In a surprise move (at least, it was surprising to me), Ubuntu founder and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth has announced he’s stepping down as the CEO of Canonical, the commercial endeavour behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution. He will continue, however, to play major role in the company and Ubuntu’s future.
Jane Silber, the Chief Operating Officer of Canonical, will take over Shuttleworth’s role as CEO. His stepping down as CEO does not mean, in any way, that Shuttleworth will disappear from the stage. In fact, his stepping down allows him to focus more on product design and development, his passions. He will also remain as the head of the Ubuntu Community Council and the Ubuntu Technical Board, and he wants to spend more time working with partners, especially in Asia.
“I will focus on my passions of product design and development. I want Ubuntu to succeed as the open platform of choice for almost all use types whether on netbook, notebook, desktop, server, embedded device or wherever people compute,” Shuttleworth said in an interview with ComputerWorld, “That is a large undertaking and being able to focus on that, thanks to Jane, is a great privilege. I will also spend more time talking to and visiting partners and customers about what they demand from an open platform and feeding that back into the product through the community and Canonical.”
Canonical will continue to do what it has been doing, and will not change direction because of this. The move also means that the leader of Canonical and the leader of Ubuntu are now two different people.
“This move will bring about is a clearer separation of the role of CEO of Canonical and the leader of the Ubuntu community,” Silber said, “It will be two different people now, which I think will be helpful in both achieving their joint and individual goals more quickly.”