Project Sputnik: Want to join the cause?

December 18, 2019

Passionate about Linux? About Developers? We‚Äôll have we got the opportunity for you. ūüėä

The Project Sputnik team is planning to beef up our efforts and we‚Äôre looking for a passionate soul to join the cause and help drive Dell’s line of developer laptops and workstations.

This individual would have an opportunity to handle community engagement, represent Dell at developer and open source events as well as shape the future of Dell’s Sputnik program. Live in Austin?  Even better!

Operators are standing by

If the above sounds exciting to you and you are diplomatic, intuitive, have a passion for coding and Linux please DM me at @barton808 on Twitter.  At this point we are gathering names of interested individuals and will reach back out in the new year.

Extra-credit reading

  • Dell Opens Up About Its Linux Efforts And Project Sputnik ‚Äď Forbes

Pau for now…


Sputnik turns 6! Presenting the folks behind it

November 29, 2018

Six years ago today the first Project Sputnik system appeared on dell.com.

It all started at the beginning of 2012 with a pitch to an internal innovation committee.  A month after the pitch, on the ides of March, the committee gave the go ahead for an exploratory project to test out the idea of a developer laptop.

The original XPS 13 developer edition

Thanks to the interest and support of the community, eight months later, the project became a product.

On November 29, 2012 the Dell XPS 13 developer edition was born.

 

It takes a village

Beyond the developer community, the reason why Project Sputnik is alive and thriving today is because of the support, both official and unofficial, from dozens of people across Dell.

These individuals have come from marketing, engineering, sales, finance, PR, operations… Here are some of the key contributors over the last six years

From then to now

With help from the folks above, Project Sputnik has continued to evolve.

The XPS 13 developer edition, which debuted with only one config and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, is now in its 7th generation, comes with Ubuntu 18.04 and boasts multiple configurations.  Along the way the project also expanded when the Linux-based mobile Precision workstation line joined the effort.

This year was a particularly busy one for the project with new versions of all five Sputnik platforms launching:

Thanks

Thanks once again to the community and everyone within Dell who has driven Project Sputnik from idea, to product, to product line.

Stay tuned and see where we go next!

 

Project Sputnik timeline

2012

  • Project Sputnik announced ‚ÄĒ¬†May 7, 2012
  • Project Sputnik to go from Pilot to¬†Product¬†‚ÄĒ¬†July 18, 2012
  • 1st gen Dell XPS 13 developer¬†edition in the US ‚ÄĒ¬†November 29, 2012

2013

  • 2nd gen developer edition in US and Europe ‚ÄĒ¬†February 18, 2013
  • 3rd gen developer edition in US along with instructions on getting Ubuntu up and running on a Precision 3800 mobile workstation ‚ÄĒ¬†November 15, 2013
  • 3rd gen developer edition in US and Europe ‚ÄĒ¬†December 20, 2013¬†

2015

  • Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation joins Project Sputnik¬† ‚ÄĒ¬†January 27, 2015
  • 4th gen Dell XPS 13 developer edition in US and Europe ‚ÄĒ¬†April 9, 2015

2016

  • 5th gen XPS 13 Developer Edition in US, Ubuntu-based Workstations (5510, 3510, 7510, 7720) available¬†worldwide¬†‚ÄĒ¬†March 3, 2016
  • 5th gen XPS 13 developer¬†edition in Europe ‚ÄĒ¬†March 31, 2016
  • 6th gen XPS 13 Developer Edition in Europe and US ‚ÄĒ¬†October 04, 2016

2017

  • Next gen Ubuntu-based Precision line-up announced, 5520 and 3520 available ‚ÄĒ¬†January 9, 2017
  • Precision 7520 and 7720 available ‚ÄĒ¬†March 18, 2017
  • Precision All-in-One available – April 18

2018

  • 7th gen XPS 13 Developer Edition in Europe and US ‚Äď January 4
  • Next gen Precision line announced, 3530 available ‚Äď March 24
  • Precision 7530 and 7730 available ‚Äď July 2
  • XPS 13 developer edition upgrades to 18.04 ‚Äď July 27
  • Precision 5530 available ‚Äď August 31

(For a detailed project history please see last year’s 5th anniversary blog)

Extra-credit reading: news and reviews

Overall program

  • An update from Dell‚Äôs Barton George on their Linux initiative Sputnik – Linux Unplugged (starts at 40min)

XPS 13 developer edition

 

Precision xx30 developer edition line

  • Dell Precision 5530 with Ubuntu Review ‚Äď Linux Unplugged (review starts at ~36min and goes to ~52min)
  • Dell Precision 5530, Ubuntu Pre-Installed – This Week in Linux¬† (13:44)
  • Dell Unveils New Ubuntu Laptops ‚ÄĒ¬†OMG!UBUNTU!
  • Dell Precision ‚ÄėDeveloper Edition‚Äô mobile workstations run Ubuntu Linux and are RHEL certified ‚Ästbetanews
  • Dell refreshes Precision laptops with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed ‚ÄstZDnet
  • Dell stuffs Intel Coffee Lake CPUs and Ubuntu into latest Precision workstations ‚ÄstThe Inquirer
  • Dell launches new Precision mobile workstation line-up powered by Ubuntu ‚ÄstSoftpedia
  • Dell Precision 5530 sale a la venta con Ubuntu y certificado para RHEL ¬Ľ MuyLinux
  • Welcome the new Dell Precision developer editions ‚ÄstBarton‚Äôs blog
  • Developer Editions of Precision Workstations Now Available ‚ÄĒ¬†Direct2DellEMC
  • Introducing the Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 with Ubuntu ‚ÄĒ¬†Ubuntu blog
  • Precision Developer Editions 7530/7730 now online ‚ÄĒ Welcome the power¬†pair ‚ÄstBarton‚Äôs blog

Pau for now…


XPS 13 Developer Edition — the 7th gen is here!

January 4, 2018

-> Updated June 22, 2018 – Three 16GB/FHD configs added to the line up in the US

-> Updated Jan 26, 2018 – Added list of countries that offer the XPS 13 developer edition offline.

Today I am excited to announce the availability of the 7th generation of the Ubuntu-based XPS 13 developer edition.¬† Project Sputnik’s latest and greatest system is now simultaneously available in¬†Europe, Canada and the United States.

The new XPS 13 developer edition (9370) features the 8th Generation Intel Quad Core, a brand new chassis, an improved display and smaller borders.

The 9370 is even thinner, lighter and smaller than its already svelte predecessor, the 9360.¬†(Note, the 9370 does not replace the 9360, as the two will coexist.)¬† If you want more detailed specs, please scroll down dear reader. Before we get to the product details however, here’s a quick Project Sputnik backgrounder.

Project Sputnik, a recap

It all started back in 2012 with the wacky idea of creating a high-end Linux laptop targeted at developers.   An internal innovation fund gave the scrappy project team a little bit of money and six months to see if this idea would fly.

From day one, project Sputnik publically solicited input from the developer community.  It was this input and the tremendous community support that pushed the effort from project to a product.

The initial XPS 13 developer edition, available only as one configuration, debuted on November 29, 2012.  Fast forward five years and not only are we announcing the 7th generation of that initial product but the project itself has now expanded to become a full line of developer-targeted systems.

US and Canadian configurations

In North America, as mentioned above, the new XPS 13 developer edition is available in both the US and Canada.  The following are the available configurations in the two countries (Note: the links below point to the US configurations).

CPU | Memory | Storage | Display

Available as of April 3, 2018

European configurations

The new XPS 13 developer edition is available online in Europe in the following countries:

Online: UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland (French and German), Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark.

In the following countries you can get a hold of the XPS 13 developer edition offline (phone or chat):

Offline: Czech Republic, Denmark, Emerging countries , Finland, Greece , Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, South Africa.

The following configurations are available both online and offline.

CPU | Memory | Storage | Display

  • i7 | 16GB |¬† ¬† ¬† 1TB | UHD touch (3840 x 2160)
  • i7 | 16GB | 512GB | UHD¬†touch (3840 x 2160)
  • i7 | 16GB | 512GB | FHD non-touch (1920 x 1080)
  • i7 |¬† 8GB | 256GB | FHD non-touch (1920 x 1080)

9370 Specifications

Here’s a bit more detail behind the system specs.¬† These options are available as noted above.

  • 8th Generation Intel¬ģ Quad Core‚ĄĘ, i5 (US and Canada only) and i7 versions
  • Memory options: 4GB, 8GB or 16GB Dual Channel SDRAM
  • Storage options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
  • Ports
    • 2x Thunderbolt‚ĄĘ 3
    • Noble lock slot
    • Headset jack
    • DC-In & DisplayPort 1x USB-C 3.1
    • MicroSD card reader
  • Display options
    • UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) InfinityEdge touch display
    • FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge display
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS preloaded
  • 1 year ProSupport

Who’d a thunk it

I gotta admit that five years ago the team and I would never have thought that we would be posting a blog announcing the 7th generation of the XPS 13 developer edition.  The thought of even a third generation would have bogled our minds.

Five years ago, thanks to the support of the community, Project Sputnik reached escape velocity.  This support, input and direction has not only continued but has grown over the last five years, enabling the Sputnik team to stop focusing on survival and instead focus on supporting a broader range of developer needs.

As we go forward, please keep driving us by sharing your input and experiences, be they be good, bad or ugly. ūüôā

Thanks!

Barton

Extra-credit reading

  • 2018 starts with the best Linux laptop by Dell – Swap and I discuss the new system – VIDEO
  • Meet the New XPS 13: Stylish, Powerful and Better by Every Measure – Direct2Dell
  • Line up — New XPS 13 developer edition —¬†¬†(9370)
  • Line up — XPS 13 developer edition — (9360)
  • Project Sputnik Turns¬†Five! – November 29, 2017
  • 2012 — year one
    • Project Sputnik announced ‚ÄĒ¬†May 7, 2012
    • Project Sputnik to go from Pilot to¬†Product¬†‚ÄĒ¬†July 18, 2012
    • 1st gen Dell XPS 13 developer¬†edition in the US ‚ÄĒ¬†November 29, 2012

Pau for now…


Project Sputnik Turns Five!

November 29, 2017

It was five years ago today, on November 29, 2012, that the first Project Sputnik system was launched.  Who would have thought we would have made it this far.

The reason why Project Sputnik is not only still around but keeps growing is because of the developer community.

In fact, without the input and support of the community, Project Sputnik would have been an interesting idea that disappeared after six months.

So how did we get here?

In the beginning

The project began back in early 2012 when I pitched the idea of creating a Linux-based developer laptop.  My audience was three guys in Dell who had put together an innovation fund and were asking employees to bring them their ideas.

When I made my pitch I stressed that in order to be successful, equally as important as what we created, was how we created it.¬† Development of the system needed to be in the open, and based on input directly from the developer community.¬† The committee asked me a few questions and told me they’d¬†get back to me.

Ready, set, go

A month later I heard back from the committee.  They had given me the thumbs up, a little pot of money and six months to see if the idea of a developer laptop would fly.  From there I recruited some top and passionate talent and we had ourselves a team.

We started by cobbling together an initial install image that people could test.  In parallel we also sanity checked the idea with a local developers and a couple of web companies.  Since nobody threw up on the idea, on May 7, 2012 we went public.

The power of the community

In the blog post¬†that introduced Project Sputnik we explained that project was “a six¬†month effort to explore the possibility of creating an open source laptop targeted directly at developers.”¬† We pointed people at our rough install image and asked them to head to the Storm Session¬†we had created and submit feedback, comments and ideas.

The amount of interest and input our initial post generated far exceeded anything we expected.  From there interest kept growing.  The tipping point however, came in response to our beta program.  We asked interested individuals to submit an online form.  We expected a few hundred responses, we got over 6,000.  Senior management was convinced and from there it was the march to launch.

 

Lift off and beyond

On November 29, 2012, a little over 6 months after the initial blog post, the first XPS 13 developer edition became available.¬† This first system, which came preloaded with¬†Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and 1 year pro support, was available only as one configuration.¬† We chose to go with the highest end config we offered:¬† 3rd gen Intel core i7 (Ivy Bridge), 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and a screen resolution of 1366×768.

Less than two months later the second generation XPS 13 developer edition was launched.  From there the line has continued to grow and grow (see timeline below).  We will soon be introducing the 7th generation XPS 13 developer edition and over this past year we have rolled out four Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstations as well as the new Precision All in One.

Thank you

On behalf of myself and the whole Sputnik team we would like to thank the developer community for making project Sputnik possible.¬† Over the last five years you have¬†let us know what you’ve liked and where we could do better.¬† It’s because of this amazing support that we are still here today.

Thank you!

Project timeline

2012

2013

  • 2nd gen developer edition in US and Europe —¬†February 18, 2013
  • 3rd gen developer edition in US along with instructions on getting Ubuntu up and running on a Precision 3800 mobile workstation —¬†November 15, 2013
  • 3rd gen developer edition in US and Europe —¬†December 20, 2013¬†

2015

  • Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation joins Project Sputnik¬† —¬†January 27, 2015
  • 4th gen Dell XPS 13 developer edition in US and Europe —¬†April 9, 2015

2016

  • 5th gen XPS 13 Developer Edition in US, Ubuntu-based Workstations (5510, 3510, 7510, 7720) available¬†worldwide¬†—¬†March 3, 2016
  • 5th gen XPS 13 developer¬†edition in Europe —¬†March 31, 2016
  • 6th gen XPS 13 Developer Edition in Europe and US —¬†October 04, 2016

2017

2018

  • 7th gen XPS 13 developer edition to become available

 

Extra-credit reading

  • Original input from the community with regards to what they wanted in a developer laptop – Dell Idea Storm
  • Dell, Developers & Desktop Linux: the story of Dell’s project Sputnik –¬†Video interview
  • How Dell‚Äôs Project Sputnik came to life –¬†CIO.com
  • Project Sputnik News & Reviews, 2012 – 2017

 

Pau for now…


Video Interviews from Cloud Foundry Summit

August 10, 2017

Back in June I attended the Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara, CA and grabbed a bunch of interviews.  As an example, here is a quick summary of the summit as seen through the eyes of Tech evangelist and commentator Ben Kepes:

Ben Kepes

  • Ben¬† talks about the great vibe and community as well as how Cloud Foundry and ‚Äúserverless‚ÄĚ computing do or do not fit together.
  • He also gives his thoughts about what over the next year, Cloud Foundry needs to do and watch out for.
  • Ben ends by talking about what he thinks is the most exciting technology/development out there today (spoiler alert, its developer tools).

Some context

Before we get to the rest of the videos here are some quick notes:

There was a bunch of announcements at the event, two of the biggest being Microsoft joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation and the announcement of the Foundation’s inclusion of the Kubo project which is designed to help manage containers using Kubernetes by applying Cloud Foundry’s BOSH.

On the Dell EMC ¬†side we gave a bunch of talks and had a booth where we showed of the work that our “Dojo” is doing in writing and contributing code to the Cloud Foundry foundation. ¬†We also featured our¬†Native Hybrid Cloud offering, which is a turnkey developer platform based on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

Interviews from the front 

Below are the rest of the videos I captured at Cloud Foundry Summit.  Featured are representatives of Google, Datadog, GE Predix, the Cloud Foundry foundation, anynines and Dell EMC.

Enjoy!

Datadog: 

  • Ray Colletti of Datadog talks about what they do, where they‚Äôve been and where they‚Äôre going.¬† (Datadog is infrastructure monitoring platform that plays well with everyone from Cloud Foundry to AWS to Azure to Google Cloud and more).
  • Ray discusses how Datadog has adapted to the changes in the industry over the last four years, the announcement of Datadog‚Äôs official Cloud Foundry integration and general integrations with other ecosystem players.
  • He ends by discussing their focus on alerts over the next year.

 

Native Hybrid Cloud: 

  • Drew Dimmick of Dell EMC‚Äôs Native Hybrid Cloud team talks about what this Pivotal Cloud Foundry-based offering is made of and what it allows organizations to do.
  • Drew talks about Dell EMC‚Äôs value-add on top of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the Developer Workbench. The Workbench is made up of the Access tool as well as Fractal.
  • He also explains the different focuses of Native Hybrid Cloud and Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.

 

Kubo: 

  • Chip Childers, CTO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation talks about Kubo which just joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
  • Kubo is a packaging of Kubernetes that can be deployed by Cloud Foundry‚Äôs ‚ÄúBOSH‚ÄĚ onto any cloud infrastructure.
  • Chip also discusses Microsoft joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

 

anynines: 

  • Talking to Julian Fischer, founder and CEO of anynines which is based in Germany. AnyNines‚Äô main focus is building data services around Cloud Foundry.
  • Julian see‚Äôs the Cloud Foundry runtime as one of its key assets but became aware of its need for production grade data services. As a result they have chosen to focus on these services.
  • Key segments they focus on are insurance and manufacturing which are currently undergoing digital transformation.

 

Google Cloud Platform

  • Colleen Bryant of Google talks about her team which handles Open source integration with google cloud platform as well as her specific focus on the GCP service broker for Cloud Foundry.
  • She explains how Cloud Foundry, GCE (Google‚Äôs VM offering) and GCP all work together as well as what the heck‚Äôs a ‚Äútile.‚ÄĚ

 

GE Predix

  • Talking with Ryan Bohm, a Developer evangelist within GE digital, focusing on their Predix Platform.
  • Ryan talks about their Cloud Foundry-based platform and its focus on the Industrial Internet of Things and specifically the analysis of big data.
  • She explains their efforts to build their developer program and the dev certification program they launched recently.

 

Extra-credit reading

Cloud Foundry Summit-related news

Video playlists from other events

Pau for now…


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…


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‚Äôve 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¬ģ Core‚ĄĘ Processors
  • InfinityEdge‚ĄĘ 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‚ĄĘ Precision 5510, mobile workstation

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Next generation of the world‚Äôs thinnest and lightest true 15‚ÄĚ mobile workstation
  • PremierColor‚ĄĘ 4K InfinityEdge‚ĄĘ display
  • Starting weight of just 3.93lbs (1.78kg) and a form factor that is less than 0.44‚ÄĚ (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‚ĄĘ Precision 3510, mobile workstation

  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Affordable, fully configurable 15‚ÄĚ 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‚ĄĘ Precision 7510, mobile workstation¬†

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

Dell‚ĄĘ Precision 7710, mobile workstation¬†

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

Ordering a Precision:¬† To get to the Ubuntu option, click on the ‚ÄúCustomize & Buy‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúcloud launcher‚ÄĚ that would allow developers to create apps within ‚Äúmicro clouds‚ÄĚ 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

 


4th gen Dell XPS 13 developer edition available!

April 9, 2015

I would first like to thank everyone for their patience and support as we worked through various bugs that¬†crept up. ¬†This has taken longer than we¬†would have liked but I’m happy to say that as of today, the Dell XPS 13 developer edition is now available in the United States, Canada¬†and Europe!

A short history

As many of you may known, the developer edition began its life as Project Sputnik.  Funded by an Image result for images sputnikinternal incubation fund set up to drive innovation within Dell, Sputnik went from open-ended exploratory project to official product within nine months.

The entire program was conducted in the open in order to¬†identify what you ‚ÄĒ developers ‚ÄĒ demanded in an ideal Ubuntu-based laptop. It was also your interest and support that drove Sputnik¬†from project to product.

At the beginning of the year we launched an expansion to the line, the Precision M3800 developer edition, and today we are announcing the availability of the 4th generation of the XPS 13 developer edition.

General specifications of new Dell XPS 13 developer edition (see configs below. Note we realize that some of the tech specs are incorrect, they are in the queue to be fixed.  We made the decision to go ahead launch since we have had so much interest and we wanted to make it orderable as soon as possible)

  • Ubuntu 14.04*
  • 5th Generation Intel¬ģ Core‚ĄĘ i5-5200U or¬†i7-5500U
  • 13.3-inch infinity display
  • 8GB¬†Dual Channel DDR3L at 1600MHz
  • Intel (R) HD Graphics 5500
  • 1 Year ProSupport with Next Business Day Onsite Service
  • 2.8 lbs

* We recommend that users use the factory shipped Ubuntu image with the XPS 13 with at least BIOS A02.  We do however recognize that users will want to use other Linux distributions, Ubuntu versions or kernel versions so we’ve assembled a list to indicate problems users should expect with other distros.  In general you will have the best experience on the latest in development distributions with newer kernels.  For more information and instructions please see the technical notes at the end of this post.

US/Canada configurations:

i5/8GB

  • 128GB, Non Touch FHD (1920×1080)
  • 256GB, Touch TL QHD (2560×1440)

i7/8GB

  • 256GB,¬†Touch TL QHD+ ¬†(3200×1800)
  • 512GB,¬†Touch TL QHD+ ¬†(3200×1800)

Europe configurations/Countries

The XPS 13 developer edition is available in both the consumer and business channels in the following countries:

  • Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom

European configurations

  • i5/8GB —¬†256GB, Touch TL FHD¬†(1920×1080)
  • i7/8GB —¬†512GB,¬†Touch TL QHD+ ¬†(3200×1800)

A big shout out

I wanted to give recognition and a big thanks to the members of our small but mighty Sputnik core team: Mario Limonciello, Jared Dominguez, Amber Huang and Amit Bhutani.  These are the folks who have worked their butts off and made this a reality!

Technical Notes:

Updated April 16, 2015: new information with regards to current status quo from some people who have used Debian as well as 4.0 updates.

Updating to BIOS A02 or later

  1. Download the executable from support.dell.com and save it to a FAT32 formatted USB disk.
  2. Reboot the computer.
  3. At the Dell POST screen, press F12 to bring up the BIOS boot menu.
  4. Select the option to flash the BIOS.
  5. In the popup menu, select your USB disk and select the BIOS executable.
  6. Follow on screen directions.

Systems shipped with A01 or A00 BIOS

If you purchased the machine with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and it contains BIOS A00 or BIOS A01, please update the BIOS to A02 or later.  If you choose to run a kernel version earlier than 3.15 you should also append the following to your kernel command line:

psmouse.resetafter=0

If you machine was shipped with A02 or later, you will not need this kernel command line change.  The developer edition units will ship with A02 or later.

Ubuntu 14.04

Ubuntu 14.04 includes kernel 3.13.  The touchpad will run in PS2 mode and the soundcard will run in HDA mode.  Currently (4/15) out of the box the HDA microphone will not work, and you will need some packages from the factory shipped image to make it work properly.  The patches needed for microphone support are available here:

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=e1e62b98ebddc3234f3259019d3236f66fc667f8

and

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=f3b703326541d0c1ce85f5e570f6d2b6bd4296ec

Ubuntu 14.10

Ubuntu 14.10 includes kernel 3.16.

With BIOS A00 or BIOS A01 the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound will not function.  Please update to at least BIOS A02 and the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound in HDA mode.  Currently (4/15) the microphone will not work and you will these patches for microphone support: https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=e1e62b98ebddc3234f3259019d3236f66fc667f8

and

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=f3b703326541d0c1ce85f5e570f6d2b6bd4296ec

 

Ubuntu 15.04

Ubuntu 15.04 includes kernel 3.19.

With BIOS A00 or BIOS A01 the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound will not function.  Please update to at least BIOS A02 and the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound in HDA mode.  (4/15) All of the relevant patches have been backported and all functions will work out of the box.

Fedora 21

Fedora 21 includes kernel version 3.17.  With BIOS A00 or BIOS A01 the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound will not function.  Please update to at least BIOS A02 and the touchpad will run in I2C mode and the sound in HDA mode.  Currently (4/15) the microphone will not work.  You can track the backporting of the patches here: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1188741

Debian 7.0

We recommend that Debian 7.0 users upgrade to a kernel 4.0 and apply those two patches.  The above notations will apply to Debian 7.0 then.

Debian 8.0

Debian 8.0 will use kernel 3.16.  With BIOS A00 or BIOS A01 the touchpad will operate in I2C mode and sound will not work.  The system will fail to suspend and resume due to a bug in the touchpad driver.  This patch: https://github.com/torvalds/linux/commit/109571cf3ec78a39477eedd6b11927f52cbcb1e8

Will need to be backported for it to work properly.

With BIOS A02 the touchpad will operate in I2C mode and the sound in HDA mode.  Currently (4/8) the microphone will not work.  The patches needed for microphone support are available here:

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=e1e62b98ebddc3234f3259019d3236f66fc667f8

and

https://git.kernel.org/cgit/linux/kernel/git/tiwai/sound.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=f3b703326541d0c1ce85f5e570f6d2b6bd4296ec

We recommend for Debian 8.0 users upgrade to kernel 4.0 and apply the two extra microphone patches.

Also, there are some problems with the xserver-xorg-video-intel package today with Debian 8.0.  You’ll presently (4/15) need to backport from experimental to resolve them.  More details are available here: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=782690

Other Notes

Extra credit reading

  • Designed for developers ‚Äď Dell launches two new Ubuntu-based systems — Ubuntu insights

Pau for now…


Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS, what its about and where Dell fits in

November 18, 2014

The next interview in my series from Dell World features Julio Tapia of Red Hat. ¬†Julio is a global director for Red Hat’s platform as a service, OpenShift.

I got Julio to give me a quick overview of OpenShift, where Dell plays and what they are planning going forward.

Some of the ground Julio covers

  • Who is OpenShift targeted at and how does it benefit developers
  • The three flavors: Online (Public PaaS), Enterprise (Private PaaS) and Origin (Community PaaS)
  • How Dell is working with OpenShift and the DevOps in a Box they both announced
  • The role Docker plays
  • What’s in store for next year and how their work with Google and¬†Kubernetes will help ISVs

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


App Think Tank: The skills and people IT needs most

April 22, 2014

Yesterday I featured the first¬†of three videos that¬†tackle the topic — the skills CIOs and IT need¬†for success. ¬†Today‚Äôs video features Ranga Jayaraman, Associate Dean and CIO of the Graduate School of Business at Stanford.

Ranga responds to the question, how would you set up your IT environment today if you had the luxury of starting completely afresh.  With regards to the people and skills he would assemble, Ranga talks about the importance of IT people who understand the business and can act quickly.  He also discusses the difference between developers in an IT shop and those in a product shop and how open source and reusable frameworks have served to make the IT developer much more powerful.  Take a listen.

Ranga’s right

I would say whether your starting from a greenfield environment or improving on your current set up that Ranga is right, you need IT people who understand the business and not just the technology. ¬† Its no longer ok to simply be a¬†tech¬†expert, its about what’s most important for the customer and business and being able to move and adapt quickly. ¬†These messages will continue to crop up as we go through the rest of videos.

These videos were taken from a think tank Dell Services held back in January in Silicon Valley which featured a panel representative of old school and new school companies, big and small.

Still to come

Later this week, I will have the last video on this initial topic, What the CIO of the future must do. ¬†Next weeks’ series will focus on the topic Applications and software strategy and the week after that I will conclude with Cloud and Infrastructure thoughts.

The Think Tank, Sessions one and two

Extra-credit reading (previous videos)

Pau for now…


24 Hours of Pizza-fueled Innovation

March 7, 2014

RevoltTV

Postponed:  Over the weekend, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to postpone our first hackathon.  Stay tuned for more details.

Im very psyched to announce Dell’s first Hackathon which will be happening next week right here in Austin.

The Dell Center for Entrepreneurs and Dell Software Information Management Solutions are teaming up with music and entertainment television network, Revolt TV  for this 24 hour code-battle.

The event, which will take place at the #DellVenue, kicks off on Monday, March 10th and ends 24 grueling hours later at noon next day.

The Challenge

The task at hand is for the developers to create an app against the Revolt API that is based around Music, Videos, and/or Artists and their data.¬† Revolt has put together their wish list of apps and functionality they‚Äôd love to see created, but sky‚Äôs the limit (within 24 hours ūüėČ

Applications that can be used

  • Windows Phone 8
  • Xbox
  • Android
  • Node.js
  • .NET

Databases that can be used

  • MS SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • MongoDB
  • Redis

The competition is limited to 50 developers who can form teams of up to five people.  At noon on March 11th the teams will present their work to a panel of judges and 3 team-finalists will be chosen.  All panelists will receive a badge to the Fader Fort for the preview party that night, with the winning team announced at the event.

The Reward

The top finalists will receive products and swag from Revolt and Dell.

  • The grand prize winning team receives $2,500 and the chance to work with Revolts‚Äô team to integrate their app.
  • XPS13Im also particularly proud to say that each member of the winning team will receive the Ubuntu-based¬†XPS13 developer edition aka Project Sputnik.¬† But wait, there‚Äôs more‚Ķall developer finalists get a free 1 year license of Dell Software‚Äôs Toad Data Point. ¬†ūüôā

Want in?

If this sounds like something you like to take part in, we are taking the first 50 devs who sign up here.  Who knows, you could be one of Dell’s first ever Hackathon champions.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


“New Age of Apps” Think Tank to be streamed Live

January 21, 2014

On Thursday, January 23 Dell services will be hosting a think tank in Silicon Valley at the venture capital firm NEA.  While hosted in the Bay Area, the event will be streamed live for viewing around the world.

The title of the Think Tank is “The new age of apps and delivery gaps” and we have put together a group of 10 panelist that we feel represents a cross-section of technology and IT today:

  • Barry Libenson-SVP and CIO,¬† Safeway
  • Jay Ferro ‚ÄstCIO, American Cancer Society
  • Ranga Jayaraman-¬†Associate Dean & CIO,¬† Stanford GSB
  • Luke Kanies – Founder & CEO, Puppet Labs
  • Alex Salazar – Co-Founder & CEO, Stormpath
  • Alex Williams – Blogger & Journalist, TechCrunch
  • Michael Cote ‚Äď Research Director, Infrastructure Software at 451 Research
  • Sarah Novotny- Tech Evangelist, NGINX
  • Das Kamhout – IT Principal Engineer, Intel
  • Jimmy Pike – Sr. Fellow and Chief Architect, Dell

I will be acting as the moderator of the panel.

Join in

The event will begin at 9AM Pacific Time, and last for three and a half hours. The event will be divided into two main sessions and we’ll discuss such topics as the influence of application developers, the changing role of the CIO and why firms need to build API strategies  (see the session outlines below for more details)  You can follow and contribute questions and comments via Twitter at #TheAppGap.   Hope you can make it!

Session Outlines

Session 1- Welcome to the application-centric world ‚Äď best practices in the ‚Äėgreenfield‚Äô ¬† ¬†

The rise of cloud applications force companies to reevaluate their business architectures. ¬†Leveraging new platforms, organizations can operate more efficiently, better engage with customers, and introduce innovative products and services faster than ever before.¬† In this session we‚Äôll discuss and debate how to effectively leverage the best of today‚Äôs advanced (digital) technologies and capitalize on the opportunity for a ‚Äėgreenfield‚Äô approach.

*Questions

  1. What would you do different to be ready for the digital age?  Entrepreneurs starting a company today, what are the architecture and design choices you’d recommend?
  2. What plans would you put in place to leverage cloud, big data, mobile and social media?  What would your API strategy be?
  3. How would you plan for growth over a 3-5 year horizon?

Session 2: Nexus of forces – CIOs under pressure and the rise of the enterprise developer

While CIOs are under pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency, enterprise developers have become the new ‚Äėkingmakers‚Äô leading product development and customer applications.¬† Our experts will share experiences in managing these complex stakeholder relationships, brainstorm the way out from technical debt and examine the possibilities within existing applications.

*Questions:

  1. How do organizations evolve legacy existing environments to take advantage of emerging trends ‚Äď what are the breakthrough processes and technologies?
  2. What does the CIO needs to do to re-connect with business leaders and organizational strategies? What roles do CIOs, CTOs, business and developers play?
  3. How do established companies take advantage of the changes that are happening today?   i.e. private/public cloud strategies, apps modernization, leveraging new architectures, API strategies.

Pau for now…


DevOps Days NYC: Mark Imbriaco of GitHub

January 6, 2014

Here is the first in a series of interviews I conducted in October at DevOps Days NYC.  My first interview is with Mark Imbriaco, ops dude extraordinaire at GitHub who previously ran ops for 37signals, Heroku, and LivingSocial.

GitHub, if you’re not familiar with it is a code hoster that boasts around 5 million users and close to 10 million individual repositories. ¬†Through the magic of its “pull request” feature it has vastly increased participation in open source projects and accelerated innovation. ¬†Listen to Mark and learn more.

Some of the ground Mark covers:

  • How did GitHub rise to prominence and eclipse SourceForge as the developer repository of choice
  • Success Metrics
  • GitHubs architecture
  • What are GitHubs challenges as it moves forward
  • How the “pull request,” the killer app of GitHub, work

Extra-credit reading:

Pau for now…


Insight into the technology behind Goldman Sachs

December 17, 2013

Last week I attended the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas.  I went to talk to customers, do booth duty (I talked about the app-centric world and how IT can best respond to it) and check out a few sessions.

The best session I attended was a power-point-free discussion with Don Duet, Co-head of Goldman Sach’s Technology division. ¬†Below are a few of the things that Don talked about and comments he made which I thought were particularly interesting. ¬†It’s not just web companies that are pushing the technology envelope.

Goldman’s Technology

  • Goldman Sachs’ has 36,000 employees, 6,000 of which are developers (10,000 people in tech overall). ¬†They have 30 PB’s of data. ¬†They support their employees with half a million cores.
  • Goldman builds their infrastructure around their applications
  • Goldman’s four Big Bets
    • Commodity computing
    • Software defined everything
    • Drive everything in infrastructure from an application perspective
    • Open Source and Open Standards
  • Don and team do an exercise where they talk about how they would architect Goldman if they were starting fresh today (“Goldman 2.0”)
  • “It’s harder and harder to tell where the business stops and IT begins”
  • “Most of our infrastructure should be able, over time, to migrate to the public cloud (once security gets better)”

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


IDC predicts fierce battle for developers in 2014

December 16, 2013

A couple of weeks ago IDC put out their predictions for 2014, saying “2014 Will Be a Year of Escalation, Consolidation, and Innovation as the Transition to IT’s “3rd Platform” Accelerates.”

The part that really caught my eye was the the second half of the following sentence:

“In 2014, we’ll see every major player make big investments to scale up cloud, mobile, and big data capabilities, and fiercely battle for the hearts and minds of the developers who will create the solutions driving the next two decades of IT spending.” — ¬†Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC

We have entered the app-centric world and companies that don’t seek to understand or serve developers will, at best, ¬†find themselves at a severe disadvantage.

Pau for now…


Whitepaper: Learning from Web Companies to drive Innovation

December 4, 2013

Web-WhitepapercoverToday I finally get to debut a white paper that Michael Cote, now of the 451 Research, and I started quite a while back:

Learning from Web companies to drive Innovation ‚Äď Embracing DevOps, Scale and Open Source Software

The basic theme of the paper is that Web companies set the agenda for the IT industry and enterprises can benefit by understanding and following their practices

The paper’s key themes:

  • Web companies are characterized by Open Source software and a three-tiered architecture:
    • A scale out infrastructure
    • A data tier that utilizes big data
    • An application tier supported by a proliferation of development languages
  • Developers are kingmakers and must be supported and allowed to innovate
  • DevOps is a key trend that brings developers and operations together to reduce friction and increase velocity

If this looks at all interesting, please check it out. ¬†It should be a quick read and hopefully we’ve written it in away that is accessible to a wide audience.

Extra-credit viewing

Pau for now…


Introducing Sputnik 3 and its unofficial big brother

November 15, 2013

Sputnik3

Sputnik 3

First, a little background.  Nearly a year ago today we launched the first Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.  This Ubuntu-based client-to-cloud platform was the result of an internal skunkworks effort, Project Sputnik.  Thanks to strong community input and support the project became a product.

Within a few months of launching the initial XPS 13 Developer Edition (Sputnik 1), we introduced ‚ÄúSputnik 2‚ÄĚ solving for the biggest issue with the first release, monitor resolution.

Today we are announcing the availability of Sputnik 3, the XPS 13 Developer Edition featuring the 4th generation Intel processors. This laptop, which is touch-enabled, will replace the existing XPS 13 Developer Edition.

ubuntu_black-orange_hexAnd since we’re talking about systems and Ubuntu, in response to the continuous requests for a more powerful version of the Developer Edition, we have taken the first steps by doing some testing on the Precision M3800 and posting the results.

This system news is on the back of our announcement earlier this week about the relaunching of the Profile Tool effort and our request for input from you all.

The Sputnik 3 Product specs are as follows:

  • XPS13-DEProcessor: 4th generation Intel i7
  • Display: 13.3‚Ä≥ Full High Definition touch display (1080p)
  • System memory: 8GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD graphics 4440 (HD 5000 in the case of the enterprise version)
  • Hard drive: 256GB SSD drive
  • Standard Service: 1 year Dell ProSupport and onsite service after remote diagnostics
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • Community projects: Cloud launcher and Profile tool (for more info see Tuesday‚Äôs update)

Availability of Sputnik 3

Starting today the updated XPS 13 Developer Edition is available in the

Pricing for the system will not increase and will remain $1,549.99

Early next week the Developer Edition will be available in Canada.

For North America, the US and Canada, in addition to the i7 configuration, there will also be an i5/128GB config  that will be available on a build-to-order basis and priced at $1249.99.

By the end of November, the Developer Edition will be available in

[Update 12/20/13: Sputnik 3 now available in Europe]

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Switzerland

Europe РWave 2:  Available in December

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Sweden

Testing Ubuntu on the Precision M3800 mobile workstation

While the XPS 13 has proven to be very popular with developers, since we started

Dell Precision M3800

Dell Precision M3800

project Sputnik there has been a group in the community that has been asking for a ‚Äúbig brother‚ÄĚ for the XPS 13 developer edition, i.e. a system with 16GB of RAM that offered a larger screen and more horsepower.

With the above in mind, when Project Sputnik team member Jared Dominguez learned about the sleek new  Precision M3800 that was coming out, he finagled his way into getting a system to do some testing.

You can find Jared‚Äôs detailed results here but the net is ‚ÄúFor the most part, everything [he] tested works,‚ÄĚ the one exception being the SD card reader. ¬†¬†The resourceful Jared then shipped his system to Chris Ball, a buddy of his that maintains the SD/MMC/SDIO subsystem of the Linux kernel, and who graciously agreed to volunteer time debugging the Linux driver for this card reader.¬† We will keep you updated on the progress.

So while Jared’s testing is not official it should be enough to get most devs going running Ubuntu  on the M3800.  And like the initial project Sputnik offering, if we get enough positive feedback, we might be able to offer it as an official pre-installed offering.

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Project Sputnik Profile Tool: Dell commits engineering resources, Docker joins the cause and we want your input!

November 12, 2013

Sputnik_Sticker_FinalWhen we first introduced Project Sputnik over a year ago we talked about two community projects: the profile tool and the cloud launcher.  We garnered a fair amount of attention and made some progress but unfortunately not as much as I would have liked.  I am very happy to report therefore that recently we have put together an intrepid group of developers and architects within Dell to pick up the profile tool charge.

While we’ve had a few false starts in the past, besides the addition of committed Dell resources, there are a couple of other things that set this time apart: 1) we are starting from an internal use case and 2) we are working with and leveraging some of the work of Docker.

And just like when project Sputnik originally kicked off, we want to get your input and feedback on the Profile Tool and its direction (see a few paragraphs down for what specifically we are looking to you all for).

Internal need

Scratching your own itch is a key component to any self-respecting open source project. Read on to see where ours came in. A group within the Enstratius team, which we acquired back in the Spring, is switching to Sputniks (Dell XPS 13 developer edition) as their primary laptop. One thing that team member John Vincent was tasked with doing was getting these new systems set up quickly for the team. He was looking for a way to automate the process when his boss suggested he check out what we were hoping to do with the profile tool.  John liked what he saw so much that he joined the team.

Besides this representation from the Enstratius team, the Sputnik team also includes members from Dell Services’ office of the CTO and the Dell Cloud Services development and architecture team.

Working with the Docker crew

DockerRather than re-inventing the wheel, and to help provide perspective, we are now working with the folks from Docker.  They will be giving us their feedback, helping with integration and creating a Go profile.

As their CEO Ben Golub said, ‚ÄúThe Dell team has delivered real benefits for the developer community through Project Sputnik and we expect same from the profile tool. We‚Äôre committed to working with their team to provide the best possible integration with Docker so those benefits continue to grow.‚ÄĚ

Profile tool: Some details and a quick POC

The idea behind the profile tool is to enable a developer to quickly set up an environment without cluttering up their system.¬† This applies whether it is a ‚Äúclean‚ÄĚ computer for a new hire or a new project for an existing team member where the developer needs to use a new language or tool-chain.

A profile is basically a collection of simple YAML files, stored in a pre-determined directory structure, which specify one or more of the following:

  • Language: ¬†a programming language e.g. Python, Ruby, JavaScript
  • Framework: ¬†a language-specific software platform which simplifies the programming task (e.g. Django, Rails, Node.js)
  • Library: ¬†an additional software component, such jinja2 or numpy for Python
  • Service: a software service used by the project, such as a database or message queue

To use a profile, it is downloaded to the developer’s machine, and an isolated environment (Linux container) is automatically created using Docker if it is part of the profile.

Input from the community

Here is the Profile Tool repository on Github and to give you a feel for how the profile tool might work, here is a¬†quick POC¬†(note that these actions aren’t actually being executed. We’re just logging them as if we were).

We would love to get your input. Some of the different ways you can contribute are as follows:

  • Open issues on this repository with suggestions on proposed definition syntax
  • Fork the repository and propose your own definition for a language
  • Share this initiative with your respective communities
  • Offer insight into how your community or company can use this
  • Be honest and tell us what works and what doesn’t

While almost everything is open to modification, we have a few small requirements.

  • The definition format MUST be YAML. YAML was chosen because it allows the appropriate data structures, is both human- and machine-readable and allows comments
  • Respect the goals of minimalism and composition defined above
  • This is based on Ubuntu 12.04 amd64 (for now) as the primary use case is for inclusion in the Sputnik laptop

We will be soliciting feedback for the next three weeks so please get us your thoughts by December 3.

What about the cloud tool?

We haven’t forgotten about the cloud tool, which allows you to deploy your applications to the cloud.  While you can currently use Linux containers and JuJu to get your apps into the clouds, we are working on a version that will provide even greater automation.  This will be phase II after we get the profile tool a bit further along, stay tuned!

But wait, there’s more…

If you‚Äôre interested in Project Sputnik you‚Äôll want to watch this blog which will be bringing some more news in the not too distant future. ūüôā

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


My O’Reilly Video — Telling the Project Sputnik story

August 29, 2013

While I interviewed a bunch of folks at OSCON, I also got the chance to be on the other end of the camera. ¬†On Thursday of the event I sat down with Meghan Blanchette, editor at O’Reilly media and we talked about Project Sputnik, where it’s been and where it’s going. ¬†Check it out:

Some of the ground I cover:

  • How Sputnik came to be and our biggest challenge
  • The three main components: XPS 13 developer edition, the Profile Tool, the cloud launcher
  • Our recently announced 3-free months on the Joyent Cloud
  • Getting some help from an internal development team

Update re Profile tool help

The internal team that I mentioned in the video is gearing up to get cracking on the profile tool. ¬†The idea is first to gather requirements and user stories and then get jammin’ with design and development sprints. ¬†It looks like after a bunch of false starts we are ready to push this in to high gear. ¬†Look for an update next week.

Extra-credit reading

  • Will Developers Move to Sputnik? ¬†The past, present, and future of Dell’s project – O’Reilly programming
  • Connecting the client to the cloud, The Sputnik Story – Slideshare

Pau for now…


OSCON: Talking OpenShift, RedHat’s Platform as a Service

August 22, 2013

Last but not least in my series of video from last month’s OSCON¬†is an interview I did with¬†Steve Citron-Pousty, Developer Evangelist for Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS.

Take a listen to what the ever-entertaining Steve CP has to say:

Note: As with my interview with Neil of Inktank, I used Youtube’s feature that is supposed to fix an unsteady camera and the result gives the video a hallucinogenic feel (witness the slightly undulating stairs).

Some of the ground Steve covers:

  • What is OpenShift and Platform as a Service? ¬†How is OpenShift different from other PaaSs?
  • OpenShift is “polyglottal:” it supports PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Node js and Java (with Java you get JBoss and Tomcat). ¬†It also supports MySQL, Postgres and MongoDB right out of the box.
  • How they work with APIs and how APIs allow devs to create “situational apps.”
  • Steve’s Crystal Ball time: ¬†in 3-5 years all developers will be using a PaaS (witness their wins with Ebay/PayPal, Accenture and DoD) + Git + a NoSQL data store.

Reference — ¬†The rest of my OSCON interviews:

 Extra-credit reading

  • Blog: ¬†Krishnan Subramanian: Making the Move to OpenShift
  • ZDnet:¬†Red Hat opens OpenShift PaaS cloud for business

Pau for now…


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