Video Walk thru of the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition (9350)

December 15, 2016

Last night as I was surfing the interwebs, I came across a “Tech Pills” video that covers the XPS 13 developer edition (9350).  [The 9350 is the generation that proceded the current offering (9360) which came out in October.  The two systems utilize the same chassis and the former features the Skylake processor whereas the latter comes with Kabylake.]

The host does a great job of running through the developer edition from both a hardware and software perspective.  In his case, his distro of choice is Arch and the review was originally posted on the Arch Wiki.

Check it out:

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

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Of Linux Laptops, Open Source and Hawaiian Food

August 8, 2016

In the last two weeks I’ve had the opportunity to participate in two podcasts.  The first was the wild and wacky Lunduke & Whatnot (with Matt) show where System76 founder CEO, Carl Richell and I talked with our hosts about pre-loaded Linux laptops.  

In the second, which was recorded last week at SpringOne platform, Michael Cote hosts me as we talk about the evolution of Free Software/Open Source as well as the history of Hawaii and it’s foods.

Check them both out below.

Some of the ground Lunduke, Matt, Carl and I  cover:

  • [First I video bomb the intro by mistake]
  • How long System76 and Dell have been selling Linux preloaded on laptops
  • Mandriva as Lunduke’s favorite Linux distro
  • How System76 went from Carl’s basement to an office and a portfolio of 60 offerings
  • Why both companies went with Ubuntu first and why only Ubuntu
  • What are the biggest issues that System76 and Dell face when producing Linux laptops

Podcast #2

Open source and devs at Dell and the changing nature of OSS

The second podcast is audio only and, like the one above, is chock-a-block full of information and zaniness.  Here’s how Cote describes the occurrence:

“I’ve had a theory that the hard-line philosophy of open source has softened in recent times. Rather than thinking closed source is to be avoided at all costs, I think most developer types are a lot more willing to accept closed source bits mixed in with open source bits. That is, open core has “won.” I discuss this topic with my long time pal, Barton George, while at SpringOne Platform, plus the work he’s doing in the developer and OSS worlds at Dell.  We also talk about Hawaiian food.”

Take a listen

Extra-credit reading

  • Cuisine of Hawaii – Wikipedia
  • The XPS 13 Developer Edition THE best Linux laptop. Dell’s fifth-generation open-source developer laptop isn’t just good, it’s great — ZDNet
  • The XPS developer edition: Dell continues to build a reliable Linux lineage – Arstechnica 
  • Dell XPS 13 Skylake (2016) review: A lot for a Linux user to like – CIO
  • Review: The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop is nearly perfect – Network World

Pau for now…


Dell at DockerCon — Config guides, developer laptops, plugins and more

June 29, 2016

Today you would have to be under an IT rock if you haven’t at least heard of containers.  Containers, which have recently been made easily usable by a wide audience, allow applications to flow in a uniform package from development, to test, to production.  Containers also allow applications to be moved between public and private clouds as well as bare metal environments.  All of this increases agility and reduces friction in the overall development to deployment cycle, increasing the speed that organizations can deliver services to customers.

The 800 pound gorilla in the space is Docker which makes the most widely used container format and is building out additional offerings in the greater container ecosystem.

DockerCon

Last week in Seattle Docker held DockerCon 2016, its fourth conference promoting the general container ecosystem.  The event featured dozens of participating companies as well as a plethora of talks.  There was a ton of energy and the event even included a “full on kitty laser death match” on the main stage:

Laser cats

I attended the show and while there I attended sessions, conducted a bunch of interviews (see below) and spent time working at the Dell booth supporting Dell’s presence.

Dell Booth

At our booth we showed off four major offerings/projects in the Docker and container DockerCon Dell boothspace (here’s a video I did giving a brief overview what we were featuring).

We showed:

 

  • BlueData configuration guide:  BlueData’s platform provides customers with Big Data as a service, giving them the ability to leverage one pool of storage across multiple versions and distributions of big data tools.  The platform leverages Docker to deliver bare-metal performance with the flexibility of virtualization.  The configuration guide details the configuration set-up for BlueData’s Big-Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) platform on Dell’s PowerEdge Servers.
  • Developer laptops: In the booth we showed off our line of Ubuntu-based developer laptops (Project Sputnik). These Linux-based systems provide a native platform for Docker-based development and allows developers to push their container-based apps to the cloud.  On the second day we gave away a “Sputnik” laptop (see below for the crowd on hand for the drawing).
  • Flocker plugin: This plugin allows ClusterHQ’s Flocker to integrate with the Dell Storage SC Series. This allows developer and operations teams to use existing storage to create portable container-level storage for Docker.
  • Docker Swarm plugin: This plugin, which is in the proof of concept phase, connects Docker Swarm with Dell’s next gen networking operating system, OS10.  The plugin automates configuration of vlan & routers for Docker’s Macvlan/Ipvlan driver orchestrated using Docker Swarm.

All in all a great show, helping to raise Dell’s presence in the space and providing us with greater insight into customer needs and the ecosystem evolution.

Waiting in front of the Dell booth for the Sputnik drawing

Waiting in front of the Dell booth for the Sputnik drawing

Video interviews:

 

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Live in Europe: Next gen XPS 13 developer edition

March 31, 2016

[Update — April 8: Offline country URLs added]

A couple of weeks ago we announced the worldwide release of the Ubuntu-based mobile Precision mobile line as well and the US availability of the next gen XPS 13 developer edition.

Today I’m happy to announce that the Skylake-based XPS 13 developer edition is now available in Europe!

Background: As you may remember, as a part of Project Sputnik, these systems began as an open-ended exploratory project to identify what developers wanted in an ideal laptop. With the community’s input, Project Sputnik became an official product and continues to evolve.

Next gen XPS 13 developer edition specsDino

  • 6thGeneration Intel® Core™Processors
  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Augmented with the necessary hardware drivers, tools and utilities
  • InfinityEdge™ display, FHD and QHD+ versions available

Configurations

The following configurations will be available both online and offline in Europe.  All of three of the XPS 13 developer edition configurations come with the Intel wireless card.

  • i5/8GB: 256GB, FHD, Intel 8260
  • i7/8GB: 256GB, QHD+T, Intel 8260
  • i7/16GB 512GB, QHD+T, Intel 8260

OTA (Over-The-Air) Fixes

There were several minor fixes that were not available in time for launch but have been made available as over the air updates so make sure to run all Ubuntu updates.  (These fixes pertain to both the XPS 13 and Precisions.)

Where to order your system

The following, URLs will take you to the product pages for the developer edition in the various countries.  The countries listed below will offer the XPS 13 online.

There is a second group of nations where the developer edition is available by contacting your local Dell representative.  We will be adding that list, along with URLs, in the next couple of days. – Update: added April 8

Available online

United Kingdom www.dell.co.uk/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Ireland www.dell.ie/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Germany www.dell.de/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Austria www.dell.at/XPS13DeveloperEdition
France www.dell.fr/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Italy www.dell.it/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Spain www.dell.es/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Switzerland (German) www.dell.ch/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Switzerland (French)  www.dell.ch/fr/XPS13DeveloperEdition
The Netherlands www.dell.nl/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Belgium (Dutch) www.dell.be/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Belgium (French) www.dell.be/fr/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Denmark www.dell.dk/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Norway www.dell.no/XPS13DeveloperEdition
Sweden www.dell.se/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Available offline

Estonia http://www.dell.com/ee/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Ghana http://www.dell.com/gh/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Croatia http://www.dell.com/hr/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Israel http://www.dell.com/il/en/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Iceland http://www.dell.com/is/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Finland http://www.dell.com/fi/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Lithuania http://www.dell.com/lt/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Latvia http://www.dell.com/lv/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Libya http://www.dell.com/ly/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Nigeria http://www.dell.com/ng/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Slovenia http://www.dell.com/si/XPS13DeveloperEdition

South Africa http://www.dell.com/za/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Democratic Republic of the Congo http://www.dell.com/cd/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Congo http://www.dell.com/cg/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Algeria http://www.dell.com/dz/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Ivory Coast http://www.dell.com/ed/fr/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Gabon http://www.dell.com/ga/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Moroccο http://www.dell.com/ma/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Senegal http://www.dell.com/sn/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Tunisia http://www.dell.com/tn/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Bahrain (Arabic) http://www.dell.com/ae/ar/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Morocco (Arabic) http://www.dell.com/ma/ar/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Tunisia http://www.dell.com/tn/ar/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Algeria http://www.dell.com/dz/ar/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Russia http://www.dell.com/ru/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Belarus http://www.dell.com/rs/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Ukraine http://www.dell.com/ua/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Czech http://www.dell.com/cz/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Greece http://www.dell.com/gr/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Hungry http://www.dell.com/hu/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Israel http://www.dell.com/il/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Portuguese http://www.dell.com/pt/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Romania http://www.dell.com/ro/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Slovakia http://www.dell.com/sk/XPS13DeveloperEdition

Turkey http://www.dell.com/tr/XPS13DeveloperEdition

 

Thanks!

The entire Sputnik team would like to thank everyone in Europe for both their patience and support!  Happy hacking!

Extra-Credit reading

Pau for now

 


XPS 13 Developer Edition launches in US, Ubuntu-based Workstations available worldwide

March 10, 2016

[ Update– April 7: i5 config now available]

[Update March 28: Precision 7510 and 7710 now available]

Today I am excited to announce the worldwide launch of the Precision line of Ubuntu-based workstations along with the US launch of the 5th generation of the XPS 13 developer edition.

Part of Project Sputnik, these systems began as an open-ended exploratory project to identify what developers wanted in an ideal laptop. With the community’s input, Project Sputnik became an official product and continues to evolve.  For more of the Sputnik story, including why this has become the perfect platform for Docker, see below.

Before getting into today’s details I would like to thank the entire community for their patience and support as we’ve made our way to launch.

The 5th gen XPS 13 developer editionDino

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Augmented with the necessary hardware drivers, tools and utilities
  • 6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors
  • InfinityEdge™ display, FHD and QHD+ versions available
  • Availability: United Sates (Both Canada and Europe are being readied for launch as we speak, stay tuned for more details.)

Configurations: We are starting out with three i7 configs and plan to add an i5 option.  The i5 configuration will come with 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD and FHD NT.  The timing of the i5 config is dependent on the depletion of the current inventory on hand. — Update: i5 config available as of April 7

All of these  XPS 13 developer edition configurations come with the Intel wireless card.

i7/8GB

  • 256GB, QHD+T, Intel 8260

i7/16GB

  • 512GB, QHD+T, Intel 8260
  • 1TB, QHD+T, Intel 8260

i5/8GB

  • 256GB, FHD NT, Intel 8260

The Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstation line

22029-smb-laptop-precision-5510t-262x157The Precision mobile workstation line up is composed of four systems.  Joining the Precision 5510, successor to the M3800, we have added the Precision 3510, 7510 and 7710 mobile workstations.

This represents our complete Precision mobile workstation portfolio.  All of the systems below are fully configurable.

Dell™ Precision 5510, mobile workstation

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Next generation of the world’s thinnest and lightest true 15” mobile workstation
  • PremierColor™ 4K InfinityEdge™ display
  • Starting weight of just 3.93lbs (1.78kg) and a form factor that is less than 0.44” (11.1mm) thick
  • Up to: 6th generation Intel Xeon mobile quad-core processor, professional grade NVIDIA Quadro M1000M graphics, and 32GB of memory
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Availability: worldwide

Dell™ Precision 3510, mobile workstation

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Affordable, fully configurable 15” mobile workstation
  • Up to: 6th generation Intel Xeon mobile quad-core processor, professional grade graphics, and up to 32GB of memory
  • FullHD (1920×1080) anti-glare matte screen option plus optional touchscreen
  • Availability: worldwide

Dell™ Precision 7510, mobile workstation 

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • World’s most powerful 15” mobile workstation
  • Up to: 6th generation Intel Xeon mobile quad-core processor, professional grade graphics, 3TB of storage and 64GB of memory
  • PremierColor™ UltraSharp™ 4K UltraHD (3840×2160) screen option
  • Availability: worldwide

Dell™ Precision 7710, mobile workstation 

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • World’s most powerful 17” mobile workstation
  • Up to: 6th generation Intel Xeon mobile quad-core processor, professional grade graphics, 4TB of storage and 64GB of memory
  • PremierColor™ UltraSharp™ 4K UltraHD (3840×2160) anti-glare screen option
  • Availability: worldwide

Ordering a Precision:  To get to the Ubuntu option, click on the “Customize & Buy” button on the system landing page.  Select Ubuntu Linux in the Operating System section and away you go!

Towers and racks too:  In case you didn’t know, we also have a portfolio of fixed Precision workstations — tower and rack — that are available with Ubuntu.

OTA (Over-The-Air) Fixes

There were several minor fixes that were not available in time for launch but have been made available as over the air updates so make sure to run all Ubuntu updates.  These fixes pertain to both the XPS 13 and Precisions.

In addition to the OTA fixes,  there is a wireless OOBE issue that will be fixed in the factory in the coming weeks.   Until then, please follow the following directions http://www.dell.com/support/article/SLN301251

16.04LTS

With regards to updates, although 16.04LTS will be shipping next month, we don’t have a date for when factory installation will become available.  That being said, we do plan to support 16.04 LTS for those who choose to upgrade.

To upgrade to the latest LTS, please follow the instructions at http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/upgrade

Project Sputnik — A quick history

How we turned a $40K investment into 10’s of millions of dollars in revenue by focusing on developers.

From humble beginnings

As many of you may know Project Sputnik, as this effort is called, originated with a pitch made to an internal innovation fund four years SputnikScientist2ago.  The fund provided a small pot of money (the $40K mentioned above) and six months to see if the idea of a developer laptop would fly.  A couple months after we had been given the green light, on May 7, 2012 we announced the project publically asking the community what they would like to see in a developer laptop.

A rough ISO was provided for people to kick the tires and folks were told that if we got enough interest we might be able to turn this project into a product.  10 weeks later, thanks to the amazing interest we received around our beta program, we got the OK to turn project Sputnik into an actual product and in November of 2012 the XPS 13 developer edition became available.

You say you want an evolution

As the project has evolved we have continued to solicit and incorporate feedback.  Thanks to your support the XPS 13 developer edition has gone from one, to multiple configs.

On the higher end, we kept getting requests to add a larger system to the lineup.  OS architect Jared Dominguez took note of this and spent a bunch of late nights putting together instructions on how to get Ubuntu running on the Precision M3800.  From here interest kept mounting and a year later the Ubuntu-based M3800 became an official product.  As of today this original workstation offering has expanded to four systems.

DevOps, Cloud launcher and Docker

One of the big ideas we had when we first kicked off project Sputnik was that it would be a DevOps platform.  A key piece of this platformSputnik+Docker
would be a “cloud launcher” that would allow developers to create apps within “micro clouds” on their laptops and then deploy said apps to a public or private cloud.  Unfortunately this turned out to be a lot more difficult than we had hoped and we put it on hold.

As luck would have it however, a couple of years later Docker serendipitously came along.  Docker containers provide the functionality of our envisioned cloud launcher, allowing applications created locally to be pushed, as is, to the cloud.  Because Docker containers run on Linux, with our Ubuntu-based systems, developers can run the containers natively rather than within a virtualized environment like they would on other platforms.

Forward march

Stay tuned to see how, with your support and input, project Sputnik will continue to evolve.  Once again, thanks for all the support and stay tuned for the Canadian and European roll outs!

Extra-Credit reading

Pau for now

 


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