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Mark Shuttleworth Returns As Canonical CEO, Slams Some ‘Free Software’ Users

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Ubuntu founder has choice words for some free software users – calls them anti-social and haters

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth’s reappointment as company CEO has been overshadowed by some imaginative language about some people within the open source community.

Shuttleworth was responding (mostly positively) to comments about the ending of Canonical’s investment Unity8, its phone and convergence shell, and the shift of its default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, when he made his admission.

Shuttleworth will take charge of Canonical in the summer as CEO, after part of a ‘planned transition’ from the current boss of the firm Jane Silber.

Mark Shuttleworth Canonical CeBIT 2014 (2)

 

Haters Gonna Hate

When it emerged earlier this month about Canonical’s change of direction with Unity8, Shuttleworth took to Google+ to thank the open source community “for all your spirit and intellect and energy in the Unity8 adventure.”

He responded to a number of comments about the decision, but when the subject turned to the Mir windowing system his tone changed.

“The whole Mir hate-fest boggled my mind – it’s free software that does something invisible really well,” he wrote. “It became a political topic as irrational as climate change or gun control, where being on one side or the other was a sign of tribal allegiance. We have a problem in the community when people choose to hate free software instead of loving that someone cares enough to take their life’s work and make it freely available.

“I came to be disgusted with the hate on Mir. Really, it changed my opinion of the free software community.

“I used to think that it was a privilege to serve people who also loved the idea of service, but now I think many members of the free software community are just deeply anti-social types who love to hate on whatever is mainstream.”

He also said that the haters had targeted Windows when it was mainstream, and are now turning their ‘irrational hatred’ to Canonical after it went mainstream.

“The very same muppets would write about how terrible it was that IOS/Android had no competition and then how terrible it was that Canonical was investing in (free software!) compositing and convergence,” he said. “F**k that s**t.”

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CEO Position

 Shuttleworth will resume his role of CEO in the summer, after he stepped down from that position in 2009 in order to focus more on specific projects within Canonical, including the move to cloud computing.

Shuttleworth was replaced by Jane Silber in 2010, who was previously Canonical’s chief operating officer.

In a blog post, she revealed that she had only agreed to take the CEO position for five years only, but this had been extended.

“This is not a sudden decision,” Silber wrote. “We’ve been preparing for a transition for some time by strengthening the executive leadership team and maturing every aspect of the company, and earlier this year Mark and I decided that now is the time to effect this transition.

“Over the next three months I will remain CEO but begin to formally transfer knowledge and responsibility to others in the executive team. In July, Mark will retake the CEO role and I will move to the Canonical Board of Directors.”

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