The New York Times published a great three-page story on Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical and Ubuntu a few days ago. It definitely deserves a read.
It’s great to see serious articles like this in such a mainstream publication. I have to say, Ubuntu certainly has done much to bring Linux to the people. Even if Mark’s great efforts here are “just” philanthropy, he has clearly shown what can be done with desktop Linux.
I’ll admit that, as a more or less full-time Mac laptop user between 2003 and 2007, I had pretty much given up on desktop Linux. That was before Ubuntu raised the usability bar to show people what they can expect from a desktop-oriented distribution with real dollars behind it.
Linux is a disruptive technology with the potential to shake up the entire computing industry. Mark Shuttleworth has shown that such a technology needs proper seed money, time, and continual effort to provide real competition to the major desktop players. I hope that his ongoing efforts pay off in the long-term and provide him with yet another Thawte-like hit. In the meantime, I very much appreciate everything that he and his crew have invested thus far. It is a breath of fresh air to have a professional, high-quality Linux desktop release that rivals Mac and Windows. Others, notably Corel, Xandros and Lindows have come close but Ubuntu is the first version of Linux to do so in the spirit of Open Source development. Ubuntu does so inclusively, without cost to end-users, without serial numbers, activation codes and other artificial market segregation that have plagued previous Linux desktop efforts.
Thank you Mr. Shuttleworth.