The laptop comes with Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS plus a few additions. Dell worked closely with Canonical and the various peripheral manufacturers to ensure that well-written, feature-complete drivers are available for all of the laptop’s hardware. Out of the box the laptop will just work. They also have their own PPA if you want to pull down the patches separately, either to reload the laptop or to use on a different machine.
The hardware is solid, but the software is the fun part. The Project Sputnik team cooked up two open source tools which come preloaded on the laptop, aimed at automating setting up development environments and making deployment easier: the Profile Tool and the Cloud Launcher.
To find out more, Ars spent some time with Barton George, Web Vertical Director at Dell and one of the biggest driving forces behind Project Sputnik. The Profile Tool, described here on George’s blog, is an application that facilitates the installation of preconfigured development tools, referred to as “profiles.” It’s originally the idea of Charles Lowell, one of the early Project Sputnik “alpha cosmonauts” (the awesome appellation for those who helped test the project in its early stages). The Profile Tool is almost a “reverse cloud” deployment utility, pulling distributed resources down from the cloud to your local workstation.
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