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Dell to Offer Ubuntu to Consumers May 1, 2007

Posted by Carthik in commentary, interviews, news, ubuntu.
38 comments

So Dell did not get caught in the storm of it’s making – it swept the storm off its feet! This is the day the scales started tipping.

Dell will start offering consumers PCs with Ubuntu 7.04 (aka Feisty Fawn) on its PCs for interested customers. The Dell Ideas in Action Blog announced as much earlier today, stating very clearly that Ubuntu was their distribution of choice, and that they have worked out the specifics of the deal with Canonical, the entity that support Ubuntu’s development. Read Canonical’s brief announcement here. According to Canonical’s Jane Silber, the timing couldn’t be better:

“The market is ready,” Silber said. “We think the combination of the timing, the technology and the partner are aligned to make it happen.”

There is a video interview with Mark Shuttleworth over at the Direct2Dell blog in which he talks about how the deal came about, and how this will make wide Linux adoption a much easier goal to achieve. He’s right when he says that this will increase Linux’s visibility across the board, and draw out closet Linux technologists who will now see some commercial benefit to advertising the Linux expertise they had, but never really talked about before.

I think this is a big step forward – hell, I look forward to answering, “what’s that Ubuntu-thing on your laptop?” with “Haven’t you heard, it comes pre-installed on some Dell PCs?”

Kudos to Dell for following up on their promise to listen to customers. My voted counted, for once. Depending on how many Ubuntu laptops get sold, Dell might just be the trailblazer in making and selling computers – once again. The interesting thing is, I wonder if Dell sees the future, can the others be far behind. Also, going by the example Mark states in the interview about how Linux adoption on servers led to hardware manufacturers ensuring that their stuff was up to snuff on servers, this can only mean better support for Ubuntu from the hardware component and peripheral manufacturers.

Congratulations Ubuntu – stand up and be recognized now!

The Ubuntu Community Interviews Mark Shuttleworth April 25, 2007

Posted by Carthik in interviews, ubuntu.
17 comments

As part of the Ubuntu Open Week, everyone interested had a chance to ask Mark Shuttleworth, the SABDFL, their questions.

Thanks to the volunteer efforts of the wiki gardeners, you can read the entire interview online. I was intending to post the entire interview here, after formatting it, but since the interview at the wiki is formatted, and ready, I will just share the salient points.

  1. Regarding requesting ISVs to port their applications to Linux, Mark says that unless Linux users decide to pay for software like AutoCAD and Photoshop on Linux, the ISVs won’t migrate their apps so easily – since there are two things that drive ISVs to explore new oppurtunities – the raw size of the users in a market, and their willingness to pay for software – Mark says Linux is doing well on the number-of-users front, but the second factor is critical. I think one of the ISVs have to take the plunge, and try selling software to Linux users, and serve as a case study for the others to follow.
  2. Regarding the $3 MS OS initiative, Mark says this guy gets it. Basically, there are lots of reasons why, despite the MS OS being only $3, Linux makes a better choice. Interesting.
  3. The inevitable question of why Launchpad is not open-sourced yet was raised. This time, I think I understand the reasons behind it being closed, thanks to Mark’s answer. Basically, launchpad might remain closed till launchpad.net is established as the pivot of bug-tracking and as a general software development support system. Releasing the source now might mean that there will be many “launchpads” like the many bugzillas, thus compounding the problem launchpad is trying to address – that of not having a central issue tracking system that tracks the same unique issue across multiple bug trackers.
  4. Canonical will not go public anytime in the near future, and will also not accept funding from venture capital firms. Mark’s reasoning is that accepting any sort of external financial support will shift Canonical’s focus to a short-term profit/finance driven strategy. Canonical wants to take the long-term view and focus on building a better Linux desktop, among other things.
  5. Here’s the most inspiring part of the interview – Mark says the goals with Ubuntu are to be the best desktop linux distribution and to create a self-sustaining platform for Ubuntu, one that does not rely on license fees. He admits it has never been done before, but believes it can be done.

There is a lot more where these points came from. Read it. The interview seems to suggest there will be another Q&A session with Mark on Firday, April 27th, but the the Open Week Schedule does not have such a session listed. So I am not too sure if there will be another of these sessions. If there is one, I hope I can find it possible to be there for it, live.

Behind MOTU: Meet the Masters of the Universe April 20, 2007

Posted by Carthik in interviews, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.
8 comments

You might already know about Behind Ubuntu, a website that features profiles of the people behind Ubuntu – the ones who contribute their time and effort to making Ubuntu what it is.

Behind MOTU is a similar effort to bring to the fore members of the MOTU. The MOTU are an elite squad of mostly volunteer developers who keep the 10,000+ packages in the Universe component of the Ubuntu repository in shape. Yes, that is a whole lot of packages to keep track of, and without the MOTU, the task would be impossible. The MOTU team on launchpad currently has 65 members. #ubuntu-motu is their online hangout.

I wish Behind MOTU posts had pictures of the Masters. It helps me greatly to put a human face to the awesome people I am thankful to. Also, it would be nice if they had a “Page” with links to the profiles of each MOTU. So far, Michael Bienia, Scott Kitterman, and Barry deFreese have been profiled. I look forward to more interviews in the future.

Mark’s Interview at DerStandard.At April 18, 2007

Posted by Carthik in interviews, news, ubuntu.
9 comments

Mark talks candidly about Ubuntu. Turn to page 4 for where Mark describes who Linux is good for, and what makes him think Linux is not ready for commercial pre-installed computer sales. Sensible, rational, and very lucid.

An Interview with Mark Shuttleworth on Talk Radio 702 April 13, 2007

Posted by Carthik in commentary, interviews, ubuntu.
12 comments

There have been quite a few podcasts featuring Mark Shuttleworth recently.

First there was the interview conducted by Questions Please with questions from ordinary decent people solicited on the Fridge. Then there was the Linux Action Show podcast.

But there is one other interview that seems to have missed all the radars so far. South Africa’s 702 Talk Radio has a podcast in two parts of Mark being interviewed by Aki Anastasiou. Since it is a little difficult to find the links to the mp3 files on the page with the podcasts, here they are: Part 1 and Part 2. Unlike the other podcasts, this one is hosted by a professional radio host. I believe 702 Talk Radio is a regular full-service radio station. I enjoyed listening to the interview last night, where talk ranges from space travel to Ubuntu on the desktop to philanthropy.

I learnt that Da Vinci said what he did about flight, as featured on the wonderful quote on Mark’s homepage before any man had flown. It is obvious once you realize that there were no flying machines in Da Vinci’s time. I love it when I realize something that is obvious and go “D’oh” mentally :) Mark’s expectations for Ubuntu are so rational, it amazes me – I love it that he does not “oversell” Ubuntu as something it is, in his view, not. I find this a welcome change from the normal “My foobar is the best thing that has happened to the planet, evar!” kind of marketing talk.

Two readers commented – and I even received one email – saying more frequent posts of the kind that I have written recently are welcome – that I should not limit myself to writing only helpful tips. That is what encouraged me to write about this interview.

Enjoy the interviews!

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