Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Dell Unveils Ubuntu Ultrabook Targeted at Developers

By - Source: Dell | B 15 comments

A laptop for Linux lovers.

Dell this week took the wraps off of a very special project that it's been working on in secret for the last few months. Unveiled at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Oakland, California, the project's name is Sputnik and it's based on one of Dell's already available XPS notebooks.

Dell's Barton George describes the project as a six-month effort to explore the possibility of creating an open source laptop targeted directly at developers. Sputnik is a Linux-powered lappy that's designed specifically serve the needs of developers in Web companies. Running the 12.04 LTS release of Ubuntu Linux, Sputnik is based on Dell's XPS13 laptop and the company is currently working with three developers to put together a tool that can go out to a github repository and pull down various developer profiles. Dell is targeting Android, Ruby and JavaScript first. After that, the idea is that the community would step in and start to develop their own profiles.

Dell says that when it first pitched the idea to Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth, he liked the idea but ultimately saw it as an opportunity for something bigger. "Where it got really interesting for him was when this laptop was optimized for DevOps," writes George. "In this scenario we would have a common set of tools from client, to test, to production, thereby tying Sputnik via a common tool chain to a cloud backend powered by OpenStack.  Developers could create 'micro clouds' locally and then push them to the cloud writ large."

What's more, it's something that developers seemed to want to. Dell says that as they talked to customers and developers, the topic of Ubuntu came up again and again.

"To my knowledge, no other OEM has yet made a system specifically targeted at devs and figured it was time to see what that might mean," said George.

This project is very much still in the development phase and, as previously mentioned, Dell has set itself a six-month deadline for this project. If things go well, it sounds like we might actually see these for sale in the future. We'd certainly love one.

Follow @JaneMcEntegart on Twitter.           

Display 15 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    jryan388 , May 8, 2012 9:20 PM
    As much as I love Ubuntu for deveoping, there are still a few too many compatibility needs for me to drop windows completely. Maybe just for work, but I can't abandon gaming and a few windows-only programs I use.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    amdfangirl , May 8, 2012 9:00 PM
    If anything, this laptop will,like in China be bought because it avoids the Windows tax. They'll probably install pirated Windows.

    People like me will buy it for Linux support, shame the screen is glossy.

    Hopefully it sets a precedent for Linux laptops. Would be nice to see Lenovo follow suit with some matte screened Thinkpad X1.
  • 2 Hide
    classzero , May 8, 2012 9:04 PM
    Please more choices like this, we are ready to be freed from Microsoft. If you want to game get a xbox or playstation. As a developer I can't stand Microsoft.
  • 12 Hide
    jryan388 , May 8, 2012 9:20 PM
    As much as I love Ubuntu for deveoping, there are still a few too many compatibility needs for me to drop windows completely. Maybe just for work, but I can't abandon gaming and a few windows-only programs I use.
  • 4 Hide
    willard , May 9, 2012 12:07 AM
    Yeah, because I totally want to use a 13" screen for development.
  • -3 Hide
    kronos_cornelius , May 9, 2012 12:20 AM
    I am not too sure about the project's name... may be not for an American audience ?

    Why not call it Adolf ?

    As a developer, I build my system to be very fast. And I avoid the Windows tax by buying the parts.

    I agree you still need Window for gaming, but not for long !
  • 1 Hide
    kenyee , May 9, 2012 12:59 AM
    willardYeah, because I totally want to use a 13" screen for development.


    Ditto...really needs at least 14" 1080p w/ 4 memory slots so we can run VMs and use a typical development editor that sucks up screen real estate like crazy :-P
  • 4 Hide
    K2N hater , May 9, 2012 1:09 AM
    Though I support Linux and other alternatives to MS I don't think the 13" screen is suitable for development. George could have gone straight to the point by telling Dell is not letting MS run them out of business with their Metro craze.
  • 1 Hide
    voodoobunny , May 9, 2012 1:49 AM
    Does it support multiple extra screens? Will it handle adding/removing screens gracefully? As a "development" laptop it really should, and that would alleviate some of the complaints about the screen resolution.

    Agreed about it needing space for as much memory as possible too - but it sounds like the "developer" part is software-only. Hey, maybe if it works they could apply the same concept to a 14" or 15" laptop which *does* have the extra power.
  • 3 Hide
    DroKing , May 9, 2012 2:11 AM
    classzeroPlease more choices like this, we are ready to be freed from Microsoft. If you want to game get a xbox or playstation. As a developer I can't stand Microsoft.


    Ew no... Xbox and Ps3 is poor man's gaming platform. *vomits*
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , May 9, 2012 5:08 AM
    13in is enough for work in the field. Most developers I know that use laptops plug in a second monitor when they get back to the office.
  • 2 Hide
    bit_user , May 9, 2012 7:17 AM
    If it has that crap GUI that recent releases of Ubuntu have featured, no thank you!

    The first thing I'll do, if I get such a device, is install Kubuntu or another distro on it.
  • 1 Hide
    suoeno , May 9, 2012 8:55 AM
    Moving forward, there must be all in separate XPS 13s. Ivy Bridge vanilla, with nVIDIA and also AMD Fusion say Trinity's base builds. God knows it's necessary to hammer out the drivers' headache once and for all and if this effort turns out to be fast gaining then said players will get off their slow asses and start to chip in with some official dev resources (PROPERLY this time...).
  • 1 Hide
    dreadlokz , May 9, 2012 4:47 PM
    finally! they found a way to get rid of original windows! kkkkk most ppl will buy it only to format and install pirate windows =D loved it =))
  • 0 Hide
    martel80 , May 9, 2012 4:52 PM
    Why don't they just ship the laptop with a no-OS option and offer Linux drivers (not already in the kernel) via download?
    Any serious developer should know how to install Linux.
  • 0 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , May 10, 2012 10:51 AM
    classzeroPlease more choices like this, we are ready to be freed from Microsoft. If you want to game get a xbox or playstation. As a developer I can't stand Microsoft.


    Go get a crapBox or a toyStation yourself, I prefer good graphics and mouse/keyboard. I work with Linux every day and STILL use Windows at home. Right tool for the job, that's all. Linux is amazing for office and networking, but it will never get onto my home machine.

    martel80Why don't they just ship the laptop with a no-OS option and offer Linux drivers (not already in the kernel) via download?Any serious developer should know how to install Linux.


    It's way too easy, ANYONE should be able to do it.

    bit_userIf it has that crap GUI that recent releases of Ubuntu have featured, no thank you!The first thing I'll do, if I get such a device, is install Kubuntu or another distro on it.


    Sure it has Unity. I'm using GNOME Fallback with 12.04, though. Works just like normal GNOME in 11.04.

    voodoobunnyDoes it support multiple extra screens? Will it handle adding/removing screens gracefully? As a "development" laptop it really should, and that would alleviate some of the complaints about the screen resolution.


    It's targeted at the youngsters' "developers" crowd who toy around with web design while sitting in a coffee shop. I know quite a few people like that. It's not made for serious developers, of course. They wouldn't settle for an ultrabook as they are now.