Ubuntu fans are going to have a gala time ahead of them, and even more so, if you are a developer. Dell is planning to bring in the Ubuntu experience to laptops, and it wants to do things in the proper way. That is why, Dell has a beta-testing program in place for the Dell XPS 13 Ultraboook, with Ubuntu pre-installed. This beta testing program is called Sputnik, and it might send Dell sales skyrocketing through the laptop market for two reasons: cheaper prices and free software.
The page announcing the Sputnik Beta testing program reads,
Be a test pilot for the ultimate developer laptop.
Dell is now recruiting volunteers for the Sputnik Beta Cosmonaut program. A limited number of applicants will be selected to receive a discounted, beta version solution (Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with Ubuntu 12.04LTS).
With your help, we are confident that this new Ubuntu Linux-based laptop will become the ultimate mobile tool for developers.
The registration form can be found on this page. It takes some personal details along with company details. One promising development is that the program is open for developers all over the world, and not just for those in the US.
Dell has tried selling Linux based laptops earlier though every time, the laptops just vanished from their website without so much as a pop. However, this time, Dell seems serious about the Ultrabook, and is off to a good start. This test will help Dell estimate how well Ubuntu based laptops are received by the developer community worldwide. It might create newer range of Dell products, and give Linux the much needed consumer-market exposure it has always deserved. Nonetheless, it will strengthen the Ubuntu ecosystem, with more developers interested in being a part of this revolution.