Jeff Waugh

Consultant, Gnome/Waugh Partners

History and Future: Giants, Values, and Cultures
25 minutes, 11.9mb, recorded 2007-07-22
Jeff Waugh

History influences and teaches the future – the future of Ubuntu and the future of the free software community. Jeff Waugh, a passionate advocate of open source and free software, illustrates this theme of history’s influence in his keynote at the Ubuntu Live conference. The three giants of modern history who have influenced Ubuntu are Python, Debian, and GNOME. Waugh talks about three of Python’s design principles that have inspired Ubuntu, about Debian’s fierce freedom and anti-patterns that Ubuntu has borrowed, and about GNOME’s fierce commerce that has instructed Ubuntu.

Waugh then turns to the Middle Ages to discover the lessons that three giants of that time can teach the free software movement. In an unusual and entertaining discussion, he relates the requirements of freedom drawn from the stories of Johannes Gutenberg, Martin Luther, and William Tyndale as they put knowledge previously reserved for the elite into the hands of the common people. He ends with a statement of what the giants of today should be doing to promote the development of new technology in an environment of freedom.


Jeff Waugh is a Principal Consultant with Waugh Partners, an Australian boutique consultancy specializing in Open Source strategy, industry development and research, as well as an active participant in the GNOME project.  Waugh is an active member of the Free Software community, holding positions such as Chairman of the Annodex Foundation (2006), Director of the GNOME Foundation Board (2003-2004, 2006-present), GNOME Release Manager (2001-2005), committee member (2000-2001) and president (2002-2003) of the Sydney Linux Users’ Group, and member of the linux.conf.au 2001 and 2007 organizing teams. He was one of the founding employees of Canonical, engaged in Ubuntu business and community development during its extraordinary rise (2004-2006).  In 2005, Waugh won the Google/O’Reilly Open Source award for Best Evangelist, which recognized his work on GNOME and Ubuntu.

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Photo: Craig Rodney