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Thursday April 17th 2014

Shuttleworth Takes Note of the Cloud, and Mobile Computing





Is Ubuntu set to spread out on the many types of devices that Apple’s iOS, Android and other mobile operating systems are now found on? It would appear so, judging from TechCentral’s extensive and interesting interview with Ubuntu guru Mark Shuttleworth. In the interview, Shuttleworth makes many notable comments about the trend toward cloud computing and how Linux is a big part of the rise of mobile computing. On that last topic, he goes beyond implying that Ubuntu is headed for many new types of mobile devices, and that sounds like good news.

On the topic of cloud computing, Shuttleworth tells TechCentral:

" [Cloud computing] is flattening enterprise infrastructure and the way people think about architecture…On the cloud computing front, in terms of our positioning, Ubuntu is by far the most popular operating system on all of the public clouds, which puts us at the centre of all the innovation that is happening there."

Hmm, it would be interesting to hear Shuttleworth expand on that, but it is true that Linux and open source in general are firmly entrenched in the cloud. In the TechCentral interview, Shuttleworth takes special notice of Android:

"The other thing that’s really interesting is all the innovation around mobile computing. Linux in the form of Android is very much present here. Android is a fantastic offering. It has a genuinely open-source code base. Of course, it’s development is tightly controlled by Google, but it is open source so people can take it off in different directions and they do just that. So, I think it’s a huge victory for those of us who have been of the view that open source was the right platform for innovation. Open source flattens a lot of those walls that companies create around themselves and it creates a level of competition that is in the true spirit of innovation rather than the old-fashioned patents approach. For those of us passionate about getting open source in people’s hands, Android is a tremendous leap forward."

If this seems like quite a lot of praise for Shuttleworth to heap on Google, he is not so kind to Apple, noting that he is "short Apple," because "nobody defies gravity indefinitely."

Without a doubt, Ubuntu can have a bright future on mobile devices, and hopefully Shuttleworth takes into account that Android is still very young. As recently as the second quarter of 2009, many tech journalists wondered if Android had any future at all. Now, it’s taking over the spot that the Symbian platform enjoyed on smartphones for such a long time. There is no reason that a lightweight and efficient OS like Ubuntu can’t have a mobile future similar to Android’s. 

The TechCentral interview is well worth reading.  Among other things, Shuttleworth discusses how the Linux business model is working for Canonical in general, and he supplies some interesting thoughts on the American patent system.

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