by David Pollack, is actually a twofer in that he posted a follow on entry,  Still Liking the XPS 13 Developer Edition, two weeks after the first.  David’s posts are succinct and well laid out and I love his concluding paragraph :-)

Just buy one

If you’re doing development like Clojure and Java, then the XPS 13 Developer Edition is a better choice than the MacBook Pro. It’s less expensive and just as impressive hardware-wise. And I like Linux a lot more than OS X. [Read more]

Extra-credit reading

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…


Talking to the Docker Dudes

September 12, 2013

This morning a group of us here at Dell met with Ben Golub, Jerome Petazzoni and Nick Stinemates of dotCloud, the company behind the wildly popular open source project, Docker, “the Linux container engine.”  They came to sample the great barbecue and to chat about how Docker might potentially work with Project Sputnik, the Crowbar Project and a few other efforts.

Docker, which went live in March already has 150 contributors, 60,000+ downloads and 1000s of applications containerized and uploaded to their registry.   Given the fact that the company only has 18 employees, quite a bit of this work has been done by the passionate community that has formed in the first six months.

Overview and Tech talk

I did two interviews with the gents from Docker, a higher level overview with Ben their CEO and a more technical talk with SRE manager Jerome and Nick, their sales and deployment engineer.  Enjoy!

Some of the ground Ben covers:

  • What is Docker?
  • How it developed out of dotCloud’s PaaS efforts
  • How Ben got involved with the project and his background
  • What are dotCloud’s plans for Docker and who is integrating with it?

Some of the ground Jerome and Nick cover:

  • How long they’ve been involved and what they focus on
  • How Docker works with LXC and how it might work without LXC
  • Ubuntu is recommended but all you need is AUFS support
  • In next release they plan to offer official support beyond Ubuntu
  • Holy DevOps batman, Docker has something to offer Devs, QA Engineers, Continuos  integration and Sys Ops.

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

Game on! Ubuntu comes to Alienware

April 5, 2013

Ubuntu has been available on Dell business laptops for quite awhile, including the recently introduced XPS 13 developer edition.  A few weeks ago we announced that we were expanding our Ubuntu certification beyond our cloud servers to include Dell’s 12G servers.

Today we are announcing that Ubuntu is coming to another member of the Dell family, the Alienware X51 gaming desktop.

Alienware+Ubuntu

You can easily install Steam on to the X51 and although there aren’t tons of games supported yet, the list is continuing to grow and now includes classics such as Team Fortress 2 and Serious Sam.

To learn more and get a first-person account of using Ubuntu on the X51 check out the Direct2Dell blog post.

Update: corrected Ubuntu logo on above screenshot

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Sputnik 2 is here: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition goes 1080p and lands in Europe

February 18, 2013

source: greatbigcanvas.com

Sputnik 2 & Laika source: greatbigcanvas.com

When we launched the Ubuntu-based XPS 13 developer edition at the end of November we got a lot of great press.  That being said, the two complaints we heard loud and clear were 1) the resolution is too low, and 2) it needs to be available outside the US and Canada.  Since that time we have been working hard to address both.

As of today the XPS 13 developer edition comes with a Full HD (FHD) display (1920 x 1080) and has begun rolling out in Europe.

On beyond North America

ubuntu_black-orange_hexFor those in the USA and Canada Sputnik 2, the XPS 13 developer edition with the FHD display, is now available online.  Across the pond Sputnik 2 has started rolling out and will be available online next week.  I will post the links when they become available but here is the list of the countries where Sputnik 2 will be landing:

  • Available online – France, Germany, UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
  • Available from your Dell rep – Israel, Luxembourg, Morocco, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, UAE

With regards to the Asia Pacific region, we are currently evaluating options to introduce the XPS 13 developer edition in Australia and other countries in Asia, but don’t have details to share at this time.  That being said, if you would like to help with the introduction, share your opinion in the comments :)

XPS13-DEProduct specs

The new FHD version of the XPS 13 developer edition will replace the existing unit.  All other specs of this client-to-cloud solution will stay the same.

Here are the highlights:

  • Processor: 3rd generation Intel i7
  • Display: 13.3″ Full High Definition (1080p)
  • System memory: 8GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD graphics 4000
  • 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

To reflect the upgrade to the improved display the new price for the solution will be $1,549.

What about the Cloud Launcher and Profile Tool?

Ever since we first announced that we were launching a project to explore the creation of an open source developer laptop, we talked about two associated community beta projects: The Cloud Launcher and the Profile Tool.

  • Profile Tool: The idea behind the profile tool is to provide access to a library of community created profiles on github, such as Ruby and Android, to quickly set up your development environments and tool chains.
  • Cloud launcher: The cloud launcher enables you to create “microclouds” on your laptop, simulating an at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.

With the mad rush to get Sputnik and then Sputnik 2 out the door we haven’t focused as much attention on the associated projects as we would have liked.  Now that the systems are going out the door we are looking to kick them up a notch.  We will soon be taking the Profile Tool effort off of pause.

With regards to the Cloud launcher, we have big plans for it (its what puts the “cloud” in “client-to-cloud” solution).  Today the launcher uses Juju to jettison application environments from the laptop, to the cloud.  Recently though we have been working with Opscode to create another version that leverages Chef and that will connect to the Dell Cloud on Demand.  We should have a demo and more available soon!

Links and Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


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…


Sputnik has landed! Introducing the Dell XPS 13 Laptop, Developer Edition

November 29, 2012

A little over six months ago we announced a scrappy skunkworks project to pilot a developer solution based on Ubuntu 12.04LTS and our sleek XPS 13 laptop.  Thanks to the amazing feedback and support we have received from the community, today we are announcing the availability of the resulting official product – the Dell XPS 13 laptop, developer edition.

What’s exactly is it?

Here is an overview of the components of this client-to-cloud solution and some key facts:

Hardware: XPS 13 laptop, high-end config

  • I7 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD

Software

Price: $1,549 $1,449* (includes 1 yr ProSupport)

*Updated 11/30/12: the community pointed out we had not priced consistently across our online stores, this has been fixed.  This offering was always intended to be priced less than Windows.

Availability

  • Small office/consumer – U.S.
  • Enterprise – U.S./Canada
  • Outside the US  – early 2013

Community projects: Profile tool and Cloud Launcher

The profile tool and cloud launcher are beta open source projects that we have just kicked off on github.  These projects are quite nascent at this point and we are looking for more people to get involved and help get them going (hint, hint :) ) .

  • Profile Tool: The idea behind the profile tool is to provide access to a library of community created profiles on github, such as Ruby and Android, to quickly set up your development environments and tool chains.
  • Cloud launcher: The cloud launcher enables you to create “microclouds” on your laptop, simulating an at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.  Today the launcher utilizes Linux Containers to model your environment on your laptop and then uses Juju to jettison that environment to the cloud.  The launcher project on github will allow for community expansion on this concept using different technologies and approaches.

How did we get here?

As I mentioned at the beginning, project Sputnik began as a skunkworks effort.  It was made possible by internal incubation fund designed to bring wacky ideas from around the company to life in order to tap innovation that might be locked up in people’s heads. 

Just weeks after the basic concept was greenlighted by the innovation team, it was publically announced as a pilot project at the Ubuntu developer summit.  The big focus of our efforts, particularly in the beginning, has been to work with Canonical to make sure that we had the appropriate drivers for all functionality including the pesky touchpad.

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.

I would like to give a special shout out to the beta cosmonauts who signed on.  They were an intrepid lot who were patient and diligent working through issues to help make sure that when we went to production we had a product that developers would want.

Where do we go from here?

The next big thing for XPS 13 developer edition is availability outside the United States.  We are working with teams inside of Dell to make this so as quickly as we can.  The other direction we are looking at potentially expanding is offering a bigger beefier platform for developers.  The XPS 13 is perfect for those who want an ultra light and mobile system but we have heard from a bunch of devs who would also like an offering that was more workstation-like with a bigger screen and more RAM.

Today is a very proud moment for our team, putting together an official Dell offering for developers with their input and suggestions through out the process.  Stay tuned for more to come!

 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…


Project Sputnik – Beta Cosmonauts chosen

August 27, 2012

First of all, I would like to thank all the applicants to the Project Sputnik beta program for their patience.  Since we announced the program last month we have been working on implementation, traveling mostly uncharted waters here at Dell.  After working through countless details and seeing what could actually be done in a timely and supportable manner, we have come up with our list of Beta cosmonauts.

The Beta Cosmonauts

We had hoped to make the beta program worldwide, but after digging in we found that the resources needed to execute on it turned out to be more than our little Dell/Canonical team could handle.  As a result we have decided to narrow our Beta effort to the United States.  From those applicants from the US, which represented close to half of the total number of applicants, we have selected 455 people.

It wasn’t easy to narrow the list but we picked people who represent a cross section of the developer population from start ups to large companies to universities.  They represent a wide variety of skills and experience and are the people who we feel will be most vocal and participatory and who best represent the Sputnik ethos.

What they get – Updated Aug 30

Tomorrow we will send out the emails to everyone in the program letting them know whether they have been selected or not.  Those selected, and who are still interested in participating, will be able to purchase the high-end XPS13 at $1,199 rather than $1,499*.   As the program continues we will continue to refine the software.  In return…

*Update Aug 30: We took the feedback re the desire for a deeper discount and went back to see if there was any more cost we could drive out the base price.  We found a couple of places and were able to lower the base price from $1,499 to $1,349.99.  Applying the 20% discount to this we are now able to offer the system to Beta cosmonauts at $1,079.99 ($120 less than before.  It’s not a huge difference but I assume every little bit counts).

What we are asking of them

  • Load the software: While we had hoped to be able to offer the beta systems with Ubuntu pre-loaded this has turned out to be a lot more difficult than we had thought and would require shifting resources from our launch in the fall.  As a result, unfortunately the systems will come with Windows pre-loaded.  All the Beta cosmonauts will need to do is follow the directions for installing Ubuntu as listed on the Canonical page.
  • Be vocal and transparent:  We want the cosmonauts to blog and tweet (hashtag #ProjectSputnik) about their experience as a beta tester, but if asked or when appropriate disclose that they received a discount from Dell.
  • Use it and contribute:  As beta testers we want the cosmonauts to use the system, try things out, file bugs and share their experience with us and each other on the project Sputnik Forum.  It would also be awesome if they could even contribute a profile or two when we make the profile tool available.
  • Support: given that this is a beta program we won’t have official support for the hardware or software.  That being said we will try our best to help out the cosmonauts via the forum and bug tracker.

Thanks again to everyone who applied to the program.  Dell and Canonical are very excited to hear what people think of the systems and learn what we can do to make them better.

Key links

Pau for now…


Quick Sputnik Update

August 21, 2012

I 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 have also been focusing on the Profile tool that Canonical has been building for us.

The other big effort that has consumed a lot of our time is ironing out  the logistics for the Beta program we announced last month.   Stay tuned, we hope to have some news on this a little later this week.

Who knew?!

Turns out that taking Project Sputnik from incubation project to real product and launching a beta program at the same in a highly accelerated manner involves a lot of uncharted territory within the company.  We are learning as we go along.

Thanks everyone for your patience and stay tuned for more Sputnik news.

Pau for now…


OSCON: Tim O’Reilly chats with Mark Shuttleworth

August 7, 2012

Here’s the last of my posts from OSCON.

The conversation below took place right after Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote.  Tim and Mark start off by talking about Mark’s persistence of vision and what keeps driving him.  At the 2:00 minute mark they talk about Project Sputnik, the buzz around it at OSCON and where it has the advantage over Mac OS.  From there they talk about bringing the cloud right to the desktop via Juju.

Enjoy!

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


OSCON: Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote

July 31, 2012

On the Thursday at OSCON, Ubuntu and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth gave a great  keynote entitled, “Making Magic From Cloud To Client.”   He did the entire keynote and live demo on a project Sputnik laptop (a Dell XPS13 running Ubuntu 12.04LTS)!

Here it is in its entirety:

Some of the ground Mark covers:

  • A fantastic demo on Juju and writing Juju charms showing how you can design a complex topology, deploy that in memory on your laptop and then map the whole shebang to the cloud.
  • How JuJu charms allow for “encapsulation and reuse”
  • The idea of crowdsourcing ops
  • A demo showing how, in realtime, you can map actual running infrastructure from one cloud to the next (in his demo he mapped it from EC2 to an HP cloud)
  • The idea behind Unity and the principle of having one UI that works across phones, tablets, desktops and even TVs.
  • The HUD
  • Project Sputnik going from pilot to product this fall where you will be able to purchase an XPS13 from Dell with Ubuntu preinstalled.

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

Project Sputnik to go from Pilot to Product

July 18, 2012

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…


Announcing project Sputnik Beta program

July 2, 2012

Last week project Sputnik got an official presence on dell.com.  While the project is still a skunk works effort rather than a product, we are rapidly gaining traction within the company.

If you’re not familiar with project Sputnik, its a laptop pilot targeted at developers and based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and Ubuntu 12.04LTS.

The new page points you to where you can buy an XPS13 (unfortunately still pre-loaded with Windows at this time), where you can get the image to load, where you can offer suggestions, read about people’s experiences and where you can sign up for a beta unit.

Be a Beta Cosmonaut

If you are interested in getting your hands on a project Sputnik beta unit we are now recruiting volunteers for the Sputnik Beta Cosmonaut program (and yes we know the original Sputnik was unmanned, we’re taking artistic license here).  A limited number of applicants will be selected to receive a discounted, beta version solution (Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with Ubuntu 12.04LTS pre-loaded).

If selected, all we ask is that you use the system regularly and give us your honest feedback on the project Sputnik forum.  It will be interesting to see if we get five people applying to be cosmonauts or 5,000.  Stay tuned…

To apply, please fill out this form.

Project Sputnik forum and wiki

Along with a landing page on dell.com, we recently launched a project Sputnik presence on Dell TechCenter.  On TechCenter, you can find a Sputnik wiki as well as the forum I mentioned above to share experiences with Sputnik and file bugs.

BTW both Dell and Canonical will be at OSCON and one of the things we’ll be talking up is project Sputnik.  Stop by and say hi if you’re there.

Key links

Pau for now…


Sputnik update: Touchpad driver now available!!!

June 20, 2012

If you’ve been following project Sputnik — a developer laptop pilot based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and Ubuntu 12.04LTS — you’ll know that the biggest draw back in these initial weeks has been the lack of multi-touch support in the touchpad.  For some this has been annoying, for others this has been such a pain that they have put their system aside until the driver becomes available.  I’m happy to say that as of a few hours ago, a fully open source driver is now publicly available.

Here are the details from Canonical’s Kamal :

The Sputnik ISO image is pre-configured to use the PPA for updates so all systems which were previously installed with that ISO will automatically be offered the PPA update and their touchpads will just start working.  Furthermore, even systems which are installed now (or later) using that ISO will still automatically be offered the updated PPA kernel when they do their first software update.

There is also a link on the Sputnik PPA page to the Cypress driver patch (and also to the whole DellXPS patch set), so folks building their own kernels from source can get it from there.

Shout outs to…

A big thanks to Kamal from Canonical, Mario on the Dell side for driving this, and the vendor Cypress for doing the work!

Extra credit reading


Sputnik update: Profile tool and touchpad

June 18, 2012

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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