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

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

2018

  • 7th gen XPS 13 Developer Edition in Europe and US – January 4
  • Next gen Precision line announced, 3530 available – March 24
  • Precision 7530 and 7730 available – July 2
  • XPS 13 developer edition upgrades to 18.04 – July 27
  • Precision 5530 available – 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’s 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 – 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 — OMG!UBUNTU!
  • Dell Precision ‘Developer Edition’ mobile workstations run Ubuntu Linux and are RHEL certified – betanews
  • Dell refreshes Precision laptops with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed – ZDnet
  • Dell stuffs Intel Coffee Lake CPUs and Ubuntu into latest Precision workstations – The Inquirer
  • Dell launches new Precision mobile workstation line-up powered by Ubuntu – Softpedia
  • Dell Precision 5530 sale a la venta con Ubuntu y certificado para RHEL » MuyLinux
  • Welcome the new Dell Precision developer editions – Barton’s blog
  • Developer Editions of Precision Workstations Now Available — Direct2DellEMC
  • Introducing the Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 with Ubuntu — Ubuntu blog
  • Precision Developer Editions 7530/7730 now online — Welcome the power pair – Barton’s blog

Pau for now…


Precision Developer Editions 7530/7730 now online — Welcome the power pair

July 2, 2018

Not long ago I introduced the next gen of Project Sputnik’s Linux-based Dell Precision Mobile workstations: the 3530, 5530, 7530 and the 7730.  At that time the 3530 was available for purchase.

Today I’m happy to announce that the uber-powerful 7530 and 7730 are now live on dell.com

Note: to get to the Ubuntu option, hit “more” in the Operating System section.

7730 and 7530 with screenfill

These new thinner, lighter, premium-built Precision mobile workstations come preloaded with Ubuntu and have been RHEL certified.  The 7530 and 7730 feature the latest Intel Core and Xeon processors, blazing-fast memory and professional graphics.

Of particular note is the increased core count and memory.  In fact the maximum memory has doubled to 128GB which helps with cloud developer local workloads.  In the case of the 7730, it supports up to 8TB of PCIe NVME storage, the most PCIe storage on the market today.  The 7730 is also the first AI/ML ready mobile workstation available.

A double click on the specs

Although the following information was in the previous blog, I wanted to include it here so that you had all the info in one place.

Dell Precision 7530 Mobile Workstation, developer edition

The world’s most powerful 15″ mobile workstation, redesigned to be thinner, lighter

  • 8thGen Intel® Core™ and Xeon® processors
  • AMD Radeon Pro WX and NVIDIA Quadro® professional graphics
  • 1st 15” Ready for VR mobile workstation with the NVIDIA Quadro P3200 graphics card
  • Largest & fastest memory on the market for mobile workstations up to 128GB of system memory & SuperSpeed memory of 3200MHz
  • Largest PCIe SSD storage capacity available for a 15-inch mobile workstation: up to 6TB
  • Single cable docking and Thunderbolt™ 3 connectivity
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS preinstalled
  • RHEL 7.5 certified (details below)
  • Available worldwide

Dell Precision 7730 Mobile Workstation, developer edition

The world’s most powerful 17″ mobile workstation, redesigned to be thinner, lighter 

  • AI developer platform
  • 8thGen Intel® Core™ and Xeon® processors
  • AMD Radeon Pro WX and NVIDIA Quadro® professional graphics
  • Largest & fastest memory on the market for mobile workstations up to 128GB of system memory & SuperSpeed memory of 3200MHz
  • Largest PCIe storage capacity available for a mobile workstation (up to 8TB)
  • Single cable docking and Thunderbolt™ 3 connectivity
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS preinstalled
  • RHEL 7.5 certified (details below)
  • Available worldwide

RHEL 7.5 certification and drivers 

As mentioned above, these systems will be certified for RHEL 7.5 and the needed drivers will be included in the distro.  That being said, the AMD and NVIDIA drivers that come with 7.5 are inbox drivers.  We will be posting drivers for both graphic cards that will include professional features not included in the inbox drivers.  Stay tuned!

Next up, the 5530.  Stay tuned!

Extra-credit reading

  • Introducing the Dell Precision 7530 and 7730 with Ubuntu — Ubuntu blog
  • Developer Editions of Precision Workstations Now Available — Direct2DellEMC
  • Dell Unveils New Ubuntu Laptops — OMG!UBUNTU!
  • Precision workstations: Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Machine Learning solutions – Dell.com
  • Welcome the new Dell Precision developer editions – Barton’s blog
  • Dell Precision ‘Developer Edition’ mobile workstations run Ubuntu Linux and are RHEL certified – betanews
  • Dell refreshes Precision laptops with Ubuntu Linux pre-installed – ZDnet
  • Dell stuffs Intel Coffee Lake CPUs and Ubuntu into latest Precision workstations – The Inquirer
  • Dell launches new Precision mobile workstation line-up powered by Ubuntu – Softpedia

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® Quad Core™, 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™ 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. 🙂

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

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’s Project Sputnik came to life – CIO.com
  • Project Sputnik News & Reviews, 2012 – 2017

 

Pau for now…


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…


Ubuntu comes to the Windows desktop — OpenStack summit

April 26, 2016

Recently an announcement was made that took a lot of people by surprise.  Canonical and Microsoft announced that Ubuntu was now able to run on the Windows desktop.

Ubuntu Goes to Microsoft’s Windows 10 Bash – LinuxInsider

Dustin Kirkland was the main man on the Canonical side who drove this.  I caught up with Dustin at the OpenStack summit to learn more about this seemingly strange move by Microsoft.

Take a listen

Some of the ground Dustin covers

  • Ubuntu and Azure and the Microsoft partnership
  • Microsoft approached Canonical about bringing Ubuntu to the Windows desktop (looking to attract developers using Linux)
  • The Microsoft kernel team has built the Windows subsystem for Linux – Translates Linux systems calls to Windows system calls – Canonical asked to deliver the userspace
  • When users type bash they end up in an environment which is essentially Ubuntu minus the kernel
  • What have been the reactions to this move from the various constituents

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Where LXD fits within the virtualization and container landscape — OpenStack Summit

April 26, 2016

Yesterday here at the OpenStack summit here in Austin I caught a few of the sessions in the track that Canonical was hosting.  One of the sessions dealt with Canonical’s LXD and where it fits into the whole virtualization/container space.

The talk was given by Dustin Kirkland and after he had finished, I grabbed him to explain the basics of LXD and the landscape it fits within.

Have a listen

Some of the ground Dustin covers:

  • What is LXD and how is it different from virtual machines and containers
  • How LXD acts like a hypervisor but is fundamentally a container
  • Application containers vs Machine containers
    • Applications containers like Docker host a single proccess on a filesystem
    • Machine containers from LXD boot a full OS on their filesystems
  • Where do microservices fit in this model
  • How Docker and LXD are complementary
  • 16.04LTS ships with LXD

Pau for now…


%d bloggers like this: