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Dell's Ubuntu-powered Precision Sputnik now available worldwide

$40k seed funding begets neat little workstation

The Precision line of Dell’s one-time skunkworks Ubuntu developer PCs, Project Sputnik, has hit worldwide availability.

Project mastermind Barton George, senior technologist at the office of Dell's CTO, announced availability of the Precision line of Ubuntu workstations with the US launch of the fifth generation of XPS 13 developer edition.

XPS was the first of the Sputnik machines to arrive, in 2012.

The fifth-generation XPS 13 comes preloaded with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 6th Gen Intel Core processor and updated divers, tools and utilities.

The XPS comes in three i7 configurations – 8GB, QH+T Intel 8260, and two i7 16GB configurations with 512GB and 1TB.

Their availability comes just ahead of Canonical's anticipated release of Ubuntu 16.04LTS release, due next month. Dell plans to support this latest Linux initially as an upgrade but there’s no date, yet, for support as a factory installation.

The Precision family, meanwhile, consists of three workstations – the 5510, 3510 and 7510. This being Dell, you pick Ubuntu at the "customize and buy" stage of ordering via its website.

Global availability comes four years after Dell began work on the Ubuntu machines under the Project Sputnik name, as a project exploring the ideal developer laptop.

Work on Project Sputnik began in 2012 after it was pitched to a Dell internal innovation fund by George, who gained just $40,000 of funding. George has a background of engagement with open source communities and developers on behalf of big tech firms. The project went public in May 2012, with a public beta and first XPS being released in autumn that year. ®

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