The Man and the Myth Behind Ubuntu
The New York Times ran a story today about Ubuntu and its prospects for beating Microsoft. Focusing on Mark Shuttleworth, the Times reporter concludes that the idea of Linux on every desktop remains a bit “quixotic,” and suggests that Ubuntu has only come so far thanks to Shuttleworth’s wealth. I don’t think that’s true.
Certainly, the patronship of a billionaire is a unique advantage enjoyed by Ubuntu alone. Fedora, Mandriva, SUSE and the like could only dream of having a single supporter with that kind of cash to back them up, and the more militant proponents of these distributions might like to think of Ubuntu as the undeserving rich kid of the Linux community, only here thanks to the wealth of its father.
On the other hand, Ubuntu isn’t a charity, and the fact that Shuttleworth has millions of dollars doesn’t mean he gives them to Ubuntu.