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​Mark Shuttleworth dishes on where Canonical and Ubuntu Linux are going next
June 8, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

Mark Shuttleworth looked good at OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. Not only were his company Canonical and operating system Ubuntu Linux doing well, but thanks to his microfasting diet, he’s lost 40 pounds. Energized and feeling good, he’s looking forward to taking Canonical to its initial public offering (IPO) in 2019 and making the company more powerful than ever.

It’s taken him longer than expected to IPO Canonical. Shuttleworth explained, “We will do the right thing at the right time. That’s not this year, though. There’s a process that you have to go through and that takes time. We know what we need to hit in terms of revenue and growth and we’re on track.”

In the meantime, besides his own wealth — according to the BBC, his personal wealth jumped by £340 million last year — he’s turned to private equity to help fuel Canonical’s growth.

And, where is that growth coming from? Well, it’s not the desktop. Found as users — and Shuttleworth himself — of the Linux desktop, Canonical’s real money comes in from the cloud.

Ubuntu remains the dominant cloud operating system. According to the May 8, 2018 Cloud Market statistics, on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, Ubuntu dominates the cloud with 209,000 instances, well ahead of its competitors Amazon Linux AMI, 88,500; Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and CentOS‘s 31,400, and Windows Server‘s 29,200. As another data point, the executives at the OpenStack cloud company Rackspace told me that although their company had started with RHEL, today it’s 60/40 Ubuntu.

OpenStack has been very, very good for Canonical, which is more than you can say for many companies that tried to make it as OpenStack providers or distributors. “With OpenStack it’s important to deliver on the underlying promise of more cost-effective infrastructure,” Shuttleworth said. Sure, “You can love technology and you can have new projects and it can all be kumbaya and open source, but what really matters is computers, virtual machines, virtual disks, virtual networks. So we ruthlessly focus on delivering that and then also solving all the problems around that.”

So it is, Shuttleworth claims, that “Canonical can deliver an OpenStack platform to an enterprise in two weeks with everything in place.”

What’s driving Canonical growth on both the public and OpenStack-based cloud is “machine learning and container operations. The economics of automating the data center brings people to Ubuntu.”

That said, “The Internet of Things (IoT) is still an area of investment for us. We have the right set of primitives [Ubuntu Core, Ubuntu for IoT and Snap contanizeried applications] to bring IoT all over the planet.” But, it’s “not profitable yet”.

Shuttleworth thinks Ubuntu will end up leading IoT, as it has the cloud, “because a developer can transfer their programs from a workstation to the cloud to a gateway to the IoT. I want to make sure we build the right set of technologies so you can operate a billion things with Ubuntu on it.” To make this happen, Shuttleworth said Canonical currently has just short of 600 full-time developers.

As for the desktop, Shuttleworth finds it a “fascinating study of human nature that Unity [Ubuntu’s former desktop] became a complete exercise in torches and pitchforks. I’m now convinced a lot of the people who demanded its demise never used it.” That’s because, while “I think GNOME is a nicely done desktop,” many Ubuntu users are now objecting to GNOME. Shuttleworth also had kind words about the KDE Neon, MATE, and LXDE desktops. Still, “I do miss Unity, but I use GNOME.”

Shuttleworth would like to see the open-source community become “safer to put new ideas out into it.” Too often, “it’s obnoxious to someone else’s labor of love.”

That said, in business competition, Shuttleworth said, after people criticized him for calling out Red Hat and VMware by name in his OpenStack keynote speech, “I don’t think it was offsides to talk about money and competition. OpenStack has to be in the room where public clouds are discussed and Ubuntu has to be in the conversation when it comes to cloud operating systems. No one has questioned the facts.”

In a way, though, having given up on innovating on the desktop and on the smartphone market has been a blessing. “I can work with more focus on cloud and the edge and IoT. We’re moving faster. Our security and performance story can be tighter because we can put more time on both them.”

One thing that Shuttleworth believes Canonical does better than his competition is delivering the best from upstream to its customers. “Take OpenStack, we didn’t invent a bunch of pieces. We take care of stuff people need by trusting the upstream community. People find this refreshing.”

Canonical also succeeds, he thinks, because they eat their own dog food. “We learn stuff by operating it ourselves and not just developing it. We experience what it’s like to operate many OpenStack and Kubernetes stacks. We then offer these complex solutions as a managed service, and that reduces the cost for users.”

The result is a company that Shuttleworth is sure will lead the way in the cloud and container-driven world of IT.

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Mark Zuckerberg Has Lost This Much Money for Changing Facebook’s Feed
January 15, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

Facebook stock took a hit after the social network announced massive changes to its news feed. And no one felt that hit more than Mark Zuckerberg.

The founder and CEO of Facebook owns over 400 million shares of the company, meaning stock fluctuations hit him the hardest. The trick is figuring out exactly how hard — and that’s where things get a little difficult.

As of April 14, 2017, the company’s last proxy statement, Zuckerberg owned over 2.6 million shares of Class A stock and nearly 411 million Class B shares. In September, though, he announced plans to sell as many as 75 million shares over the following 18 months “to fund the philanthropic initiatives of [he] and his wife, Priscilla Chan,” according to a filing.

So, for argument’s sake, let’s say he’s halfway through that sales goal (unlikely, but it doesn’t hurt to be conservative) — bringing his total holdings to approximately 377 million shares.

Given the company’s 4.5% drop on Friday, that would mean Zuckerberg lost more than $ 3.1 billion, on paper at least. (If he hasn’t sold any of the 75 million shares he’s planning to, the loss escalates to nearly $ 3.5 billion.)

Of course, Facebook shares will almost certainly rebound. And analysts say they expect the changes will drive higher ad prices and could result in more money for Facebook, something that always cheers investors.

Ultimately, though, Zuckerberg’s likely not concerned. He’s already pledged to give away 99% of his net worth in his lifetime.

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Open Source Pioneer Mark Shuttleworth Says Smart “Edge' Devices Spawn Business Models
January 5, 2017 2:50 am|Comments (0)

Ubuntu, a version of the Linux computer operating system, runs on many of the servers that power cloud computing. Ubuntu pioneer Mark Shuttleworth …


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Oracle likely to set up data centre in India: CEO Mark Hurd
September 22, 2016 8:05 am|Comments (0)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been clear about digitisation, which we think ties in directly to the movement of cloud computing. We look at …


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Oracle CEO Mark Hurd predicts sweeping, costly move to the cloud
September 20, 2016 4:23 pm|Comments (0)

Some 80 percent of information technology budgets by 2025 will be spent on cloud computing, not traditional IT products, and the number of …


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DX Digest: Mark Grannan on Core Services Architecture #DXS15
November 13, 2015 12:50 pm|Comments (0)

DX Digest: Mark Grannan on Core Services Architecture #DXS15

In a comment responding to Part 1 of my conversation with Forrester analyst Mark Grannan, Arjan van Rooijen, the chief evangelist with customer experience management platform provider SDL, said, “I strongly believe practitioners need to transform their practices to meet the demands of a digital era.” Technology

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