Dell upgrades its developer edition Ubuntu Linux laptop

Dell upgrades its developer edition Ubuntu Linux laptop

Summary: In addition to upgrading its Sputnik Ubuntu Linux laptop for developers, Dell is also making it available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.


Any worries that Dell would be throwing over Linux for Windows because Microsoft was helping Dell go private were premature. The Austin, TX-based computer company has just announced that it's upgrading its Sputnik Ubuntu Linux laptop for developers. In addition, the next-generation Sputnik 2 will also be available in Europe, the Middle-East, and Africa (EMEA).

Dell continues to support desktop Linux with the release of a new Ubuntu laptop for developers: The Sputnik 2.

According to Barton George, Web vertical director at Dell and the man behind the Sputnik, the XPS 13 developer edition -- aka the Sputnik 2 -- now comes with a Full HD (FHD) display (1920 x 1080). This $1,549 laptop also now comes with a 3rd generation Intel i7 processor, 8GBs of RAM, Intel HD graphics 4000 and a 256GB Solid-State Drive (SSD). For connectors, it includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, 2 USB 3.0 ports, a mini DisplayMate port, and a headset jack.

This system comes with the latest long term support version of Ubuntu 12.04. It also comes with two beta community projects, Profile Tool and Cloud Launcher, that make it more than just a well-equipped, Linux-powered Ultrabook.

"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," said George. 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.

That sounds great, but George admits, "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."

Cloud Launcher is going to get a major revision before it's released. George again: "Today the launcher uses Juju [Ubuntu's Development/Operations (DevOps) program] 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."

So far, developers I've spoken to about this system seem enthusiastic about it. While they'd like a cheaper price tag, they appreciate its FHD display and what appears to be a very fast machine.

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Topics: Ubuntu, Dell, Laptops, Linux, Open Source, Software Development

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  • Bad deal

    Buying this ultrabook with ubuntu is a bad deal. You pay $1549 when exactly this same hardware with Windows 8 cost $1599, and with Windows Dell gives you Wave Maxx Audio not available on Ubuntu, considering Windows license cost and advantage you get with Windows, buying New XPS 13 with Ubuntu is very bad deal.
    • Dell upgrades its developer edition Ubuntu Linux laptop

      You seemed to have not read the article or the links.

      Key word – developer

      Read the links.
    • RE: Bad deal

      Depends. This Dell laptop might not be the best choice if one is a .NET and/or MS SQL Server developer.

      However, for those developing in a Linux (and/or UNIX) environment, say with Java, C/C++ and/or Oracle, DB2, Sybase, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Cassandra and/or Hadoop, this Dell laptop could be a good choice.

      Mr. SV, today's world is MUCH bigger than Microsoft.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • It's a bad deal because...

        Dell is only offering a $50 discount, when the Windows license is worth more than that.

        The better deal is to buy the Windows version, then install VirtualBox and Ubuntu, or Debian. An alternative to VirtualBox is to create a dual- or triple-boot system.
        Steve Webb
        • Assumptions

          You're assuming that Linux devs *want* Windows, bare metal or virtualized, on their development laptop. It's a bad assumption. Many Linux devs will not want to pay the Windows tax as they have neither the need nor desire for Windows taking up drive space on their device.

          And they can keep the $50 in their wallet.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
        • Re: ...when the Windows license is worth more than that.

          It isn't, you know. Find any member of Joe Public who would pay that much for a retail copy of Microsoft Windows.
      • I know .Net developers who prefer Linux

        and even use Linux for writing .Net software.
        Some of them are very pleased to be Windows-free.

        Make of that, whatever you will.
    • Just a...

      Troll. Go away windows fanboy, LoL.
  • Dell upgrades its developer edition Ubuntu Linux laptop

    $1549 for a linux laptop is laughable but linux users are suckers. Lets see how well this thing sells. I'm guessing it won't sell at all. Once the user finds out its linux it will either be quickly returned.
    • Anyone have an idea what he could possibly be talking about here?

    • Congratulations, Mr. Davidson

      You remembered not to spout your compiling drivel when the subject of the article is a Linux-based laptop for *developers*.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Another...

      Troll. LoL, you can go away also.
    • Seriously, why do you bother ...

      ... seeking out Linux topic blogs? You obviously never actually read past the headlines, and we all know you have no interest in ever using linux, and even less knowledge about using it or, for that matter understanding anything about how any OS actually works.

      So why waste your time and ours cluttering up these spaces? I know you were experimenting with a bot for a while - couldn't figure out how to program it to reference the subject matter?
  • Wow

    $1549 for THAT hardware? With Linux? I'd luv to see the sales numbers from Dell down the road, me thinks sales in the single digits would be a realistic goal.
    • "exactly this same hardware with Windows 8 cost $1599"

      "exactly this same hardware with Windows 8 cost $1599"
  • Okay, so it's for developers...

    It still seems like it's overpriced. A nice display with a good processor and lots of RAM, but any computer-saavy user nowadays knows that's only half of the experience. How's the keyboard? Since this is for developers, they're going to spend a lot of time typing, and they're going to want something better than "good enough." No SD card reader? That's a pretty simple feature to include, and I'd hate to spend that much for any laptop that doesn't have one.

    Frankly, developers are smart people. They're the LEAST likely to be intimidated by the prospect of partitioning their hard drive and installing Linux themselves on a Windows PC. So the idea of having Ubuntu pre-installed is not likely to be much of a draw. I'd be far more likely to buy a good-quality Thinkpad for $50 less and install Ubuntu myself (or even better, Arch).
    • Forgot to include

      How's the thermal performance? I've had pretty lousy experiences with Dells in the past on that front. How are the viewing angles on that screen, or am I going to have to sit hunched over a desk with my "lap"top?
      • I'd suggest you look for product reviews

        This is basically just an announcement in a blog. Its not supposed to be a review, and, if it was, the MS pests would be cluttering up this space even more than they do now.
      • Apparently an IPS Display

        This thing is fairly expensive. However, with what is, according to third party sources, an IPS display at 1080p and a 256GB solid state drive, it's not as expensive as it might first appear. The old model had a much worse display. The viewing angle on this is supposed to be 178 degrees, which is what you'd expect for an IPS display.
    • If it comes with Linux preloaded (even Ubuntu)...

      ... the purchaser can be reasonably sure that it will work with whichever flavour of Linux they prefer, without a lot of tinkering and messing about with Linux-wrappers for proprietary, Windows-only drivers.

      Personally, I prefer my Linux-certified Thinkpad.