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).
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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