Ubuntu comes to the Windows desktop — OpenStack summit

April 26, 2016

Recently an announcement was made that took a lot of people by surprise.  Canonical and Microsoft announced that Ubuntu was now able to run on the Windows desktop.

Ubuntu Goes to Microsoft’s Windows 10 Bash – LinuxInsider

Dustin Kirkland was the main man on the Canonical side who drove this.  I caught up with Dustin at the OpenStack summit to learn more about this seemingly strange move by Microsoft.

Take a listen

Some of the ground Dustin covers

  • Ubuntu and Azure and the Microsoft partnership
  • Microsoft approached Canonical about bringing Ubuntu to the Windows desktop (looking to attract developers using Linux)
  • The Microsoft kernel team has built the Windows subsystem for Linux – Translates Linux systems calls to Windows system calls – Canonical asked to deliver the userspace
  • When users type bash they end up in an environment which is essentially Ubuntu minus the kernel
  • What have been the reactions to this move from the various constituents

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Where LXD fits within the virtualization and container landscape — OpenStack Summit

April 26, 2016

Yesterday here at the OpenStack summit here in Austin I caught a few of the sessions in the track that Canonical was hosting.  One of the sessions dealt with Canonical’s LXD and where it fits into the whole virtualization/container space.

The talk was given by Dustin Kirkland and after he had finished, I grabbed him to explain the basics of LXD and the landscape it fits within.

Have a listen

Some of the ground Dustin covers:

  • What is LXD and how is it different from virtual machines and containers
  • How LXD acts like a hypervisor but is fundamentally a container
  • Application containers vs Machine containers
    • Applications containers like Docker host a single proccess on a filesystem
    • Machine containers from LXD boot a full OS on their filesystems
  • Where do microservices fit in this model
  • How Docker and LXD are complementary
  • 16.04LTS ships with LXD

Pau for now…


Mark Shuttleworth talks 16.04 LTS, Snaps & Charms

January 26, 2016

Last week I flew out to sunny California to participate in SCaLE 14x and the UbuCon summit.  As the name implies this was the 14th annual SCaLE (Southern California Linux Expo) and, as always, it didn’t disappoint.  Within SCaLE was the UbuCon summit which focused on what’s going on within the Ubuntu community and how to better the community.

While there I got to deliver a talk on Project Spuntik The Sputnik story: innovation at a large company, I also got to hang out with some of the key folks within the Ubuntu and Linux communities.  One such person is Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu and Canonical founder.  I grabbed some time with Mark between sessions and got to learn about the upcoming 16.04 LTS release (aka Xenial Xerus) due out on April 21st.

Take a gander:

Some of the ground Mark covers

The big stories for 16.04 LTS

  • LXD — ultralight VMs that operate like containers and give you the ability to run 100s of VMs on a laptop.   Mark’s belief is that this will fundamentally change the way people use their laptops to do distributed development for the cloud.
  • Snappy — a very tight packaging format, for Ubuntu desktop and server distros.  It provides a much better way of sharing packages than PPAs and Snaps provide a cleaner, faster way of creating packages.

Juju and charms

  • Where do Juju charms and snappy intersect? (hint: They’re orthogonal but work well together, charms can use snaps)

OS and services

  • The idea is to have the operating system fade into the background so that users can focus instead on services in the cloud eg “give me this service in the cloud” (which juju will allow) or “deliver this set of bits to a whole set of machines ala snappy”

Pau for now…


Meet the project Sputnik team + Case Study

July 29, 2015

The other day Canonical came to Dell for a show and tell.  The Sputnik team, normally located in various buildings in Austin and Round Rock, all found ourselves in attendance at the event.  Here is a quick meet-the-team video introducing ourselves, saying where we’re from and declaring our favorite TV show.

Additionally,  here is a short case study giving the Project Sputnik history.

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…


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…


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