My new focus at Canonical

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

From March next year, I’ll focus my Canonical energy on product design, partnerships and customers. Those are the areas that I enjoy most and also the areas where I can best shape the impact we have on open source and the technology market. I’m able to do this because Jane Silber, who has been COO at Canonical virtually from the beginning, will take on the job of CEO.

Since Jane joined the company, she and I have shared the load of coordinating between the leaders of all the key teams that make up Canonical. We’ve been through various permutations as new initiatives needed different kinds of attention; Jane currently leads the Ubuntu One effort, for example.

I’ve become very passionate about design and quality, and want to spend more time figuring out how we harness the collaborative process to build better, more insightful products. I can’t think of a more interesting challenge, and luckily I couldn’t think of a better person to take over my formal management and leadership responsibilities at Canonical than Jane. We’ve worked together long enough, and closely enough, that I can be confident of continuity in the pieces I most care about and also excited about the ways in which I think Jane will raise the bar for the senior team. As a former VP at General Dynamics, Jane has more experience of large customers and large organisational leadership, which I see as essential for Canonical over the next five years. We are being welcomed as a partner and supplier to ever-larger businesses, and I want to make sure we are a robust answer to their needs.

Many folks in the community will know Jane from Ubuntu Developer Summits, and of course she’s well established as a leader at Canonical. In order to focus on the new role, we’ll be hiring for a COO and a new lead for Ubuntu One (both positions will be advertised publicly as well as within Canonical). There’s no rush, so we plan to coordinate things carefully and I expect I’ll be focused on my new role by March.

181 Responses to “My new focus at Canonical”

  1. Arnab Das Says:

    Good luck to Jane. Ubuntu is headed for some great achievements in the recent future, i can sense it! kudos to u guys.

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  4. Jonah Beck Says:

    Good call. Focus on the fun stuff :)

  5. Lesley Shipton Says:

    I think your new focus is great so good luck with it!

  6. Mitch Says:

    Good news that you will have more time to “build better, more insightful products”.

    As I wrote to you in two letters in the past two years (unfortunately not answered), I have implemented a revolutionary user interface, based on new concepts and techniques, which is far away superior, from the user point of view, to anything else on the market.

    I can only hope that you will read my comment and you will have time to contact me.

    Regards,
    Mitch

  7. Ene Dene Says:

    Mark, you have my respects whatever you choose to do. I only hope that you’ll not give up. Ubuntu CAN become a alternative with respectable market share on desktops (this one is particularly important) as well as servers, but it will take a long time, lot of work, lot of innovation, lot of marketing and better quality (stability). Since you have the right attitude the knowledge it is vital that people like you stay fighting hard.
    Everyone should contribute but the effect is not the same, the best I can do is to make few new installations of Ubuntu in my microenviroment and help some newbie on Ubuntu forums, people like you can do this on a much larger scale and produce new things, that’s why it’s vital that whatever you choose to do you have in mind how important for Linux world you are in respect of obtaining larger market share which is what most of us want.

  8. SGT B Says:

    Mark, I have been using Ubuntu since Dapper Drake, and have outlined reasons to switch for many of my friends and family. I’ve helped with around 15 installs, and once I got them past a few initial configuration hurdles, they are all still at it.
    I am overjoyed at this news and welcome the positive impact that your talent will no doubt bring to this, in my opinion, most beautiful, functional, and humanitarian operating system ever known. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. You’re fighting the good fight in a world full of corporate greed and I’m sure people will switch by the millions… if only they knew how easy it was (and powerful, of course, but most unfortunately won’t realize that potential). Kudos to the Nth.

  9. Walter Says:

    Mark I’ve never before felt compelled to criticise or comment on anything Canonical did with respect to Ubuntu, but the latest search page deal with Yahoo leaves me really worried. After the deal that Yahoo struck with MS with respect to search recently (as per here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8174763.stm), Yahoo it can be argued *is* essentially a front for MS’s Bing search engine, so any deal with Yahoo on search will be seen (arguably legitimately) as indirectly accepting MS money and helping Microsoft infiltrate Linux. Do not underestimate reactions such as here on groklaw: http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=20100127022029404&title=ubuntu%20revenue%20yahoo%2Fms%20deal&type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=815574

    I’m not sure this move helps eradicate bug #1 to be honest. Tread carefully, for there in Yahoo land be dragons…

    “Concerned Ubuntu User”

    Mark Shuttleworth: It’s a fair comment and reasonable concern. The terms of our relationship with Yahoo give us flexibility as to whether they are the default search engine. Should we become uncomfortable with the way Yahoo handles the responsibility, we can change our position. For the moment, there are no indications of concerns beyond the fact that search is a very personal expression, and search history is sensitive, concerns which apply to any non-anonymized Internet search relationship.

  10. marcos Says:

    … outside someone says karmic was a flop, 6 months cycles a flop too, probably not the best moment to leave the chair?

  11. Thorne Olinger Says:

    Mark glad to see that you have focus and drive for ubuntu (the easiest Linux version I’ve used) But I would like to see is ubuntu home server on the LTS versions I have used WHS but to be Honest my whole house is ubuntu now versions 8.04.4 8.10 and 9.04 and I would like to see UHS as a option on 10.4 LTS it could be put in the install listing like the different servers are now e.g. web, file and samba I have posted this before on the forums but get very little feed back or direction on how to set it up on the server i have now. Yes I am a user not programmer I use the CLI all the time so if some body could or would I would like to know how to biuld this in the server version 8.04??? thank mark and all at Canonical/UBUNTU

  12. Leroy Says:

    Hell have no fury like a Perfectionist who gets to the bottom of things.

  13. Thorne Olinger Says:

    Mark glad to see that you have focus and drive for ubuntu (the easiest Linux version I’ve used) But I would like to see is ubuntu home server on the LTS versions I have used WHS but to be Honest my whole house is ubuntu now versions 8.04.4 8.10 and 9.04 and I would like to see UHS as a option on 10.4 LTS it could be put in the install listing like the different servers are now e.g. web, file and samba I have posted this before on the forums but get very little feed back or direction on how to set it up on the server i have now. Yes I am a user not programmer I use the CLI all the time so if some body could or would I would like to know how to biuld this in the server version 8.04??? thank mark and all at Canonical/UBUNTU

  14. Todd Ouellette Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I just received my Kubuntu 9.10 CD from Canonical, and I have to say that I am blown away!!! The KDE desktop crushes anything MS can come out with. I can’t believe how customizable it is.

    In order to switch from Windows, my main focus was…Can I do what I want to do, using Linux? For the first time the answer is yes!! (mostly multimedia stuff)

    What I would really like to see is a coming together of Ubuntu and Kubuntu. I really like KDE over Gnome, but the Ubuntu software centre is awesome. Finally, an easy way to install Linux software!! I wish you guys the best of luck.

  15. Sortsi Says:

    Do you really use Ubuntu? :)

  16. Ankit Tulsyan Says:

    Awesome work…rock on :)

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  18. Alexis Says:

    I’m from Mexico. Sorry if my grammar is bad.

    Good luck Mark! Thank you for Ubuntu. I love it.

    I’m sure Jane Silber will be good as CEO.

    That’s all, good bye.

    THANKS MARK!!

    Ubuntu Forever!!!

  19. Mouahed Nahali Says:

    In many of the tests Ubuntu 9.10 had carried the lead Fedora 12 both by small and large margins — but the Karmic Koala had stumbled when it came to the OpenGL performance, PostgreSQL, and NASA NPB. Of those areas, the OpenGL performance is the most intriguing with such a dramatic difference when using the same exact graphics driver from NVIDIA, which we will continue to explore and run other OpenGL tests available through the Phoronix Test Suite. To reiterate, both Ubuntu 9.10 and Fedora 12 were left in their stock configurations during our testing process.

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  21. Jako Says:

    What is the new light theme for Lucid? Is it Elementary or another one?

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  24. paul morrison Says:

    Go Ubunto go, that’s a really good web serveur, Hello From France, Paul :)

  25. アメリカビザ Says:

    Mark, it’s time for new updates on this. You haven’t posted much since December, 2009.

  26. Gaurish Sharma Says:

    I feel Ubuntu has lost its focus and quality of realease is not good. there are several bugs in ubuntu which are not fixed. I reported several bugs which are not even looked up, nobody replied.

    take launchpad bug tracker, there are bugs which have in [NEW] status for past many months and nobody cared to triage.

    please focus on improving quality of ubuntu, so ‘it just works’!
    instead of users banging their heads into the wall over annoying bugs

    Good Luck!

  27. bayrak Says:

    Congratulations !
    Very very nice site
    Thank you.. =)

  28. Kazade Says:

    Firstly, I want to thank you Mark for *all* of the work you and your team do. I use Ubuntu every day and it really has changed everything.

    I loved the new theme when it was announced, it was slick, cool, and beautiful. The only bad comments I have seen repeated over and over focus on the window buttons, but then we heard that this was just a personal preference set by the user who took the screenshots.

    But now it turns out that actually, the design team has reorganized the buttons *intentionally* by swapping minimize/maximize. Not only completely confusing and frustrating current Ubuntu users, but also users coming from both OSX and Windows. On top of that, it breaks many metacity themes designed for the “normal” ordering.

    Why?

    Why change it? Of all the things to reorganize why swap something so fundamental causing users to relearn with no obvious benefit? I’m not bothered about the position of the buttons, I can adjust to the left side pretty easily, but it’s much harder to relearn where to click. I can also edit gconf to reorganize it myself, but then the ordering ruins the beautiful new theme that your team has created.

    To be honest, after spending the last 24 hours ranting and raving to friends and family about how amazing 10.04 is gonna be, I’m gutted and disappointed, I hope that at least the ordering of minimize/maxmize is restored before final release, because it’s gonna be a pain when half the Ubuntu users continue to restore the functionality they are used to via gconf, and half the users learn to live the new ordering. :(

    Mark Shuttleworth: I’m supporting the design preference for the window controls on the left. It was not intended, however, that the switch should affect all themes. There are technical means for people to change the control position and order, too. We’ll leave the controls on the left for Radiance and Ambiance during the 10.04 Beta 1, and consider changing them based on how that goes.

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  30. haruspexed Says:

    Hi Mark, I feel a little wistful, like a father when his kids become grown and leave home for studies. I will miss the brown / orange, it has been part of my desktop life all the last years, same with the “we are one” (3 colors of logo / all human beeings). I still think orange/brown could become better than any mac design team ever could design a look ^^. Anyway the new design looks very grown. A new era. One step forward in lifetime :)

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