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Mark Shuttleworth Interview Coming, Request for Questions from Our Readers

Posted in Interview, Site News, Ubuntu at 7:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dear readers,

As you may be aware, Ubuntu’s founder was among the first prominent figures to denounce the predatory deal with Novell and later on criticise Microsoft’s pursuit for further deals with other Linux distributors. This influenced my personal decision to move from SuSE to Ubuntu GNU/Linux.

I have just gotten a (vitual) handshake which promises an interview with Mr. Shuttleworth. We would like to ask our readers for input and collect some of our readers’ questions. Our intent is to focus on exclusionary deals and the integrity of Free software although any ‘lighter’ questions would be very suitable as well. Our controversial domain name aside, I worry that my direct questions intimidated Gunther Deschner (of Samba), who was willing to do an interview with us after his departure from Novell.

Please help us make this interview a comfortable one for Mr. Shuttleworth.

Thank you in advance for your participation. Remember that it is a community site which we hope to make more reader-driven, not editor-driven.

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  1. Mark said,

    June 27, 2007 at 7:49 am


    i don’t really have a Q for him. If you would please let him know that I thank him and I’m sure the rest of the Linux community is thankful for standing up to Microsoft.

  2. Question said,

    June 27, 2007 at 8:51 am


    That will be a nasty ;)
    “Mark do you think that actions like boycottnovell.com are good for community? Is it smart to boycott distro like openSUSE? OpenSUSE has hundreds of great developers and saying them “we don’t like you anymore” is a good idea? It is against community and openSUSE is still a community distro.”

  3. paulw said,

    June 27, 2007 at 9:02 am


    Is it smart to boycott distro like openSUSE?

    Of course, It’s a form of Civil disobedience. People make a product great , not developers.


  4. John Drinkwater said,

    June 27, 2007 at 10:25 am


    Does Mark consider Mono as a problem in regards to Microsoft waving their sabre, and would he remove it from the base Ubuntu distro? And even if he doesn’t, would he at least make it easier to remove if someone wanted to? (like it not being a part of the meta package ubuntu-desktop iirc)

  5. David said,

    June 27, 2007 at 11:00 am


    My question is this:

    While it is not clear that a patenting deal will affect the integrity of free software (after all the deal only touches MS and Novell, and not third parties) integrating proprietary software that is required to run free software might do so (see proprietary drivers). Don’t Ubuntu’s actions give a disincentive for free software developers to write and improve free drivers by admitting proprietary drivers?

  6. shane coyle said,

    June 27, 2007 at 12:10 pm


    Who’s boycotting OpenSUSE?

  7. Martin X said,

    June 27, 2007 at 12:22 pm


    Mark once said (I believe) that Ubuntu will always be available for free download. Does this mean that the /best/ version will always be available free? Or might he start to sell a “with bells & whistles” version, and only offer a basic version free to us proles?

    I love the free CD thing going on at http://shipit.ubuntu.com, this makes Ubuntu available even to folk who don’t have a fast net link (ie most of the world). Does he plan to keep Shipit going “forever”?

    Oh, and a word of crawly congrats: I have tried a few different distros, but I /lurve/ Ubuntu and I’ve settled on it as my distro of choice. I hope Mark does keep sticking up for the “little man” – a decent, free OS empowers us more than even democracy in some countries!

  8. Jack Loftus said,

    June 27, 2007 at 12:32 pm


    As Ubuntu grows in popularity as a server OS, how does Canonical plan to support it? What changes are coming from Canonical in terms of enterprise support for Ubuntu? What specifically is offered now, to tempt users to try Ubuntu in the enterprise, and not Novell or Red Hat? How far has enterprise Linux support come, in your opinion?

  9. shane coyle said,

    June 27, 2007 at 2:01 pm


    I am pretty much along the lines of David’s question, how does Mr. Shuttleworth distinguish between Novell’s pragmatic but GPL-questionable approach to IP peace with Microsoft and Ubuntu’s pragmatic but GPL-questionable approach to including binary-only drivers?

    Otherwise, "thank you thank you thank you".

  10. Harsh Chaudhry said,

    June 27, 2007 at 3:38 pm


    Q: What does Mark feel about the Mono project with regards to it being a port of a proprietary technology, and the fact that Mono will always lag dot net (if it stays true to its charter) featurewise?

    Also, since we are talking about voting with our “Download Now” clicks, how does Mark feel about GNOME being the primary desktop for Ubuntu given its relation with Novell and DeIcaza and the rest?

  11. Carl said,

    June 27, 2007 at 3:56 pm


    All indicators tell that Ubuntu is the most popular distro. At the same time, all polls tell us that KDE is the most popular desktop.

    I will leave the fact that these two conclusions do not add up in the middle. BUT…. I would like to know why Ubuntu is still not serious about a true KDE implementation. Please do not try to convince us that Kubuntu gets as much attention as Ubuntu. It does not (one example: the plugin finder).

  12. Rex Ballard said,

    June 27, 2007 at 4:22 pm


    My main question is “How can you possibly negotiate on behalf of all of the contributors to all Linux and OSS products used in Linux, and not disclose the exact nature of the agreement to those stake-holders?

    Seriously. Novell is a late-comer to the game, and is riding the wave of a phenomenon that started in 1993 and continued to build – WITHOUT Novell’s support – until 2005, when Novell FINALLY decided to promote SUSE instead of trying to kill it.

    Remember when Novell signed the deal with Microsoft over UnixWare in 1994(-5?)? Novell scuttled their Workstation/desktop/laptop platform development. Microsoft was supposed to scuttle their server development. I don’t think Microsoft even slowed it down.

    Ray Noorda had to create new companies (Caldera and TrollTech) to keep that talent pool, and make sure that they had the chance to get a Linux based workstation platform to market.

    Had Novell pushed hard enough in 1994, when Windows NT 3.x was flapping, Chicago was vaporware that was not to be delivered for almost 22 months, and Microsoft was still trying to keep OEMs loyal to Windows 3.1, they could have made a huge killing in the market.

    Instead Novell almost went bankrupt, they sold unlimited license rights to Linux for a pittance, and wrote Microsoft was given almost 2 years to retake control of the market with Windows 95, which killed off Netware substantially.

    And Microsoft “thanked” them, by releasing replacements for Netware and NDS.

    If Novell has signed away ANY rights without getting the consent from the developers who crontributed so much to Linux and OSS, it could turn into one UGLY class action lawsuit.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 27, 2007 at 4:48 pm


    @paulw — as we said before, we don’t boycott the developers’ work (Opensuse). The poor and selfish decision was made by the management.

  14. lala said,

    June 28, 2007 at 12:00 am


    Ask him why a lot of ubuntu users are assholes.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 28, 2007 at 1:15 am


    Actually, speaking from experience, Ubuntu users are usually polite and friendly. The ‘elitists’ use older distributions.

  16. Mark said,

    June 28, 2007 at 3:33 am


    When Mark started Ubuntu and Canonical, he said time would tell if it was a sensible business decision or philantropy. How is the financial balance now? Does Canonical/Ubuntu make money or is it a money pit?

    BTW, I love Kubuntu!

  17. Martin said,

    June 28, 2007 at 3:44 am


    Dear Mark,

    I am curious what download is more popular: Ubuntu or Kubuntu? Can you give percentages of the total downloads (incl. Xubuntu)?

  18. David said,

    June 28, 2007 at 4:13 am


    Gutsy Gibbon will have support for some Winmodem chips.
    An area not covered at all well by open source drivers.
    I guess that will not cause too many to give up writing those drivers!
    I will finally be able to look at getting more people to try Linux.
    One friend converted to broadband recently and I dual booted XP/Feisty on his new machine. He asked me to remove Windows!

  19. Amir Amini said,

    June 28, 2007 at 9:20 am


    1) Since Ubuntu was based on Debian, what is the relation between Ubuntu and the Debian team. Will Ubuntu remain compatible with Debian?

    2) How much effort does the Ubuntu team put into getting their modifications/improvements upstream?

  20. Andrew said,

    June 28, 2007 at 11:01 am


    One hot topic in the OSS world is proprietary software. The hardcore geeks want only open source software. But most of the luddites just want whatever works. And it would seem like Ubuntu is trying to reach out to the luddites. What is your stance?

  21. Mike said,

    June 28, 2007 at 11:35 am


    I only run Ubuntu. I even convinced my wife and kids to use it after our Windows PC got zombied no matter how hard we tried to control it. Thanks for making a sensational product.

    Red Hat recently told Reuters that they were actually considering the patent deal with The Beast before the deal with Novell went through. Can Canonical stand the pressure and resist dealing with The Beast? In fact, if I were a betting man, I’d bet that The Beast has men in black suits showing up in South Africa, putting free PCs and free MS software in schools, snatching up all the good programmers, then driving over to meet with legislators to try and create patent, extradition, and other changes in the legal system to try and thwart Ubuntu. If the latest news is that Dell is selling Ubuntu very well now, and if even HP is taking notice and considering it too, it’s an easy bet to see what devious means The Beast will be up to.

    Could Canonical design a web-based management system sort of like ebox-platform (http://ebox-platform.com/), but for Ubuntu Server? Not only would this be great for building server appliances for a web app I’m designing, but it would be great for mom and pop shops (small businesses) to have a replacement for a Microsoft print server, file server, domain controller, dns server, dhcp server, etc. And if it can’t be part of Canonical, could it be another company funded by Canonical? (Pay me — I’ll build it if I had the cash to quit my day job. :) )

  22. akf said,

    June 28, 2007 at 1:55 pm


    My questions:

    how do you feel about the gNewSense project?
    (when) will launchpad and the other online stuff be free software?
    It has been promised a long time ago


  23. Shane Coyle said,

    June 28, 2007 at 3:27 pm


    @AKF: Ubuntu has plans for a "militantly-free" version to be released in collaboration with the gNewSense folks, around the gutsy gibbon release.

    and, I too am interested in the promised opening up of Launchpad…

  24. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 28, 2007 at 6:29 pm


    I see a lot of good questions. We’ll have to get them sorted in a logical order.

    Keep them coming and thank you for participating in this. We can probably finalise tomorrow and work on the questions over the weekend.

  25. Ronald Abadi said,

    June 28, 2007 at 8:11 pm


    My questions are pretty much the same with Martin X’s questions. I just want to add one question: will Xubuntu be available with Shipit in the future?

  26. Timothy Musson said,

    June 30, 2007 at 3:53 am



    You’ve said that Ubuntu will distribute non-free drivers until the user base is large enough to influence hardware manufacturers.

    Assuming that most Ubuntu users don’t have ethical or technical issues with non-free software, what incentive do you think they’ll have to start saying “no” to non-free drivers at some point in the future?

  27. David said,

    July 1, 2007 at 10:44 am


    I want to echo Carl questioned above regarding KDE. Kubuntu appears to lack any true direction. I’d like to see more resources sent that way for a least a couple of releases.

  28. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 1, 2007 at 8:41 pm


    David, just a quick personal opinion here — as a KDE user, I advise that you look at the wonderful things that are coming in KDE 4. The project is very much alive and it thrives. It certainly has a direction.

  29. David said,

    July 2, 2007 at 7:42 am


    I agree that KDE4 looks pretty promising, but there is more to creating a desktop distribution than just packaging the latest desktops environments. For example, I think someone mentioned earlier the codec work done in Ubuntu doesn’t show up in Kubuntu. I don’t think I saw the restricted driver manager in the last release either. IMO Adept is a usability nightmare. There are several things that just look poorly thought out. I’m not trying to attack the Kubuntu developers here. I just think they need more help and attention from the main project.

  30. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 2, 2007 at 7:49 am


    I personally chose to install Ubuntu and sudo apt-get install KDE. It works like a charm. I also installed elements of KDE 4 on top of KDE 3.5.x. I’m loving it!

  31. Verona Griffiths said,

    September 22, 2007 at 5:36 am


    Thank you, you are appreciated

    Kind regards,


  32. Open Thinking said,

    December 18, 2008 at 7:02 am


    Who do you guys think that are developing linux and open source and paying it?
    Don’t you know/realize that only free-given ubuntu isn’t getting any incomes, so it can’t do much development either. Other linux/open source -companies, like Novell are making the development actually and earn the money for it with their products that they sell.

    Take a look at the information on Linux Foundation :


    In that list there isn’t Canonical – because it just isn’t doing much.
    It just packs software that others do and others pay.

    So, the development of linux and open source isn’t free either, it need money too and actually the work is done by paid developers of commercial companies and with their money of their products.

    There seems to be some kinda illusions of linux and open source made freely – but that’s just an wrong illusion. Google pays 90% of Firefox development. IBM, SUN and others pay the development of OpenOffice. Commercial companies pay the development of linux. There’s actually verhy little of non-paid job behind them. And the development of linux and open source need so much profession too, like with OS X and Windows, so it just can’t be done by whoever – it need profession, so the development is highly professional too. Mainly the user group support web sites and such things rely partly on free non-paid job.

    And Mark is funding the operation of Canonical and the free distribution of linux … but the money comes from his previous commercial earnings, and there’s sure limit of that. So present just free distribution stage of ubuntu is sure not gonna ongo forever. It too needs incomes in the future.

    And SUSE/Novell that the ubuntu-folks are blaiming is doing the hard work, funding and making the real coding and development and then gives it to Canonical to use and distribute free. So why on earth you are blaiming Novell, of the enabling all this linux and open source?
    Think a little!

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