Dell has announced that it plans to deliver an official developer laptop based on the Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu 12.04 preloaded in Fall 2012.
After recently abandoning Linux based offerings Dell has decided to move back to the OS with a machine targeting developers.
This laptop is the outcome of Project Sputnik, a six month effort made possible by an internal incubation fund to explore the possibility of creating an open source laptop targeted directly at developers who want to create cloud applications.
The included software will allow developers to create “microclouds” on their laptops, simulating a proper, at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.This facility is based on LXC - Linux Containers - an OS level virtualization method for running isolated servers on a single machine. It doesn't provide hardware virtualization but allows servers to run in a private environment with their own process and network space. This is efficient enough to make it work effectively on a portable.
The machine itself will have an i7 2Ghz Intel Core2 Duo, 4Gbytes of RAM and a 256GByte SSD and it is expected to cost around $1500.
It raises the interesting question of why more hardware isn't aimed directly at developers?