Mark Shuttleworth is winding up his press junket this week to promote Ubuntu operating system version 9.04, or "Jaunty Jackalope," but he says the real work now begins: making sure companies continue to build services around Ubuntu's OS.
"I'm not slowing down just yet," Shuttleworth told InformationWeek. "We're seeing a real groundswell with Linux on the desktop, which makes it a pleasure when I talk to other executives about their strategies."
Shuttleworth may not need to do much in the way of convincing corporate America (or the rest of the world) that Ubuntu Linux is a stable operating system capable of displacing Microsoft Windows. Announced Monday and available for download on Thursday, April 23, the desktop and server operating system brings with it improvements to network connectivity and user interface, and a quick and easy way to tap into cloud computing services.
What Ubuntu has been able to excel at is conquering the desktop. Where Red Hat and SUSE focused on changing IT managers' views on server implementations and services, Ubuntu is starting to redefine what it means to interface with those services. Specifically, subcompact laptops, or netbooks. Ubuntu didn't push the market to netbooks, but now it finds itself with partnerships with Acer, Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel to power these devices.
"We ask ourselves if we can improve the experience so that it becomes more like a phone ... effectively a 24-hour device," Shuttleworth said. "We're seeing very-low-power devices on the horizon. I mean, is it possible for us to get to a point where the PC gets disposable and be fully productive?"
The suggestion here is that with price points reaching commodity levels, losing your laptop would not be the same big deal that it is today. The finance sector has already become an early adopter of this philosophy, Shuttleworth said. Canonical is helping foster that by keeping updates on a regular schedule and tapping into software-as-a-service models.
"The shift to services is essential," he said. "We are moving to a world where software is a tool to get to services."