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Dell's Project Sputnik is go for launch

Dell's Project Sputnik is go for launch

Dell's Project Sputnik, previously a software-only venture, is to launch as a commercial product this autumn.

Dell's Project Sputnik, announced back in May as a downloadable software image for XPS13 Ultrabooks is now to become a real, commercial product as the company has another attempt at selling Linux.

Project Sputnik was born from the company's internal incubation programme, which provides cash funding to support employee's ideas. Sputnik itself is a customised version of Ubuntu Linux which is designed to appeal to developers by offering customisable 'profiles' that install particular applications according to individual need.

'If [Project Sputnik is] successful,' project lead Barton George claimed to DevOpsANGLE at the time, ''we'd like to ship laptops with a basic configuration pre-installed, and then have the profiles available for download from a repository.'

That hope for a formal release in product form appears to have come true, with Dell announcing that Sputnik is to become a shipping product this autumn. Under the Sputnik banner, Dell will sell an official 'developer laptop' pre-loaded with Canonical's Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, albeit in 'selected geographies' only.

'Since we announced project Sputnik a little over two months ago, we have continued to be amazed by the amount and quality of interest and input we have received,' claims George. 'By listening to developers, Dell can provide them with solutions and products to help make them more productive and allow for greater innovation.'

'Project Sputnik is a great example of the employee-driven innovation we built Dell's incubation programme to enable,' adds Nnamdi Orakwue, executive sponsor of the incubation programme at Dell. 'This project represents the first of many new ideas Dell employees will test with customers or partners through the program, and we look forward to supporting Sputnik to be successful as it becomes a product this fall.'

The commercial launch of Sputnik will concentrate on making cloud deployment as simple as possible for developers. The operating system will be tweaked and pre-loaded with a 'client-to-cloud' package that allows developers to create 'microclouds' on their laptops for testing before deploying their creations seamlessly to full-scale cloud server farms.

Sadly, there is little sign of Barton's original promise of customisable user profiles which tailor the laptop the individual needs - but, should Sputnik prove a success with the cloud crowd, these will hopefully follow as Dell tries to make the project appeal to a wider audience.

Pricing and a firm launch date for the Sputnik-based XPS 13 Ultrabooks has not yet been confirmed.

7 Comments

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Mankz 20th July 2012, 12:06 Quote
Article links to a thread about Maine in GD, might want to edit ;)
Gareth Halfacree 20th July 2012, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz
Article links to a thread about Maine in GD, might want to edit ;)
Fixed - I dunno, you just can't get the editors these days, can you? :p
schmidtbag 20th July 2012, 17:11 Quote
I think selling ARM based laptops are probably going to be slightly more successful than x86 ones, and here's why:

When you compare linux to Windows RT, linux is far ahead in performance, stability, hardware compatiblity, and software compatibility. The changes in both Windows 8 and Ubuntu versus Windows 7 and older are different enough that neither would be considered a comfortable change. Linux by default doesn't run Windows programs and Windows RT can't run x86 programs, so if ARM laptops are sold side by side with Windows RT laptops, people will realize "hey, this (linux model) is cheaper and runs more programs" whereas if you compare linux on x86 vs windows on x86, the general public will think "This (linux model) doesn't run any of my programs whereas this (windows model) does".

And yes I know about wine but the average person doesn't and AFAIK, ubuntu doesn't ship with it. However, wine is being developed for ARM, which would give linux an even greater advantage over Windows RT.
asura 20th July 2012, 17:20 Quote
No Ubuntu, nor it's many variants don't come packaged with wine, though I've never met a user who didn't know about it, mostly through complaints that -insert program here- is cludgy and slow in wine and when will -insert company here- release a linux version...

That is, excepting my dear old mum, who's laptop was dying such a death under XP that it was mercifully granted a second chance under Ubuntu. However she just uses it for the web and skype, so hasn't noticed any difference except appearance.
DDevine 21st July 2012, 04:29 Quote
I wish the public thought about the choice between Windows and Linux in that way schmidtbag... But sadly brand-name means a lot to the Average Joe.

Now, being a person who has experience with Linux on ARM with multiple devices I don't think performance will be better than Windows RT. Windows has been tuned for user experience on ARM (as opposed to server loads) really well, and they have Hard Float from the get go where as many distributions are only now just catching up. Windows Phone 7 has *excellent* performance on mediocre hardware though I have not seen Windows Phone 8 (which uses a NT kernel rather than a CE kernel) yet.

Wine for ARM will *not* be compatible with x86 binaries, however there is the possibility that it will be compatible with Windows RT binaries however the framework libraries are probably too immature to actually run anything useful.
Alecto 21st July 2012, 07:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
However, wine is being developed for ARM, which would give linux an even greater advantage over Windows RT.

WINE is Windows API emulation layer, not x86 hardware emulation (such as QEMU). Even if WINE was compiled for ARM target, it wouldn't run x86 applications without some kind of x86 hardware emulation or x86-to-ARM code translation (something along the lines of FX!32 for Digital's Alpha) underneath it.
schmidtbag 21st July 2012, 15:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alecto
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
However, wine is being developed for ARM, which would give linux an even greater advantage over Windows RT.

WINE is Windows API emulation layer, not x86 hardware emulation (such as QEMU). Even if WINE was compiled for ARM target, it wouldn't run x86 applications without some kind of x86 hardware emulation or x86-to-ARM code translation (something along the lines of FX!32 for Digital's Alpha) underneath it.

I know its an emulation layer, I didn't say it was hardware emulation. I also didn't say it was going to run x86 programs. All I heard is wine for ARM was being worked on. Whether that means it'll run Windows RT programs or regular x86 binaries, that's still good.
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