George explained that Dell is doing this “to better understand and serve the needs of developers in Web companies. We want to finds ways to make the developer experience as powerful and simple as possible. And what better way to do that than beginning with a laptop that is both highly mobile and extremely stylish, running the 12.04 LTS release of Ubuntu Linux.”
Specifically, Dell started this effort, codenamed Project Sputnik, to focus on companies who use the Internet as their platform. Analysts, customers, and developers kept suggesting Ubuntu Linux as their operating system of choice, so since to Dell's knowledge, “no other OEM has yet made a system specifically targeted at devs and figured it was time to see what that might mean. When the XPS13 launched we realized that we found the perfect platform to start with and when Dell’s incubation program was announced we knew I had the vehicle to get the effort kick started.”
George added “that Ubuntu was a natural choice not only because of its popularity in the Web world but Dell has quite a bit of experience with it. In fact Dell has enabled and pre-installed out-of-the-factory Ubuntu on more computer models than any other OEM.”
It's not perfect. Dell had some hardware drivers problems. Most of those have been licked now though. The remaining one, dealing with multi-touch on the touchpad, is proving tougher to knock out. Dell is working with the vendor though for a permanent fix and with Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, for a temporary patch to deal with the problem.
One goal of the project though is to provide a “meta-system to manage your developer configuration.” With it, programmers could set up their tools just the way they wanted, store them in a repository, and then configure any system with their customized development environment. If they can pull this off, I can see this feature being very popular.
Ubuntu 12.04 vs. Windows 8: Five points of comparison
Ubuntu 12.04 arrives and it's great
Next Ubuntu Q to bring font, icon, Quantum Openstack service to Linux
If my mother-in-law can use Ubuntu Linux, anyone can
Enterprises: Embrace open source development or go extinct