Mark Shuttleworth

Canonical, Ltd.

Free Software and Wealth Creation
28 minutes, 12.8mb, recorded 2008-07-22
Mark Shuttleworth

There is an interaction between changes that happen in technology, changes in economics, and changes in society.  The software industry is at the heart of these fundamental economic and social changes. More than any other time in history, software matters.  In his keynote speech at the 2008 O'Reilly Media Open Source Convention (OSCON), Ubuntu founder and Open Source guru Mark Shuttleworth discusses how free software is the best way to drive wealth-creating opportunities. 

What is needed to keep the pipeline of innovation full?  Shuttleworth believes that Open Source development is the best way to stimulate innovation because collaboration and participation are encouraged.  The Open Source community has stimulated innovation by building the platforms for it.  Allowing plugins, tolerating other platforms, and enabling everyone to participate are crucial aspects.  Innovation on the business side of things, together with innovation in technology, drives progress.  Shuttleworth explores complimentary economic models that balance the demands of the user with the need to finance development.  He believes that advertising is not a way to achieve a vibrant and sustainable web "eco-system", and that providing services will justify continued investment.  Shuttleworth also discusses how free software is changing software development methodologies and processes.

As Shuttleworth puts it, "this is not the end of the story by any means."  His final challenge to Open Source developers is to blow by Apple in terms of User Experience and "lift the Linux desktop experience to something that is art."

Mark Shuttleworth is an African entrepreneur with a love of technology, innovation and space flight. He funds HBD Venture Capital, an investment company based in South Africa, along with The Shuttleworth Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to social innovation in Africa with a particular focus on education. He currently lives in London, where he is an active member of the Ubuntu community, working to create a universal, freely available high quality desktop software environment for everyone.

In April 2002 Shuttleworth realized a lifelong dream to fly in space. He spent a year working on the project, including seven months of formal training at Star City in Russia, and almost as much time in medical testing, science program development, and negotiations.

In early 2004, Shuttleworth founded the Ubuntu project, which aims to produce a high quality desktop software environment that is freely available all over the world. The project brings together the very best of the free software stack, and has resulted in the creation of a number of unique tools for free software developers, such as the Bzr revision control system and Sub-projects include specialized desktop environments for schools, and for the needs of people in specific countries or industries, such as Edubuntu and Kubuntu.

In between projects, Shuttleworth tends to focus on catching up with the world of technology, particularly software and the Web, in the search for new ideas and opportunities.


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