Friday, 18 March 2016

Ubuntu, Dell and Project Sputnik

Did you known Dell started shipping PCs with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled in 2007? Additionally Dell recently unveiled an updated edition of its Ubuntu-powered laptop from Project Sputnik.

Launched in 2012, Project Sputnik is a Dell initiative to build Linux-based laptops tailored for cloud developers. They feature high-end hardware based on Dell's XPS line, combined with Canonical's Ubuntu Linux OS and some custom add-ons designed to help programmers test their code for cloud environments.

Since it is aimed at a relatively small group of customers, Project Sputnik is a far cry from the Ubuntu machines that Dell briefly but remarkably marketed to the masses circa 2007. The company is no longer doing that sort of thing.

The big change is the availability of updated hardware. The newest Ubuntu laptops from Dell feature sixth-generation Intel i7 processors, along with up to 16 gigabytes of memory. (Other Ubuntu laptops from the Precision line support as much as 32 gigabytes.) They also include updated versions of Dell's home-grown open source Project Sputnik software for developers.

The new Project Sputnik laptop will run Ubuntu 14.04. Dell says the machines will also support the newest long-term support (LTS) release of Ubuntu, 16.04, when it debuts later this spring.

The laptops do have significance, in particular, they're important because they are the only developer-centric, open source laptops that have the backing of a major hardware vendor. There are some niche companies that sell laptops with Ubuntu preinstalled, like System76 and Zareason, but they are small outfits and not obvious partners for businesses that want to take advantage of Ubuntu. Against this backdrop, Dell continues to play a unique channel role through its sustained commitment to Linux laptops.


Dell and Project Sputnik:


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