Home > Ubuntu > Mark Shuttleworth Answers At Length Mark Shuttleworth Answers At Length Eugenia Loli 2005-04-05 Ubuntu 47 Comments Mark Shuttleworth is an astronaut, entrepreneur, activist, and now chief of Debian-and-GNOME based distribution Ubuntu Linux. Read his interview at Slashdot. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 47 Comments 2005-04-05 8:45 am only GNOME-based with the Hoary release in three days. 2005-04-05 8:57 am “Shuttleworth”, good family name for an astronaut 2005-04-05 9:03 am Somebody in /. had already posted the same thing as I did (s/he did it before me for sure, the first comment -_-“) … wa~ 2005-04-05 9:42 am I tried the live CD preview and must say I liked it a lot. Besides the speed increases, it also worked more or less correctly with my laptop’s power management. The fan even stopped at regular interval, which is a first for me on Lnux. Of course, it could be some stuff in the new Kernel releases, and not Ubuntu specific, but it’s very nice nonetheless… 2005-04-05 10:22 am I like Ubuntu, but I don’t like it’s formula. This guy has a lot of money, and he can make “gifts” like Ubuntu but “free” Ubuntu will propably kill some commercial distros. And it’s not good at all. 2005-04-05 10:30 am “I like Ubuntu, but I don’t like it’s formula. This guy has a lot of money, and he can make “gifts” like Ubuntu but “free” Ubuntu will propably kill some commercial distros. And it’s not good at all. ” any day better than the MS’ gratis copies of Encarta or Windoze.. 2005-04-05 10:38 am How will Ubuntu being available for free kill some commercial distros? It is good for Linux in general if some forward-thinking people step up and raise the ante for Linux (mostly for desktop usage). Do you have some beef with Mark Shuttleworth because he have done some things in his life that you may never be able do? If not, could you please elaborate how Ubuntu will turn into this nemesis device? You do realise that there are at least a few commercial linux distros like Redhat, Novell/Suse, Mandrake, Xandros, Linspire, TurboLinux and quite a few others. Of these probably only the heavyweights have the ability to knock down the lesser funded commercial distros. But you have to ask yourself the question: How many commercial Linux Distros have disappeared since the year 2000 and how many do you foresee will be crushed now by the vast assimilating power of Ubuntu. “We are the Bork, resistance is futile” 2005-04-05 11:17 am No, I don’t want to fly on Mars or something. I think that Ubuntu is problem because of Ubuntu it’s hard to commercialize Linux development. I of course agree that Linux is free and should be free but it doesn’t mean that everything related to Linux should be free. And while Canonical sends free CD’s for free to users around the world, gives free access to their servers for updates, it’s pretty sick for me. You could call this “gift” but we propably could also call it “dumping”. We all know that money are important. And development goes faster and better if someone pays for it. We have developers sponsored by Sun, Novell etc. And while such great like Ubuntu product is availabe for free for all it will be really hard to pay for their job. You may not agree with me but development goes faster when overall amount of money is big. Currently Ubuntu is popular, Canonical still got money for their dumping, but what if money will end? Who is going to pay for free distribution? Then you’ll understand that Linux (source code) has to be free but distribution should be commercial because developers need money. 2005-04-05 11:29 am > You could call this “gift” but we propably could also call > it “dumping”. Volunteer fire fighters, hospital voluteers, school volunteers, community barn raisings, …. Volunteerism is been around for ages, and it does take away from commercialism, but I’d rather live in a world with volunteers than without. ================================== “The Petition of the Candlemakers,” We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a foreign rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light, that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price…. This rival… is none other than the sun…. … We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull’s-eyes, deadlights and blinds; in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures…. 2005-04-05 11:31 am Linux distribution doesn’t have to be anything / commercial–Shuttlesworth can do whatever he wants with UBUNTU, it is his business, and no one elses. If he wants to give it away free, more the power to him. In the USA, with all our wealth, the land of the doggie pedicure, UBUNTU is no more free than GENTOO, FreeBSD or any of the other free distributions; why pick on UBUNTU? I doubt that most UBUNTU users get it via mail anyways; they get it the same way BSD or other distro users get it-they download it ( at least in the US ). Those who cannot afford to download UBUNTU probably could not afford even a commercial distro’s low cost. If you don’t like UBUNTU then you can always buy Steve j. or Billy G another corporate jet. 2005-04-05 11:55 am I know that Shuttleworth can do with his money what he want. But I don’t agree that Ubuntu is just like Gentoo etc. you can buy Gentoo cd’s. They won’t send them to you for free. You see I like Ubuntu, but I also don’t agree that it is created by volunteers. For example Jeff Waugh is hired by Canonical, and I’m sure he doesn’t work for free. Also Ubuntu is so great because Gnome is better and better. But not all Gnome developers work for free as volunteers. Especially Evolution guys while Evolution development is sponsored by Novell. And I’m sure that Novell, Sun and another corporations will not give money for product that has no commercial future for them. And this is why I think that Ubuntu goes in wrong way. Linux has great philosophy. Linux has free code but don’t make Linux Utopia. Free doesn’t mean free of charge for everyting. Shuttleworth personally has a lot of money and he propably doesn’t need to work at all to the end of his life, but developers need job to earn money and I’m sure that we all like gift’s but we should think that this gift means “no job and no money” for some people. So, as I said, Ubuntu is nice as product, but I think that it’s business model goes in wrong way. Sorry. 2005-04-05 12:31 pm If developers need money, maybe they shouldn’t be coding software that is freely available (both in terms of beer and in terms of speech). 2005-04-05 12:54 pm “But I don’t agree that Ubuntu is just like Gentoo etc. you can buy Gentoo cd’s. They won’t send them to you for free.” … “developers need job to earn money and I’m sure that we all like gift’s but we should think that this gift means “no job and no money” for some people” I entirely disagree – what does giving cd’s for free have in common with paying developers for their job ? If Shuttleworth has the money to do both – that’s ok with me. If he doesn’t have to pay them – why should he ? The only importing thing is – if it works. Since it does, there is nothing to be concerned about. It’s the laws of market that rule our world, no matter how crude it may seam. Some people who can not afforrd commercial linux distro nor do have viable access to the internet will benefit from the Ubuntu sharing model most greatly. If the developers won’t be paid then we will call them volunteers – since no one is forcing them to contribute their time and skill’s you can’t forbid them to do so. If it will result in fewer job’s for some, then it will be becouse of the (free) open source development model, not becouse of this free cd’s. But on the other side there will be more jobs for system administrator, web developers – becouse of the wider spread of IT technology. My advice – try to be more resilient. Wining won’t do any good. Oh – and one more thing – commercial distros developers can make living from support, not only from selling cd’s. Price isn’t always the most important factor. Maybe that is the way to become more competetive… 2005-04-05 1:00 pm I don’t see this as a problem. It will force the commercial distros to get better and weed out those who are merely branding an existing distro and launching it as brand new. 2005-04-05 1:23 pm But I don’t think its this all mighty distro everyone claims it to be. But it is pretty good for what it does. My only objections to it is the way it runs as a nonroot account and has you ‘su’ to run applications. I’d rather log in as a user, then bring up a terminal and su into root and run the application. But thats probably minor and i’m just being whiney. 2005-04-05 1:26 pm take it this way…since ubuntu is free… anyone can come up with Ubuntu++ or something like that which includes Java , Flash , Real Codecs…etc etc… and sell it…maybe people will buy it??? 2005-04-05 1:31 pm I like Ubuntu.. it’s on my list of top distro’s along side, Gentoo, SuSE, Linspire and a few others. But the one thing that still eludes me is getting my wireless nic to work on my laptop. Just wish I could plug it in and go.. 2005-04-05 1:32 pm This is possibly the dumbest conversation I have ever witnessed. If Ubuntu is taking the world by storm it is because either a) it kicks the ass of every other distro, or b) are fresh enough and new enough people want to try it out. No one is using it because there was no other way for them to get linux than shipit. To be honest, if you don’t have a network connection, Ubuntu is probably the worst distro for you to use — at least Fedora and others have multiple disks to create a feature complete system from. Ubuntu more or less assumes and requires network connectivity simply to install, In any event, this is the first time in my life I have seen someone demonize altruism. 2005-04-05 1:44 pm “Part of being sustainable is keeping the costs down, so focus resources on development and support, not marketing or office waste.” Amen to that brother! Economics for the small businesses and home offices. While I don’t use Ubuntu, I think its a great distro with a good community behind it. Keep up the good work Mr. Shuttleworth. BTW. Gates ever been launched into space? 2005-04-05 1:49 pm >> BTW. Gates ever been launched into space? I don’t think so, but I know a lot of people that would like to launch him there… 😉 2005-04-05 1:53 pm “But I don’t agree that Ubuntu is just like Gentoo etc. you can buy Gentoo cd’s. They won’t send them to you for free.” Oh for crying out loud! Ubuntu is bad because they will ship you a set of CD’s for free, whereas Gentoo is good, because it will cost you (a whopping $10!) to order their set of CD’s from them? Are you reading what you are typing? Fact is that there are TONS of free Linux’es out there. And I guess most people download their copy of Linux, instead of have it shipped to them on a CD. and in that case, both Ubuntu and Gentoo are propably just as cheap (Gentoo might be cheaper, since the install-CD is not as big as Ubuntu’s install-CD (AFAIK). Or, you could make copies from existing Ubuntu/Gentoo-CD’s, and in that case, they are both just as cheap. “Also Ubuntu is so great because Gnome is better and better. But not all Gnome developers work for free as volunteers. ” What does that have to do with Ubuntu? Seriously? Some GNOME-hackers work for Novell, Red Hat etc. etc., and they pay their salaries. I fail to see the problem here. And some work for free. Again: No problems as far as I can see. “And I’m sure that Novell, Sun and another corporations will not give money for product that has no commercial future for them.” So, because Ubuntu is free, Novell and others will abandon Linux? Uh-huh… Hell, even Red Hat does not sell SOFTWARE as such, they sell services for their software. Novell and others can do the same. IBM can do it as well, as well as selling hardware for Linux. And NONE of them are threatened by Ubuntu. Ubuntu gives you free OS&apps. If you want support for it, you have to pay. Same thing with Red Hat or SUSE for example. So why is Ubuntu bad, whereas Red Hat and SUSE are “good”? Why are Novell, Red Hat and the like threatened by Ubuntu, but not by Debian? or Gentoo? Or *BSD? If you think that that free set of CD’s Ubuntu offers is the important factor here, you are sorely mistaken! Do you REALLY think that offering free set of CD’s ensures that your Linux will dominate, you couldn’t possibly be any farther from the truth! Seriously: you are making NO sense at all! Honestly, I don’t know why I wasted these few minutes replying to your post! Disclaimer: I use Gentoo myself. 2005-04-05 1:55 pm Actually that very statement indicated that he does not have a clue what Marketing is. Strange for someone who does an awful lot of marketing. Maybe it just comes naturally to him. If I remember correctly Ubuntu asks if it can send your application usage to its servers (At least it did in the first preview version). That is a marketing function. Anyway I am sick to death of people confusing advertising with marketing. Advertising is just one part Promotion and that is only one part of marketing. Anyway he clearly has a lot of natural business and organizational skill. 2005-04-05 2:04 pm “Also Ubuntu is so great because Gnome is better and better. But not all Gnome developers work for free as volunteers. ” What does that have to do with Ubuntu? Seriously? Some GNOME-hackers work for Novell, Red Hat etc. etc., and they pay their salaries. I fail to see the problem here. And some work for free. Again: No problems as far as I can see. You are right and Ubuntu developers are the likes of Jeff Waugh who is a key person within Gnome and Debian if my memory serves me correctly. I believe that all the patches/fixes etc that go into Ubuntu also go into Debian as the Ubunut developers are also Debian developers. Ubuntu is really just a stabilized version of SID with its own theme, branding and package selection. 2005-04-05 2:12 pm the short time i tried Ubuntu: i didn’t like, it was too much automatic for me. But i got to notice that it’s the closest thing to Mac a have seen on x86. The only missing part was the hardware…. why not make the whole product and ship ubuntu computers…that is sustainable… 2005-04-05 2:34 pm It’s a good idea in theory. I mean if I had a billion dollars funding a linux distro would probably be up there with one of the things I’d like to get done. Problem is that money will run out fast, RedHat, Sun and Novell (I assume) pump millions into their distro per year. 1/5th of everything RH makes goes into research and development for instance. They can sustain this because they are getting an income and can afford to pay the best in the business such as M.Harris, Havoc, cox, etc to hack away. Free software means different things to different people. Personally I don’t feel OSS is here to save world hunger and turn ethopia into silicon valley. Thats just not going to happen. But what can come true is we can invest in a product that we will always have the source code to so one company isn’t dictating price and direction unequivocally like Microsoft was doing before competition came. There is a place for ubunto certainly but should redhat novell and sun be worried? no. They’ve had competition since they were born and ubunto wont be a commercial anytime soon. they still need to build a name synonymous with quality and have a small army of the best OSS engineers, something said 3 company’s already have. Trust me, its no cake walk to build a name for yourself. Shouting on osnews and slashdot for people to try your disto doesn’t really count as it can actually turn off many users. Nobody wants a foot in the doorway at 6 AM sunday morning, if we want to go to church we will. 2005-04-05 3:15 pm Someone please remind me that if I decide to give something away for free, not to let anyone know about it. I’d hate to get bad mouthed for being generous. There is seriously something wrong with the train of thought that freaks out about free CDs. With all the problems in the world, let alone the software market, why would free CDs be an issue worth complaining about? IF Ubuntu killed one or many commercial Linux distros it would because they were better or more well liked, not because they ship free CDs. Please get a grip on that and move on. 2005-04-05 3:29 pm He never answered the question of why Ubuntu is special i.e. why is it better than the rest. Still can’t get excited about yet another Linux distro. There are few major differences between modern distro’s they are either source based, debian based or redhat based but still they are all the same OS. I should repackage Fedora and call it Red Helmet Linux i am sure i would get my own set of fanboys. 2005-04-05 3:57 pm Linux is all about choice. You can choose to pay for a distro or use one for free. You can choose your WM, Deamons to run or not run, hell you can even choose to tweak any of the software to your ability / desire. If Ubuntu Kills of some commercial ditro’s its because important parts of were missing in that distro and were in Ubuntu.Hoary seems to continue the brilliance of Warty. Kudos to the Ubuntu / Kubuntu Team. 2005-04-05 4:14 pm Smartpatrol, Indeed, various distributions ‘are all the same OS’ in some very important sense. That doesn’t mean that they don’t also have distinguishing features. For example: I was very impressed with the first Ubuntu release and have been recommending it to friends of mine who want to try Linux. So last night, I decided to install the Hoary release candidate on an empty partition on my laptop; I was curious to see if the Ubuntu devs had made any major improvements. To my surprise and delight, they had. On the default install — for the first time I’ve ever seen with any Linux distribution — every last hardware component on my laptop worked completely, from sound to Intel wireless (ipw2200) to hibernate/suspend, without my intervention. I didn’t have to do anything. Yes, it is possible for me to get everything working under Debian, but I have to work at it. Is it the same OS as Debian, or Red Hat, or whatever? Yes, of course. But a default install in which all the hardware on my laptop is supported? This is the kind of thing that will allow Linux to grow in the desktop market. Likewise, the rather minor GUI/usability tweaks the Ubuntu devs include don’t make it a different OS; but they improve the user experience by leaps and bounds. I’m not a devoted Ubuntu user — I’m too much of a tinkerer, and am likely to stick with Gentoo and Debian. But what these people are doing is really impressive and important, and they contribute all of their work back to the community, unlike certain commercial distributions that aim for ease of use. I’ve never been so impressed with the quality and progress of a Linux distribution. 2005-04-05 4:41 pm For the first time since I have been reading Distrowatch, MandrakeLinux has been brought down to #2 most viewed distribution and replaced by Ubuntu! If nothing else, at least Ubuntu is creating a lot of buzz for a long time! 2005-04-05 4:52 pm ive been using debian for a few months and just trying the live cds, but i finally installed hoary rc (i think 2?) a few days ago and id just like to say, its fantastic. sorry i dont have any nuggets of wisdom to add to the conversation, but i just had to share my joy. 2005-04-05 5:07 pm Canonical is a business. They give away the distro, but offer support services. Since they target the enterprise, which will pay for services, it’s not contrary to their interest to give away the distro. If anything, it helps build up the brand to make it more attractive to companies. 2005-04-05 5:16 pm Yes, Canonical is a business. They not only offer support services but also do non-free software. 2005-04-05 5:36 pm Mark was talking about Ubuntu as a platform. What stops commercial distros from using Ubuntu as the core of their distro? Even better, they invest in the developement of the next Ubuntu, they would spend less money and have a more stable core. If distros pooled their efforts on the stuff that NEEDS to work, Linux as a whole will be better off. 2005-04-05 5:46 pm and it look’s like we have him for good “For the first time since I have been reading Distrowatch, MandrakeLinux has been brought down to #2 most viewed distribution and replaced by Ubuntu!” yeah! – check out what happens when You change data span to 1 month (instead of 6) – that is most impressive 2005-04-05 5:49 pm what a great time for him to reply to these questions, two days before Hoary Hedgehog, he has been slashdotted … and no doubt again tomorrow with it’s release. Smart. JG 2005-04-05 6:40 pm and it look’s like we have him for good “For the first time since I have been reading Distrowatch, MandrakeLinux has been brought down to #2 most viewed distribution and replaced by Ubuntu!” yeah! – check out what happens when You change data span to 1 month (instead of 6) – that is most impressive About 1-2 years ago Yoper was briefly #1 on Distrowatch. Anyone still using it? Granted Ubuntu is probably better than Yoper ever was and most importantly has financial backing as well as a great base in Debian. 2005-04-05 7:11 pm MS talks specifically about growing an community around Ubuntu that includes commercial support. The talk is a bit vauge, but he is not simply talking about building a gift distro with his billions. He aims to build a community that provides jobs. If Ubuntu is so great that all other distros were somehow to fall by the wayside, then you and I can turn around and offer local support for Ubuntu. There are always people that are willing to pay for computer support. Since operating systems, computer hardware and computer support are complementary goods, lowering the cost of operating systems and hardware should acutally increase the demand for computer support. 2005-04-05 7:13 pm People pin a lot of things on Ubuntu and Mark. Ubuntu is not trying to destroy commercial Linux, and its not out there to be special. Mark just liked Debian a lot, but thought “it needs a lot of work to be a decent desktop distro though.” So he copied it, and paid people to fix it up a release the fixed up version on one CD. He spends his money on it because it is enjoyable for him. He likes sprucing up Debian. The devs like it to. Why is Ubuntu special? I don’t know that it is. I use it because it combines the best of Debian Sid (more packages than any other distro sans Gentoo) and the best of Fedora (cleaned up desktop, good hardware autodetection, good community, wonderful faqs and documents). The best parts about Ubuntu (the 3rd party repos, the forum, the community) are not even Mark’s doing… 2005-04-05 7:18 pm I see well I guess maybe it depends on needs I personally do not use Linux for anything other then server duty. I see your point of having a Ditro that detects everything on the first try. Perhasp i will give Ubuntu a shot 2005-04-05 8:19 pm Now I know why people abbreviate Microsoft as “M$”, to avoid confusion with Mark Shuttleworth – “MS”. 2005-04-05 10:17 pm As reader and ubuntu user I may Add: What a difference with the arrogance of the Other M$!! 2005-04-05 10:37 pm ” He never answered the question of why Ubuntu is special i.e. why is it better than the rest. Still can’t get excited about yet another Linux distro. There are few major differences between modern distro’s they are either source based, debian based or redhat based but still they are all the same OS. I should repackage Fedora and call it Red Helmet Linux i am sure i would get my own set of fanboys. ” Freedesktop stuff is integrated + good repositories. Compare thjat to kudzu. 2005-04-05 11:15 pm As far as using it on a server vs. a desktop: Ubuntu won’t help you out if you rely on Windows-only software on your desktop machine. They’re making nice improvements with graphical config tools and with the GUI in general — in my mind, moving it toward the point where non-technical people could use it and not have problems (not any more than they do with Windows, at any rate). But they obviously can’t make Photoshop run on Linux If you’re talking about trying it out on a server, I wouldn’t bother — not because you couldn’t set it up to do what you want, but because you wouldn’t really gain anything by using it over, say, Debian. The desktop is (in my opinion) where it shines. 2005-04-06 12:12 am Have you seen GimpShop? Makes it really really easy for Photoshop users to switch to Gimp. Of course, the response to this has been people complaining that GimpShop doesn’t have 100% of the features that Photoshop has.. to which I say: get coding. http://bact.blogspot.com/2005/04/gimpshop.html 2005-04-06 4:10 am Heh, I just meant it as an example. For my purposes, Gimp does everything I need and more. As for the people I know who tell me otherwise…they’re not coders 2005-04-06 3:35 pm If you’re talking about trying it out on a server, I wouldn’t bother — not because you couldn’t set it up to do what you want, but because you wouldn’t really gain anything by using it over, say, Debian. The desktop is (in my opinion) where it shines. Right no i wouldn’t use it for server duty i meant to try it out on my 2.4Ghz toshiba laptop i have laying around that i can’t afford to buy another Windows XP license for at the moment. When i was younger i didn’t mind tweaking and tuning systems to get them up and running properly now that i am older the less fiddling the better. I since reading the Suse pro review i am wondering how Ubuntu stacks up with Suse. Suse being the only distro that i have actually been impressed with lately.