One year ago...Mark Shuttleworth on idealism

Mark Shuttleworth's Ubuntu will win not because it copies better, but because it seeks to be better.

I was just reading through old Open Road posts, and was excited to find how appropriate two posts were, in particular, given my activities this week. I'm in Argentina for work, family (my parents live here), and play (skiing with Mark Shuttleworth), and this last one prods me to link to an old post and recapture some of it here:

Mark does an excellent job of balancing idealism and pragmatism in how he approaches open source, which comes across perfectly in the article:

"It's very easy to declare victory," says Mr. Shuttleworth, describing the smug attitude of some open-source supporters....Ubuntu's aim is not to conquer the software establishment and replace its products. Rather than seeing open-source software as one of two competing ideologies and focusing on the struggle, Ubuntu thinks about the user....Taking the hassle out of open source is intended to move adoption beyond politically motivated enthusiasts and encourage mass adoption of the software on its merits

All of which makes Mark's recent suggestion that Linux desktop developers not seek to clone Windows and Mac OS X, but instead to surpass them all the more interesting. Mark has been remarkably consistent in urging the open-source world to innovate, not replicate.

It's why I think Mark will win, rather than simply squeak out a great facsimile of winning.

That said, I'm still planning to leave his snowboarding tail in my skiing wake. Sorry, Mark. No idealism on the slopes. :-)

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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