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The Ubuntu Community Interviews Mark Shuttleworth April 25, 2007

Posted by Carthik in interviews, ubuntu.
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As part of the Ubuntu Open Week, everyone interested had a chance to ask Mark Shuttleworth, the SABDFL, their questions.

Thanks to the volunteer efforts of the wiki gardeners, you can read the entire interview online. I was intending to post the entire interview here, after formatting it, but since the interview at the wiki is formatted, and ready, I will just share the salient points.

  1. Regarding requesting ISVs to port their applications to Linux, Mark says that unless Linux users decide to pay for software like AutoCAD and Photoshop on Linux, the ISVs won’t migrate their apps so easily – since there are two things that drive ISVs to explore new oppurtunities – the raw size of the users in a market, and their willingness to pay for software – Mark says Linux is doing well on the number-of-users front, but the second factor is critical. I think one of the ISVs have to take the plunge, and try selling software to Linux users, and serve as a case study for the others to follow.
  2. Regarding the $3 MS OS initiative, Mark says this guy gets it. Basically, there are lots of reasons why, despite the MS OS being only $3, Linux makes a better choice. Interesting.
  3. The inevitable question of why Launchpad is not open-sourced yet was raised. This time, I think I understand the reasons behind it being closed, thanks to Mark’s answer. Basically, launchpad might remain closed till launchpad.net is established as the pivot of bug-tracking and as a general software development support system. Releasing the source now might mean that there will be many “launchpads” like the many bugzillas, thus compounding the problem launchpad is trying to address – that of not having a central issue tracking system that tracks the same unique issue across multiple bug trackers.
  4. Canonical will not go public anytime in the near future, and will also not accept funding from venture capital firms. Mark’s reasoning is that accepting any sort of external financial support will shift Canonical’s focus to a short-term profit/finance driven strategy. Canonical wants to take the long-term view and focus on building a better Linux desktop, among other things.
  5. Here’s the most inspiring part of the interview – Mark says the goals with Ubuntu are to be the best desktop linux distribution and to create a self-sustaining platform for Ubuntu, one that does not rely on license fees. He admits it has never been done before, but believes it can be done.

There is a lot more where these points came from. Read it. The interview seems to suggest there will be another Q&A session with Mark on Firday, April 27th, but the the Open Week Schedule does not have such a session listed. So I am not too sure if there will be another of these sessions. If there is one, I hope I can find it possible to be there for it, live.

Comments»

1. jku - April 25, 2007

I can’t say that I understand #3. There will always be more than one bugtracker/dev. support system (and thinking that launchpad will somehow inevitably always be the best one is just stupid). So, the absolutely most crucial part is building the interoperability bits — making sure the different systems share the information. I don’t see how multiple well-communicating systems would be worse than a singular one-size-fits-all system.

In fact, keeping launchpad closed will without doubt prevent some organizations (e.g. Debian) from using it, thus working against the goal Mark stated…

2. fok - April 25, 2007

The other large issue with #1 is the open source disease of trying to make a free implementation of absolutely everything. Until the open source world can accept that they don’t have to clone everything they find useful this will be a problem. We saw this with bitkeeper, and I’m sure there are other cases. The only products that are safe from this are the really large ones, that have some entrenchment and some name recognition. Anything small, particularly end user stuff, is immediately reimplemented as soon as it becomes useful, this effectively kills commercial development of these kinds of apps.

3. Dee - April 26, 2007

The other session with Marc was yesterday at 18 UTC. They have switched with Friday. It was not cancelled!

Log: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MeetingLogs/openweekfeisty/askmark2

4. The Ubuntu Community Interviews Mark Shuttleworth | Unbuntu Today - April 26, 2007
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