"When you have Mark Shuttleworth as your backer, as commercial
Linux distributor Canonical does, it is a bit like having money in
the bank when the bank also believes fervently in your cause. It is
a rare combination, and one that has allowed the Ubuntu project to
reach out from its Linux desktop beginnings into commercial servers
- and with the latest releases, cloudy infrastructure - without
having the profit pressure that most startups have to deal with as
they try to grow.
"While Shuttleworth may be the Self Appointed Benevolent
Dictator For Life at the Ubuntu project, that does not mean that he
is the best person to lead Canonical, the commercial entity behind
Ubuntu, or even that Shuttleworth, having created digital
certificate and security software vendor Thawte during the dot-com
boom and selling it off to Verisign before the bust for $575m,
wants to steer Canonical. He clearly doesn't, since Jane Silber,
the long-time chief operating officer at Canonical, was tapped last
December to replace Shuttleworth as CEO.
"Silber started her new job running the company on March 1. With
the transition, an important and influential British software
company founded by a South African is now being run by an American
ex-pat. One who has been a software developer and senior manager
and who was vice president of command and control systems at the C4
Systems subsidiary of General Dynamics."