Dell is aiming to boldly go where no cosmonaut or programmer has gone before and build an open source laptop designed specifically for developers.
Project Sputnik is a six-month effort based on Ubuntu 12.04 and Dell’s XPS13 laptop.
According to Dell’s developer blogger Barton George, the firm wants to serve developers with a practicable Linux box that works from the “get go” i.e. without the need to traverse a variable landscape of driver and library downloads and installs that would typically be experienced with a Windows-based machine.
The project was apparently initiated after George met with Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady who suggested that although many vendors do indeed sell laptops that will run Linux, a dedicated Linux-from-the-ground-up machine (that was “powerful” enough for developers) did not necessarily exist up until now.
According to Dell’s George, “As we continued talking to customers and developers the topic of Ubuntu kept coming up and we came across a fair number of devs who were asking for a Dell laptop specifically based on it. To my knowledge, no other OEM has yet made a system specifically targeted at devs and figured it was time to see what that might mean.”