What's in HP's sack? Pre-built Ubuntu machines for the little data scientists in your life

Certain ZBook Studio G7 and Book Create G7 models ready to get number crunching out of the box

Christmas might have come early for data scientists and analysts as HP is to start selling a selection of its laptops pre-installed with Ubuntu 20.04 and everything you need to crunch numbers and build AI models.

The snappily named Z by HP Data Science Software preload will ship select ZBook Studio G7 workstations and Book Create G7 notebooks with a highly customised version of the latest Ubuntu LTS spin. This includes out-of-the-box GPU support, as well as a smorgasbord of pre-installed libraries, developer tools, and native support for the three major cloud platforms – AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure.

On the machine learning front, Z by HP touts support for Keras, Tensorflow, PyTorch, XGBoost, and Scikit-learn. Also included is the Rapids data science library, Git, Microsoft Visual Studio Code, PyCharm, and Docker.

These are things you can, for the most part, install with a single "apt-get" command and a few hours of configuration. HP is betting there's demand for machines that spare the inconvenience, and will allow them to start working from the get go.

"For the data scientist, preloaded software tools mean they can be training data models in minutes after booting their PC, instead of spending days finding and installing all the required tools," said the PC maker.

HP added that it "manages the software packages by testing and confirming key dependencies when delivering future updates. This represents a significant time-saver for the end-user, ultimately allowing data scientists to focus valuable time on their data science workflows."

The US business isn't close to being the first major vendor to ship a workstation-class computer pre-loaded with Linux.

In 2012, Dell began selling its XPS laptops with Ubuntu pre-installed to cater to developer demand. It had previously toyed with the idea of pre-installed Linux, and in 2007 introduced three consumer laptops running Ubuntu, only to swiftly change its mind after limited success.

This second stab proved more popular as it targeted the demographic most likely to be comfortable with the command line, and less distracted by frivolities like gaming. In 2017, Dell claimed it had sold "tens of millions" of these Linux-powered Project Sputnik machines. It has since expanded the number of machines that are configurable with Linux, encompassing its XPS, Precision, and Precision Tower lineups. It has also added RHEL support on certain models.

Lenovo's flirtations with Linux stretch back further. In 2008, it offered Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) as a pre-configuration option on its ThinkPad T61 and R61 notebooks. This was short-lived, and within a year Lenovo changed its mind.

Fortunately, it has since seen the error of its ways. Earlier this year, it announced Linux as an option across all its ThinkPad and ThinkStation machines by the end of 2021. This followed an earlier announcement in April, where Fedora Linux would come as an option on certain developer-oriented computers.

And let's not forget the other smaller Linux vendors that actively target the hefty developer pound; from Purism and System76 in the US, to Entroware in Blighty.

HP differs from these vendors by honing in on another target: data scientists and analysts. For comparison, these other vendors have largely taken a broader approach, and have avoided specialising in one particular area. But is the promise of an out-of-the-box development environment enough to tempt data science professionals?

Tempted punters can get their hands on a Z by HP machine at the end of December, with more models expected to be supported by the end of 2021. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading
  • Utility biz Delta-Montrose Electric Association loses billing capability and two decades of records after cyber attack

    All together now - R, A, N, S, O...

    A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.

    The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

    "We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021