Games, Sputnik, and robots: The week in open source

It was a fairly exciting week for Linux and open source. Jack Wallen shares some of the highlights, from games, to robotics, to servers.

A lot went on, during the past week, in the world of Linux and open source. So much so, I couldn't figure out which to focus on. So, instead, I am going to give you the highlights of what I think to be some of the exciting moments  of the week that came down the pike for open source!

Project Sputnik and Dell

Computer giant, Dell, has announced a new initiative to place into the hands of designers and developers, an Ultrabook geared specifically towards the web and mobile developers. What is significant about this new Ultrabook is that it will come pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux and plenty of exciting tools for designers and developers. Using this Ultrabook, designers and developers can then download specific profiles from GitHub. The first profiles to be available will be for Android, Ruby and JavaScript. But there will be plenty more profiles to come.

IBM and Linux

Not to be outdone by Dell, IBM announced a new line of Linux servers --the Power 7 rack and blade servers that run Linux, and only Linux. Although the Power systems do not really save the consumer much in the way of cost, there is the new Flex System p24L Compute Node blade for the new PureFlex system and the IBM PowerLinuxTM 7R2 rack server. Both of these servers are dedicated Linux-only with 2 Power 7 6/8 core, 4 threads/core processors. To make the pot even sweeter, these server will be shipped with unlimited licenses for IBM’s PowerVM hypervisor.

Ubuntu news

There were a few interesting notes from the Ubuntu-verse. After releasing what will most likely be one of their biggest hits to date (Precise Pangolin), a few more bits of noteworthy news came out of Canonical. First and foremost was the announcement of the possibility of a GNOME-based Ubuntu release. This pure GNOME release will coincide with the release of Ubuntu 12.10 and will be GNOME Shell based (not Classic GNOME based).

If you weren't looking closely, you probably missed the inclusion of two EA Games in the Ubuntu Software Center. Both Lord of Ultima and Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances were added to the software repositories. Yes, these are both nothing more than web apps, but EA Games has recognized Ubuntu as a really exciting channel to deliver their content. This should be seen as a test on EA Games' part to find out how well they are received by the Ubuntu crowd. The games are free from the Ubuntu Software Center. I've installed Ultima and find it to be a very well done game. Give them both a try so EA Game's knows it has a welcome home on Ubuntu.

Canonical also announced they would be creating a new rootfs builder in order to make an absolute minimal filesystem for Ubuntu to run on devices with minimal disk space. Does this herald the possibility of Canonical making a serious move into the mobile space? Might we see a Ubuntu Phone in the future?

Willow Garage launches Open Source Robotics Foundation

For those who like to geek out on robotics -- this will be right up your servo (Tom Servo, that is). The Open Source Robotics Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community whose mission is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development. The foundation includes a veritable "who's who" among the robotics world, including: Wolfram Burgard, Ryan Gariepy, Brian Gerkey, Helen Greiner, and Sam Park.

Linux seems to be gaining grounds on all fronts. It's an exciting time to be an advocate for Linux and open source. These types of events and announcements will only continue to pour in as more and more users adopt Linux for their servers and their desktops.

What about you? Do you have a bit of Linux or open source news you would like to share with your fellow TechRepublic readers? If so, share in the comments.