Well, it is slightly late but we like to keep our dedicated readers updated! We especially like promoting the open source community as nothing but innovation can come from it. Yesterday there was a chat held with Barton George amongst other Dell employees regarding Project Sputnik. This chat focused around the topic “Exploratory pilot to develop an Ubuntu-based developer laptop”. We wanted to participate and get a few questions of ours in with the rest of the community and the chat turned out to be quite informative. Incase you couldn’t make it to the aforementioned chat you already know that Binary Wasteland has developers that are interested covered. Check out below for the transcript of the conversation over Adobe Connect. Let us know what you think in the comments below! Until the next Project Sputnik update from Dell, Happy Hacking!

Dell TechCenter: Hello everyone!
@wonder_nerd: hey there!
Barton George: hola
Todd Finch (Dell Linux Product Manager): should the dell folks identify themselves as from Dell?  Or include we’re from Dell in our name???
Todd Finch (Dell Linux Product Manager): how will non-Dell folks know?
Dell TechCenter: Hi Todd, we’re open to the public now.  I think we are fine.  I’ll let everyone know Barton is Dell before we start chatting
Todd Finch (Dell Linux Product Manager): ok.
@wonder_nerd: Hi Dennis!
Dell TechCenter: Hi Tony, glad you could make it
Dell TechCenter: This is Peter BTW, hiding behind the curtain of the DTC account like the Wizard of Oz
@wonder_nerd: me to… I’ll be doing support while I join in today… but at least I’m in the office
Michaeld: Ignore the man behind the curtain 🙂
Dennis Smith: Hey Tony…how’ve you been?
@wonder_nerd: doing good going nuts
Dell TechCenter: haha
Barton George (Dell): Okey doke, Peter is going to get this party started in 5
Dell TechCenter: we’ll get started in about 5 minutes
Barton George (Dell): told you 🙂
@wonder_nerd: lol
Dell TechCenter: @wonder_nerd – what kind of issues do you have going on right now?
@wonder_nerd: Oh working on an SRM fail back issue where the ds’s came back into vCenter with the wrong name
@wonder_nerd: Once I get all the parts figured out it’ll be a good blog post
Dell TechCenter: Alright everyone, let’s get this ball rolling
Dennis Smith: @wonder_nerd, that’s not good…looking forward to hearing the solution
Dell TechCenter: The topic of today’s chat is Project Sputnik, and “Exploratory pilot to develop an Ubuntu-based developer laptop”
Dell TechCenter: It’s based on Ubuntu 12.04 and the Dell XPS13 laptop
Dell TechCenter: today leading the chat we have Barton George, who among other things is the Cloud Evangelist for Dell
Barton George (Dell): i used to be the cloud evangelist
Dell TechCenter: he’ll be available to answer your questions during the chat.
Barton George (Dell): now i focus on better serving web customers in general
Dell TechCenter: the transcript of this chat will also be available for the world to see after the chat completes
Dell TechCenter: Barton, would you like to take it away?
Barton George (Dell): Sure what can I tell folks
Barton George (Dell): what would you be interested in hearing
Barton George (Dell): we have both strategic and technical folks to back me up
GregRJacobs: Are there still units being offered at developer discounts as my site is looking to encourage our developer base to code and work on new platforms with the latest technologies
Barton George (Dell): Greg just to give some context, we are still in the skunkworks project phase
Barton George (Dell): The discounted units well be offering are part of our beta program
Barton George (Dell): which we announced last week and still taking submissions for
Barton George (Dell): The idea is to develop project sputnik out in the open
Barton George (Dell): collecting feedback along the way
Barton George (Dell): the goal is to turn this 6 month skunkworks project into a real product
Barton George (Dell): So far we’ve been blown away by the amount of interest we’ve received
uboxProject: Is there a chance for none corporate individuals to participate in the beta trials (for example me a informatics student in germany?)
Barton George (Dell): we’ve had a ton of suggestions on my blog as well as the storm session we set up
Barton George (Dell): definitely we want a mix of folks
@cote (Dell): uboxProject: sure, there’s no criteria for being in the beta program. To be clear, we’ll be selecting a sub-set of people, but we’re not excluding based on individual vs. “corporate.”
Barton George (Dell): the idea is to get a wide variety of tolks
GregRJacobs: Ah, that makes sense. I develop for all platforms and are interested in all phases of this project from development of new features,  BETA testing, promotion of the product. Is there something that we can be doing now that we can either help develop on and  keep our readers informed?
GregRJacobs: and am**
Dell TechCenter: The link to the IdeaStorm session is here: http://www.ideastorm.com/Idea2SessionIdea?v=1341950247604&id=a017000000hIx3bAAC
Barton George (Dell): the other key link is the forum on Tech Center
@cote (Dell): As Barton is saying, we’re primerly interested in getting these units into people’s hands so we can start learning, collaborating, and experimenting towards a good, all around developer laptop. So as  wide a net as possible is what we’re after.
Dell TechCenter: Sputnik on TechCenter page: http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/os-applications/w/wiki/3685.project-sputnik-exploratory-pilot-to-develop-an-ubuntu-based-developer-laptop.aspx
Barton George (Dell): the other thing we are looking for is big mouths 🙂
Barton George (Dell): we want people who will tweet and blog about their experiences
Barton George (Dell): the good, the bad and the lovely 🙂
Barton George (Dell): Will any of you be at OSCON next week?
GregRJacobs: Is there anything that I can get out to the developers at Binary Wasteland – http://bnry.ws/ – that hasn’t been released or announced yet? An RSS maybe we could subscribe to?
Barton George (Dell): we are going to be showing off sputnik there
Dell TechCenter: While the IdeaStorm session is for making and voting for sugguestions for Sputnik, the Dell TechCenter Sputnik forum is good for general comments and questions relating to the project http://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/os-applications/f/4613.aspx
Barton George (Dell): I also use my blog to give updates on the project http://bartongeorge.net/
GregRJacobs: **Subscribed** 🙂
Barton George (Dell): we try to communicate as much as possible but sometimes we get distracted just driving this project forward
Barton George (Dell): its really been a blast working on project sputnik with in dell
Barton George (Dell): The program that made this effort possible is an internal incubation fund designed to seek out innovation within Dell
Barton George (Dell): Sputnik was the first project green lighted by the incubation fund
Barton George (Dell): One of the really cool things is how closely Dell and canonical have been working together
Gary Ekker: The folks at Canonical are having a blast working on project sputnik with Dell
Barton George (Dell): When we thought of creating project sputnik ubuntu was the first distro that came to mind
Barton George (Dell): They are already key Dell partner and very key in the developer space we are targetting
Dell TechCenter: Can you give us some insight into what customer feedback to the Sputnik project has been like so far?
Barton George (Dell): Also at OSCON we will giving away a handful of Project sputnik laptops to visitors to our booth
@cote (Dell): The funnest feedback for me has been the hands-on experience my development friends have had. From the packaging itself, to booting up, to having a well-polishied Ubuntu install to start with, people have reacted well. The other great thing is that we’ve gotten lots of feedback and suggestions, not only in IdeaStorm (http://www.ideastorm.com/Idea2SessionIdea?v=1341950247604&id=a017000000hIx3bAAC) but in Barton’s comments section, comments in articles, etc.
Barton George (Dell): If you havent signed up for the beta yet you can do so right here _> https://marketing.dell.com/sputnik
@cote (Dell): I really crave feedback and input from the actual end-users of projects and so this volume of that input has been way above what I was even optimistically expecting.
Barton George (Dell): Some of things weve heard from a bunch of folks spec wise is:  8GB instead of 4GB
Dell TechCenter: Is there any one feature that customers have asked for over and over again?
@cote (Dell): Which isn’t to say it’s all pat-on-the-back awesomesauce +1’ing. There’s been good, constructive feedback around things like screen size, wifi range, RAM, etc.
Barton George (Dell): the other is better resolution
@cote (Dell): We’ve been able to address things like the track-pad, and I’m hopeful we can address more issues.
Barton George (Dell): Yea the track pad was a real bummer
Barton George (Dell): very glad that we got that sussed, that was what we got the most feedback on
@cote (Dell): The other parts I’m eager to get out there and get input on are the software components like the profile tool (where developers can model out their build toolchains and envrionemnts) and cloud tool (where developers can model out simulated, production cloud topologies and then more easily deploy them).
@cote (Dell): So, as a sort of be-careful-what-you-ask-for, the more input and ideas people in th Sputnik community have, the better.
Barton George (Dell): We’re hoping to have a demo of the cloud and profile tools “soon” 🙂
Gary Ekker: the trackpad now has excellent support in Ubuntu, we’re very happy with how it performs
Barton George (Dell): FYI Gary is leading the project Sputnik charge for Canonical
Barton George (Dell): and doing a damn good job 🙂
Gary Ekker: we’re working hard on the profile tool and expect to make it available for feedback in the coming weeks
Barton George (Dell): The other thing that really has helped kick start this project is the XPS13
Dell TechCenter: 116 ideas on Ideastorm and counting – How does Dell prioritize which features to work on?
Barton George (Dell): when we first discussed this idea there wasnt a super sexy laptop like the XPS13
Barton George (Dell): When the incubation fund and the XPS13 came along we knew it was time to launch our developer laptop project 🙂
Gary Ekker: i’m interested in feedback from the group on the software people expect to see, we’ve got a lot of feedback on the ideastorm, but am interested in what the attendees expect to see?
Michaeld: If/when Sputnik goes production, what are the chances of a similar product oriented toward Win32 OSS developers?
Barton George (Dell): I think, if successful, their are a lot of vectors we could expand on
@cote (Dell): So far, we’ve been priortizing feedback, largely, on a mix of subjective assesment (like the trackpad being an important thing to fix) and the volume of interest (that is, votes and clusteres of comments and feedback).
Barton George (Dell): Different OS’s would be one direction
Barton George (Dell): I think first we
Barton George (Dell): would want to broaden the ubuntu based line up
Barton George (Dell): After the XPS13 if we are successful I would like to see a beefy version as well e.g. our new XPS15
Dell TechCenter: @Cote, can you go into detail about any of the other ideas Dell might be incubating as a result of the Innovation fund?
Gary Ekker (Canonical): The overwhelming feedback shows just how much interest their is in the XPS line with Ubuntu, such a good platform for DevOps, mobile developers, OSS developers
Barton George (Dell): Cote, tell them about the electric cheese straightener idea
Barton George (Dell): Yep DevOps is one of the key areas we are targeting with this
@cote (Dell): Well, we’ve had lots of ideas pitched to us over the past few months, and we did select the second project. We’re not realy to talk about what it is. To be annoyingly mysterous, it’s a very different domain than project Sputnik, but similarly targets applying new, fun technologies to parts of the IT world that may not even know they could be benefiting from these technologies.
Barton George (Dell): Particularly thanks to the cloud tool which will allow you to develope micro clouds on your client and then push then to the cloud you get the devops goodness of greatly reducing friction and increasing velocity
Dell TechCenter: Also @Barton, you’ve had massive response to your post about Sputnik (253 comments, 140 ratings) – why do you think so many people are interested in talking about Sputnik? http://bartongeorge.net/2012/05/07/introducing-project-sputnik-developer-laptop/
@cote (Dell): Yes, the electic cheese straignter. You know the problem, we’ve all had it: you pour out a bag of grated cheese and it’s all spired up and crooked. Uh-oh! There’s not way you can make bagel pizzas with *that* cheese! Well, if we’re successful with the electric cheese straigtner, those afterschool pizza bagel party probllems will be a thing of the past!
Barton George (Dell): well stated 🙂
Dell TechCenter: @cote Cheese straightener sounds like it’s in line with “new fun technologies the IT world didn’t know it could benefit from”
Michaeld: The electric cheese straightener should be developed after Wireless Bacon as a Service is delivered.
@cote (Dell): Yes, the BaaS-o-matic 2012.
Barton George (Dell): I think we struck a nerve with Sputnik, no one has really build a latop particulrulary targeted at developers before
Gary Ekker (Canonical): I’m not sure there is a role for Ubuntu in cheese straightening, but our developers may like one included with their XPS
Barton George (Dell): and of course no has develope a cheese straightner so…
Dell TechCenter: @cote – when might the public hear a little bit more about this mysterious second project?
@cote (Dell): But, back to real topics 😉 The DevOps angle is one that I’m particularly interested in pursirsng. I’ve watch DevOps evolve over recent years as a sort of weird, almost unitentional child of Agile and high-scale web operations, and I’ve been really excited to see how the tech industry can tool itself up to deliver software faster, and more frequently….one of the key goals of doing DevOps, as far as I’m concerned.
@cote (Dell): That’s part of what’s driving the two tools we’re exploring with project Sputnik is automating as much of the life-cycle of software developer -starting with setting up and maintaining your development enviornment itself all the way to deploying to your cloud.
@cote (Dell): We’re targeting CheeseCon 2012 to announce the cheese straightnet. Prices for a keynote spot at BegelBonanza were a bit steep.
Michaeld: Are there going to be any hardware differences between a ‘standard’ XPS13 and a Sputnik one?  Or could one drop the install image on an off the shelf XPS13?
@cote (Dell): And, on the point of DevOps, part of what makes Canonical fun to work with is the stuff they’ve been doing with juju so far and cloud deploying. It’s fun white-boarding and talking about how they’re tackling this problem already.
Barton George (Dell): In fact we were white boarding with Mr Shuttleworth himself just yesterday
@cote (Dell): To be honest, I don’t think we’ve thought too deeply on hardware differences. I’d think we’d just use our ‘standard’ builds…but, who knows how it’ll evolve?
@cote (Dell): On the hardware front, there was an interesting discussion early on: it seemed like what you might call the “dynamic language” developers (PHP, ruby, python, etc.) had lower performance requirements than the static langauge lot (Java, etc.). I’m curious if that division makes sense for anyone here…or if needs are the same no matter what.
Gary Ekker (Canonical): Hardware enablement improvements in Ubuntu are pushed up stream if they are open source. For example, Canonical and Dell are working with the vendor of the trackpad driver to ensure it becomes part of the upstream linux kernel so that we can all expect good support in the future
Barton George (Dell): And we have to put in a plug for monktoberfest where we will be in October http://lanyrd.com/2012/monktoberfest/
Dell TechCenter: What is Monktoberfest all about?
Barton George (Dell): The original idea for an Ubuntu laptop came from stephen ogrady of Redmonk (the host for monktoberfest) and the event will be on the 55th aniversayr of the launch of sputnik
Barton George (Dell): Monktoberfest is held in Portland Maine, and is a boutique, high quaility web developer shindig
Barton George (Dell): a key part of the event is the gourmet beer tasting on the second day
Coté: Yes, beer and computers – two things to nerd out on!
Dell TechCenter: nice, that’s a conference session we can all agree on.
Dell TechCenter: Well we are closing out on the hour, do you have any closing comments or links for folks that want to learn more?
Barton George (Dell): Id just like to say thanks for the amazing amount of interest and feedback so far
Coté: And, for those who are worried about Wrinkled Cheese, we’ve got your back!
Dell TechCenter: Thank you very much Barton, Cote, and Gary!
Barton George (Dell): Aloha and Mahalo!
Dell TechCenter:   if you would like to leave feedback to the Sputnik project on Dell TechCenter or Ideastorm, please go to the following links:   Sputnik Forum on Dell TechCenterhttp://en.community.dell.com/techcenter/os-applications/f/4613.aspxDell IdeaStormhttp://www.ideastorm.com/Idea2SessionIdea?v=1341950247604&id=a017000000hIx3bAAC
Dell TechCenter: closing out the chat, enjoy your straightened cheese 🙂
Michael christensen: I’m trying to find where i can regeister my new laptop with dell
Michael christensen: ?
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