Shuttleworth Clears Ubuntu 10.04 for Liftoff
It’s official: Ubuntu 10.04 Long Term Support arrives April 29, and this particular blogger was privy to the press conference about it. Canonical Chairman Mark Shuttleworth and CEO Jane Silber discussed the plans and progress of new operating system, and then fielded some Q and A. The key news: More than 80 ISVs are supporting Ubuntu. But here’s what it means for the desktop users and Canonical as a whole…
Ubuntu 10.04 is now certified on over 50 servers and laptops, and OEM support is taking off worldwide. Dell has embraced Ubuntu Enterprise Clouds, and Lenovo has just launched Ubuntu machines into China.
Of course, Ubuntu 10.04 comes with some tweaks, most notably the ‘social’ desktop. Chris Tozzi has the nitty gritty details, but the basic rundown is an integration of your social media into your desktop for easy blogging, tweeting, and general communication.
During the press conference, Mark Shuttleworth spoke about the new design featured in 10.04:
“10.04 is a substantial step forward [and a] shift in the look and feel. For six years [we designed] around [the motto] “linux for human beings” and drove our work [into the] community….now we’ve shown Linux is not just for computer specialists; [it] can be a warm, positive and friendly-constructive desktop environment.”
Shuttleworth also commented on how he wanted Ubuntu to be ‘light-ware’ or lightweight software that didn’t feel weighed down or bloated.
“[We want Ubuntu to] feel lightweight, agile. Visually [we worked] on the theme of light, too.”
And indeed, screen shots of 10.04 show a somewhat similar background to Mac OS X’s Aurora light show. But enough about the good looks, let’s get back to the software and those ISVs. Since Ubuntu is gaining traction in the market, I asked Shuttleworth:
“With increased support form ISVs, do you see this as Ubuntu taking a step towards gaining a foothold as a more widely and commonly developed platform like Mac or Windows?”
Silber, then Shuttleworth responded:
“[It’s] strong signal about general acceptance [with] growth in consumer space and enterprise space. ISVs won’t support [a platform] unless there’s a commercial or strategic reason to do it…ISVs and OEMs [make] a strong endorsement [and help]growth and traction”
Shuttleworth took it a bit farther, and brought up the comparison to Apple and the app store…
“[There’s] a number of things we’re doing to increase attractiveness. [Right now] we’re a cycle early to highlight [these things]. In our next release we intend to make it possible to have a consumer experience around the software built into the Ubuntu Software Center…aimed at making it straightforward [for] developers [to] publish their software free or commercial. Ff we are able to deliver Ubuntu across a comprehensive set of OEMs we’re very well positioned for opportunistic developers in a large development market.”
There was also some talk about delivering a special channel in the Software Center for devs that want to introduce software that hasn’t gone through Canonical’s 6 month testing cycle in effort to connect publishers more directly to end users. Shuttleworth hinted that wouldn’t be around ’till Ubuntu 10.10.
Silber noted that this is the highest amount of ISVs ever signed on to support Ubuntu, and they’re committed to an ongoing relationship where Ubuntu can continue to be a distribution channel for software.
And as for challengers like Microsoft and Apple? Silber noted:
“I think…many people have more than one computer, so decisions [to pick Ubuntu] are additive instead of a replacement decision. But they (Apple and Microsoft) are competitors we look at and our users [will] decide… [But] we look at their products and features and use that to help inform some of our strategic decisions…”
Lastly, is Canonical making any money on this thing, yet?
Short answer? No. Shuttleworth sounded confident as ever though, as he noted they’re continually driving towards profitability and are keenly aware about the “depth of the channel and scale of investment required in markets” to make such a business profitable. But with all the OEM support, Shuttleworth seemed at ease.
Lastly, it was noted that Canonical is doing well enough that they’re slated for the next LTS release in April 2012 and they’re happy about the “rich ecosystem” Ubuntu and the Debian base have provided