Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mark Shuttleworth steps down as Ubuntu CEO- Hands over baton to Jane Silber.

From March of 2010 when all the changes would have been completed, Mark Shuttleworth, the charismatic icon whose vision and drive helped bring Linux to the desktop of more people than any other person, will cease to be the CEO of Canonical, the commercial backer of Ubuntu.

In a blog post, Mark states that "I’ll focus my Canonical energy on product design, partnerships and customers. Those are the areas that I enjoy most and also the areas where I can best shape the impact we have on open source and the technology market. I’m able to do this because Jane Silber, who has been COO at Canonical virtually from the beginning, will take on the job of CEO."

This means that Mark Shuttleworth is still going to be very active in Canonical except that he'll be focusing his energy on where he thinks he's good at. In a Q & A style blog post asking whether this will mark a change of direction for the company  and Ubuntu, Mark states " no, it doesn’t mark a change of direction.  Jane and I have worked closely together over the last 5 years, and while in her new role as CEO she will have the authority to make decisions which may differ from those I would make, we are aligned on our strategy and direction. 

"This change does mark our commitment to continually optimise our operations and offerings, and as Canonical matures as an organisation I believe that Jane brings the skills and experience that we need in the CEO role."

If you are wondering who Jane Silber is, she, in her own words "wears, and has worn, many hats at Canonical. I am currently Chief Operating Officer and Director of Online Services. I joined Canonical in 2004, and since then have been closely involved in the establishment and management of most Canonical functions including Ubuntu One, OEM Services, Corporate Services, Marketing, Finance, Legal and others. 

"I have a technical background and started my career as a software developer, and have since held engineering and senior management positions at companies as diverse as a health and wellness promotion start up, a large technology and manufacturing company in Japan, and the US defence contractor General Dynamics. I am American, and came to the UK in 2002 to complete an MBA at Oxford. I learned about Canonical and Mark’s vision for Ubuntu while deciding whether to remain in England or return to the US, and haven’t looked back!"

On a lighter note, this serves to confirm my suspicion that Mark Shuttleworth, if anything, rather discriminates against men as opposed to the beliefs of some feminists that he's sexist. Also, it could be my imagination running wild but I can foresee Google somehow having a significant stake in Ubuntu sometime in the future.

In a related incident, the first alpha of Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is available for testing. This release is meant solely for advanced users and developers for testing. It is not meant for everyday use, neither is it suitable for those who cannot work their way around serious bugs. If you fall into the above categories, you can download yourself an ISO file and start off with the testing.

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