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Linux Top 3: Sputnik, Spherical Cow and Secure Boot

  • December 3, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

1) Dell Sputnik

Every few years, it seems as though yet another hardware vendor tries its hand yet again at building and releasing Linux hardware.

The latest entrant is the Dell Sputnik laptop, aka Dell XPS 13 'inch developer edition. The Dell Sputnik uses Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (no 12.10 here). It's a beefy beast with an Intel i7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD.

Going beyond having just Ubuntu Linux installed on top end Dell hardware, Dell has also included a pair of community projects on Sputnik as well. The Profile Tool provides easy access to github projects enabling users to setup development environments with ease.

The second tool is the cloud launcher. According to Dell," The cloud launcher enables you to create 'microclouds' on your laptop, simulating an at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud."

The price for all that Linux hardware goodness $1,449.

2) Fedora 18 Beta

Dell and Red Hat are no strangers either, though not as part of project Sputnik.

Red Hat's Fedora community was busy last week pushing out the much delayed Fedora 18 beta, aka the Spherical Cow. The Fedora 18 beta release includes a long list of new features that begin, at the beginning of the installation process.

A new offline OS updating capability means that,"..updates will be downloaded in the background, and the user will be informed about available updates only once they are actually ready to be installed."

Gnome desktop users also get a throwback desktop with MATE, a fork of the original Gnome 2.x project and an alternative to the default Gnome 3/Shell.

The final Fedora 18 release is currently set for January 8, 2013

2) Secure Boot Solved?

One of the items that did not land in the Fedora 18 Beta is a fix for UEFI Secure Boot. The Secure Boot issue is one of critical importance to the Linux desktop and one that might now finally have a real solution.

Microsoft's Window 8 hardware certification process involves the use of UEFI Secure Boot which needs to be signed in order to enable an operating system to run. Former Red Hat software engineer Mat Garrett has been working on a solution for nearly a year and the first workable release is now available.

The Linux Foundation is also working on a solution, that has yet to be released.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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