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

 


Touchpad Palm Detection – the “confidence” feature

October 5, 2015

More info from the tech team:

The XPS 13 9343 utilizes the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification in I2C mode. The specific feature within the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification is the “Confidence” feature:

Confidence

Confidence is used to indicate that the contact does not have any dimensions (height or width) > 25mm that implies that it is not an unintended contact. Windows Precision Touchpads should not reject any contacts in firmware processing, but should forward all contacts to the host and indicate the confidence. After a device has deemed a contact to be unintentional, it shall clear the confidence bit for that contact report and all subsequent reports. Until a contact has been deemed unintentional, the device shall set the confidence bit for that contact being reported.

With that feature correctly implemented, palm rejection in I2C mode should work.

Driver feature development is something we work with our vendors on ensuring they develop, though in this case they won’t since the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification is a feature that falls outside of vendor-specific needs. Synaptics (or any other touchpad vendor) is unlikely to implement this feature in the Linux i2c_hid driver because it’s not vendor-specific but instead a Microsoft specification.

Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/dn467314%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

HTH

Pau for now…


HackDFW and the project Sputnik story

March 10, 2015

[Notice: Previously I mistakenly noted that this event was hosted by MLH when, while it was part of the MLH season, was the result of the hard work and effort by a team of students from UTD, SMU, and UNT.]

Last week I attended HackDFW, a student hackathon in Dallas put on by  an intrepid group of local students from UTD, SMU, and UNT.   The hackapalooza, which was part of the Major League Hacking season, was a 24-hour event featuring students from around the country.  Besides getting to go around and talk to the students during the event I was fortunate enough to be asked to give the closing keynote.

I presented on Project Sputnik and how we crowd-sourced the development of a developer laptop.  Here are the slides I presented.

The Judges and Winner

After the preliminary judging, seven teams presented to impressive panel of judges with included, among others, Mark Cuban, the CEO of American Airlines and the Mayor of Dallas.

The winning team used Oculus Rift which connected to engine that rendered an ever evolving world of dinosaurs.   This would allow students to get a feel for the enormity of the dinosaurs and watch them as they grew and die from disease and predators

Here a few pics from the event.

Looking down on one of the groups

Looking down on one of the groups

 

Hackers and Hammocks

Hackers and Hammocks

Taking a "short" nap

Taking a “short” nap

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Update: Dell XPS 13 laptop, developer edition – Sputnik Gen 4

February 5, 2015

We have been getting a ton of questions around the 4th generation Sputnik (XPS13 Sputnik_Sticker_Finallaptop, developer edition) and when it will be available.  As you may have seen, last week at Sundance we broke the news of our brand new Dell Precision M3800, developer edition pre-loaded with Ubuntu.

The XPS 13 isn’t far behind. We’re getting close and will have more to share soon but ultimately are spending time making sure everything works to provide the best customer experience possible.  A word of caution, if you purchase the Windows version of the new XPS 13 and try to load Ubuntu on it you will run into a few issues that we are currently addressing.

Please realize this DOES NOT AFFECT the Windows version of the XPS 13 laptop that recently launched.

Stay tuned for more updates soon.

The Reviews are in

XPS 13:  For your reference here are just a handful of awesome reviews that the Windows version of the recently launched XPS 13 laptop has garnered.  (The developer edition is based off this.)

  • Dell’s New XPS 13 Laptop Makes Me Seriously Regret My MacBook Air Purchase – Forbes
  • The MacBook Air Meets its Match – Wall Street Journal
  • Stunning screen, compact design make XPS 13 the first great laptop of 2015 – CNET
  • Dell’s Gorgeous New Windows Laptop Has An Amazing Screen And Is Cheaper Than The MacBook Air – Business Insider
  • Dell puts Apple’s MacBook Air on notice at CES – FOX News
  • Dell XPS 13 Boasts Thinnest Screen Bezel Ever – LAPTOP Mag
  • Dell’s New XPS 13 Sounds Like The Laptop Of My Dreams – Gizmodo

M3800 developer edition: Also for your reference, here is a bit of the press coverage the M3800  developer edition received

Extra-credit reading

 

Pau for now…

 


Welcome the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation, developer edition

January 27, 2015

Update March 17:  Great  review in Network World — Review: Dell’s Ubuntu-powered M3800 Mobile Workstation is a desktop destroyer

Since the planning stages of project Sputnik over two years ago we wanted to offer two versions of our developer-focused systems.  The idea was to have both an ultra mobile laptop and a beefier workstation offering, a beauty and the beast line up if you will.  Due to the need to focus our resources however, we worked with the community to first build out the laptop, delivering the XPS 13 laptop, developer edition.Soyuz

Moving towards the beast

The first year after launching the XPS 13, we got a steady stream of requests for a bigger system.  This wasn’t lost on team member Jared Dominguez who decided to work on his own time with the Dell Precision M3800 mobile edition and put together instructions on how get Ubuntu running on the system.

A little over a year ago with the launch of the 3rd generation of the XPS13 developer edition we also announced its “unofficial big brother” and provided Jared’s instructions.  We received a lot of great feedback but there were also folks asking when we were going to deliver an officially supported version of the M3800.  What we told the community was — like the initial project Sputnik offering, if we got enough positive feedback — we might be able to offer it as an official pre-installed system.

A thread was started on the Sputnik Forum for people to express their interest in an official system.  We got a tremendous amount of positive feedback and as a result we listened to our customers and have added the M3800 to our developer edition lineup of Ubuntu-based systems.

Introducing the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation, Developer Edition

One of the main features people were looking for in the Precision M3800 was 16 GB of RAM.  The new Ubuntu-based M3800 introduced today, has that and a whole lot more:

Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation, dev edition – Key features

  • Preloaded Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Next generation of the world’s thinnest and lightest true 15-inch mobile workstation
  • Starting weight of just 4.15lbs (1.88kg) and a form factor that is less than 0.71 inches (18mm) thick
  • Fourth generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, professional grade NVIDIA Quadro K1100M graphics, and up to 16GB of memory
  • 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) screen option
  • Availability: worldwide

Unfortunately, one of the features that wont be available right out of the gate is thunderbolt support.  As Jared explains in his blog:

Because our factory Ubuntu installs only ship Ubuntu LTS releases, we were not able to ship with Thunderbolt support. However, thanks to the hardware-enablement stack in Ubuntu, starting with upcoming Ubuntu 14.04.2, you will be able to upgrade your kernel to add some Thunderbolt support. We plan to be working with Canonical to recertify the Precision M3800 with official Thunderbolt support.

How do I get one

You can get to the M3800 developer edition by going to the Dell Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation page: www.dell.com/create and choosing the system labeled “Fully Customizable” on the far left.  Or you can go directly to configurator, where under “Operating System” you can select Ubuntu 14.04 SP1 and away you go!

M3800Menu

What about the additional software?

This time around we went with the vanilla image of the most recent LTS release (14.04).  A vanilla image was actually one of the top requests when we gathered input on our initial Storm session.

Since the original launch we have been working on a profile tool and Cloud launcher.  We are still working on these but it’s been a bit more difficult than we originally thought :).  Stay tuned for more news on this.

Will there be a new XPS 13 developer edition?

You bet!  The 4th generation of the XPS 13 laptop, developer edition will be available soon.  It will based on the the new XPS 13 laptop that debuted earlier this month.

A Big Thanks

Thanks to everyone in the community for the tremendous support of the Sputnik program.  Without your support, this program would not be possible!

 Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Installing Debian 8 on a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

January 3, 2015

Over the break, Eric Mill put together great step-by-step instructions showing how to install Debian 8 (Jessie) on a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.  Eric also had some great things to say about the laptop and program themselves:

Dell calls their program Project Sputnik, and it is managed by a friendly team of Linux engineers inside Dell who partner with Ubuntu to ensure that your computer will Just Work with Linux.

The Dell XPS is also used by multiple Debian team members, so your pain points will be theirs, and they’re likely to quickly fix things.

Supporting Dell’s program is a wonderful thing to do, and it’s also just a great goddamned laptop.

Check out Eric’s Instructions and away you go!  Installing Debian 8 on a Dell XPS

Pau for now…


Developers share experiences running Ubuntu on Dell M3800 and XPS 15

May 12, 2014

Back in November when we  launched Sputnik 3, we also announced its “unofficial big brother,” the Dell M3800 Precision workstation and the Dell XPS 15.  This announcement was based on the after-hours work that Dell Linux engineer Jared Dominguez did to test and document the system.

Quite a few developers have referenced Jared’s work, taken the plunge and installed Ubuntu on these beefier systems.

M3800 Precision workstation

Here is a video that Rudy Vissers from Belgium created last month.  Rudy walks us through his new M3800 Precision including touchscreen and graphics.

XPS 15 laptop

Web developer Matt Woodward, who is a Principal IT Specialist for the US Senate and one of the original Project Sputnik beta cosmonauts, decided on upgrading to the XPS 15.  He shared his experience running Ubuntu on the XPS 15 on his blog earlier this month.  Here is an excerpt:

…Once Ubuntu is installed everything works out of the box. The screen runs at the full, mind-blowing 3200×1800 resolution, and even the touch screen works. No issues with sound card, WiFi, or anything else. Awesome…

If you need something a bit bigger and beefier than the XPS 13 developer edition, you just may want to check out either the M3800 or XPS 15.

If you’d like to see these as official products that come with Ubuntu pre-installed add your voice here:  Gathering interest on official Ubuntu support for Precision M3800  No promises but who knows!

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


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