Today, Dell announced that its Project Sputnik developer initiative has been commercially approved and that the first Sputnik laptop — a special version of the XPS 13 — will be launched later this fall. Project Sputnik is an experimental initiative trying to create a hardware and software platform that will make it easy for developers to create cloud applications. The Sputnik laptop will be sold running Ubuntu 12.04 with a full set of Linux hardware drivers and the developer-focused Profile and Cloud tools.

The Profile tool is intended to making it easy for developers to connect to GitHub and download development profiles for JavaScript, Ruby, Android, and others. The Cloud tool, on the other hand, will help developers manage "microclouds," which can "[simulate] a proper, at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud." Both of these tools will help developers access and deploy robust development environments without bogging the system down with unnecessary bloatware.

The Project Sputnik Ubuntu system image is already online, and while you can try it on an existing XPS 13, the Profile and Cloud tools are still being developed. What the company has not yet announced is a definitive release date or price for the Sputnik laptop, so you anxious coders out there will have to wait just a little bit longer before you can apt-get in on the action.