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…


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