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Dell Unveils Ubuntu Ultrabook Targeted at Developers

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.

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