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Interview: Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of the Ubuntu Project

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In 1999, the South African-born Mark Shuttleworth sold his internet company, Thawte, which provided digital certificates for websites, for more than $500m (£254m). After he started the Ubuntu project - named after an African word meaning "Humanity to others", which has since become the most popular GNU/Linux distribution.

Technology Guardian: To what extent did your space trip feed into Ubuntu?

Mark Shuttleworth: Going to space and seeing the Earth from a distance makes it very clear just how interdependent we are. So I wanted to do something that was really global; free software is a phenomenon that is truly global.

TG: What are the implications of choosing that name?

MS: That this is a platform for people. Linux has come from a tradition of being a platform for specialists. We articulated the challenge for us very clearly in our name: "Let's make this something that we can proudly give out to people who are not passionate about technology."

TG: How does your company, Canonical, fit into this?

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