4 minute read

Would you like an Ubuntu to go?A recent The Guardian interview with Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth reveals this gem: TG: Will you be coming out with a tailored version of Ubuntu for the ultraportable sector?

MS We're announcing it in the first week of June. It's called the Netbook Remix. We're working with Intel, which produces chips custom-made for this sector.

Though they're working closely with Intel; with any luck a "lightweight" version of Ubuntu would also be a natural fit for the OLPC (and perhaps Intel's Classmate?). Naturally, the OLPC community already has Ubuntu and other Linux versions and/or window managers running on the XO-1, but further developer support on creating an ULPC/4PC desktop system that can compete feature-to-feature with Windows could be a great asset for the anti-XP/MS/Closed source crowd.

Would you like an Ubuntu to go?

The interview reveals two insightful pieces of how the power of community has shaped both Canonical as a business and Ubuntu as a Linux desktop. First is Canonicals "rather unusual way of picking" their original employees:
I simply read a large amount of correspondence between the developers on one of the projects that is key to the way we do Ubuntu, the Debian project. It's amazing how much jumps out in terms of the way people think, the depth of their experience. So open source is not only a great way to develop your own talent and skills, but it's also a great way to get a job, and a great way to go looking for people.

An innovative way to find and pre-screen for the exact style and skillset you are looking for. The details of the deal with Dell are a fantastic vision of the strength of a community to focus on a feature and push for it:
We found out about it after it was a fait accompli. [Dell are] very much a numbers-driven company. They asked their users what they wanted to see. They had a lot of data and that data pointed to us. That was a little unsettling, because we didn't have a relationship. But it was a significant step up in our corporate profile. It will be very interesting to see what we're able to do with companies like Dell, which are aimed at a wider audience. That's my number one challenge: how to make the Linux desktop something that you want to keep on your computer.

Both good ideas to keep in mind for the OLPC community as we face changes and/or outright removal of Sugar, the move to a closed-source XP-based OS, and the general change of the guard at 1CC.