Dell launched an experiment earlier this year to see if it could build a compelling Linux laptop for software developers. The effort, which is codenamed Project Sputnik, pairs the XPS13 Ultrabook with Ubuntu 12.04.
The software environment is tailored for developers, featuring a number of useful tools and a framework for automating the installation of specific development stacks and cloud deployment tools. Dell also did some work on hardware enablement, tweaking drivers to improve touchpad support and support for features like toggling WiFi from the keyboard.
When Project Sputnik was revealed in May, Dell said that it was conducting a six-month pilot program to evaluate the potential of turning the concept into into an actual product. In a statement this week, the company announced that it has decided to proceed. Sputnik will officially launch this year and will be available to consumers in select markets. The company says that it is incorporating feedback from developers into the plan.
“Since we announced project Sputnik a little over two months ago, we have continued to be amazed by the amount and quality of interest and input we have received,” said Dell marketing director Barton George in a statement. “By listening to developers, Dell can provide them with solutions and products to help make them more productive and allow for greater innovation.”