Dell launched an experiment this year to determine whether they could build a good Linux laptop for software developers. The movement is coded Project Sputnik, which pairs XPS13 Ultrabooks with Ubuntu 12.04.

The Ubuntu 12.04 was just released this year. For those who aren’t familiar with Ubuntu, it is one of the most popular Linux Distro and is based from the Debian Family. Ubuntu is perfect for Desktop use. It also has another version which specializes in networking. There are many tastes of Ubuntu to choose from. It’s up to the user to decide which Desktop Manager suits him/her best.

This project is aimed for developers. They are given a number of useful tools and a framework for automating the installation of specific development stacks and cloud deployment tools. Dell tweaked some hardware enablement to improve the touchpad support and support for features like toggling WiFi using hotkeys.

Project Sputnik was revealed last May. Dell said that they are in the process of a six-month pilot program to determine whether it would be a turning point to turn a concept into an actual product. In a statement this week, Dell decided that they will proceed on their plan. Sputnik will officially launch this year and will be available to consumers in select markets. The company says that it is incorporating feedback from developers into the plan.

Since we announced project Sputnik a little over two months ago, we have continued to be amazed by the amount and quality of interest and input we have received,” said Dell marketing director Barton George in a statement. “By listening to developers, Dell can provide them with solutions and products to help make them more productive and allow for greater innovation.”

The 13.3 inch XPS 13 has a svelte form factor and reasonable hardware specifications. The model comes with a SSD (Solid State Drive), 4GB RAM, and a glossy 1366 x 768 display and the option to choose from either i5 or i7 processors. It seems like a very compelling hardware with its business-professional grade specifications. Its only fault is its screen size. Dell should have considered pumping it up into a 1440 x 900 display.