Project Sputnik: Ubuntu-based developer laptop pilot

Duration: May 6, 2012 - Sep 16, 2012

Status: Archived

Made possible by an internal innovation program, project Sputnik is a 6 month exploratory effort to develop a laptop targeted directly at developers working on mobile and web apps.
 
Project Sputnik is based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and supports Ubuntu 12.04.  The image will come with the necessary drivers to support the HW along with a very basic set of general developer tools.  Then you can use the included profile management tool to pull down appropriate tools from a github repository [this is currently being developed].  The initial profiles will be for Ruby, Android and JavaScript development. For more information on the project you can check out this blog post.
 
We want to hear from mobile and app developers who are working at web companies or anyone who is using Ubuntu to develop web apps.
 
·         What are the basic, lowest-common-denominator tools that you would like to see pre-loaded.  What profiles are most important to you to be available from Github?
·         What do you need in a laptop to do your job, how much memory, how powerful a CPU etc. what makes you more productive, what bugs you? 
·         What type of support do you need/expect from an offering like this if it becomes mainstream.

 

For those of you participating in Project Sputnik or simply interested in learning more, check out the Project Sputnik page on Dell TechCenter.  The page is set up to provide information and updates on the project and contains a forum to discuss the project.

7/18/2012 Update:

 

Due to the fantastic amount and quality of input we have received on the Project Sputnik Storm Session, as well as the thousands of applications we received for our recently announced beta program, we have decide to take this project from pilot to product.  This fall we will be offering an Ubuntu 12.04LTS-based laptop pre-loaded on Dell’s XPS13 laptop.  For further information you can view the press announcement, read Barton George's blog post and view the FAQ.

 

8/28/12 Update:   

The Project Sputnik Beta Cosmonauts have been chosen.  You can read all about it on Barton George's blog.  A bug reporting system has also been set up for Project Sputnik by Canonical. 

 

 

8 Ideas


SESSION IDEAS:

Software Included

May 9, 2012

3 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Promote

I am using Dell Inspiron 1545 with Ubuntu for 2 years and Develops web Application. Dell Must included software packages for Web Developers. Following are some tools that are must in Dell's Laptop. :

1. XAMPP (it makes laptop a choice for PHP developers)
2. FileZilla Client.
3. Firefox(with web Developers Tools and FireBug) ( Custom Build )
4. Eclipse( for Android and PHP Developement)
5. Web Developer Tools for Ubuntu ( https://launchpad.net/~petrakis/+archive/wdt-main )
6. Qt Creator( for Android and Cross-Platform Application Development )

 and If you include some extra softwares like :
6. VLC Player.
7. Skype.
They are bounus to user.

3 Votes | No Comments | Report Abuse

Screen height is key

May 9, 2012

9 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Promote

Now that processing power and storage have exceeded minimums, the height of the screen seems to be the gating element for coding effectiveness on laptops.  I would want a screen at least 900px tall in a 13" form factor.

9 Votes | No Comments | Report Abuse

FOSS drivers

May 9, 2012

6 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Promote

I think this is a very attractive idea. Developers seem to be buying Macbook's in droves yet a well equipped Linux desktop is just as powerful and in many regards moreso. Most users simply don't know about the number of fantastic dev tools on the Linux desktop. A marketing effort showing the fantastic tools would go a long way to swoon the Macbook crowd. Not to mention the fact nearly all these tools are 100% free *and* open source.

Creating a single image to rule them all is obviously a difficult task. You seem to be making good decisions. I personally am a Fedora user so this initiative doesn't directly align with my preference right off the bat, but I understand your choice. I hold hope that this effort indirectly results in better upstream driver support for the Dell XPS 13 that Fedora and other distros can enjoy. I would be happy to vote with my dollar if that were the case.

For future hardware considerations, more RAM the better. I am a Java developer so it seems one can never have enough. Also as others have said +1 to much higher resolution displays, 1680x1050 is the minimum to be practical.

6 Votes | No Comments | Report Abuse

sounds great

May 8, 2012

3 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Promote

I think this would be a great idea. especially on the 13 xps system. sounds like it could have a lot of potential.
Cheers

3 Votes | No Comments | Report Abuse

efi boot

May 8, 2012

4 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Promote

why not? i think its about time.

4 Votes | No Comments | Report Abuse

a good multitouch trackpad

May 8, 2012

4 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Promote

A good multi touch trackpad would be great too, similar to the macbook pro and the samsung series 9. i currently use a macbook pro and the touchpad works so well that i dont even have to worry about using a mouse. scroll gestures and 2 finger click for right clicking built on the touch pad ie clicking down on the touchpad like you do with the macbook pro and samsung series 9 (those stupid little buttons thats usually at the bottom of a trackpad really doesn't work well)

4 Votes | No Comments | Report Abuse

java software developer

May 8, 2012

6 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Promote

Honestly looking from a software development point of view:

  • decent cpu (i5 or i7 is good). Ivy Bridge would be great
  • lots of ram (you can never how to much ram, 8 gigs should be good)
  • 128GB-256GB SSD (the biggest bottleneck in any machine, if you use maven for building this can become quite a big bottleneck)
  • dont worry about GPU, a HD3000 or the new HD4000 will be more than enough plus it will give you good battery life and drivers will work better than that of nvidia or ati
  • 15" screen with a res of 1680x1050 (matte)
All that you need to make sure of in terms of support is that the hardware drivers work PROPERLY, suspending and unsuspending, dynamic multi monitor (i often need to work on just my notebook then on multiple monitors and sometimes take my notebook to meetings and connect it to a projector. I really dont want to struggle with invisible monitors or resolutions not adjusting automatically). Power management should be decent too, around 5-7 hours would be great. Please dont put any crapware on the notebook, the whole point of linux is to install what you want.

Also, keep in mind if you can make this laptop well priced it will do extremely well. around $900 would be the sweet spot.

If you can build a notebook like this, i will buy one tomorow!!!

6 Votes | 1 Comment | Report Abuse

Another Vote for Expansion

May 8, 2012

3 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Promote

When in my office I use dual monitors and NAS storage.  I also like an external keyboard and mouse.  Hence I'd also request that you consider other expandable platforms in addition to the XPS 13.  (I currently  develop on a Latitude E6500 with docking station.)

3 Votes | No Comments | Report Abuse