Linux: Ubuntu Founder On Microsoft “Challenge”

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Taking a trip into space hasn’t been Mark Shuttleworth’s biggest challenge. Instead the one-time space tourist counts building an open-source company and working to hook users on the Linux as his most testing venture.

Mr. Shuttleworth founded the Ubuntu project in 2004 to distribute afree desktop operating system based on Debian Linux that would compete with Microsoft Windows.

In 2002, Mr. Shuttleworth took a trip into space becoming the first South African in orbit and the second space tourist ever. The entrepreneur previously founded Thawte Consulting and sold it to Verisign for $575 million, has headed a venture capital firm, and has finally settled on pushing open-source software as his next career move. The Ubuntu project is controlled by UK-based Canonical, where Mr. Shuttleworth is the CEO.

Mr. Shuttleworth spoke with Red Herring about recent developments in the world of open source and his plans for Ubuntu.

Q: How are the events in the open source industry in the last few months affecting Ubuntu, if at all?

A: There were two big strategic announcements that were made this year by non-Linux players. Oracle [said] that they will be providing support for [a version] of Red Hat Linux without the trademark and Microsoft and Novell would collaborate in a number of areas, and that announcement had some interesting intellectual property considerations so those both have been significant for us.

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