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Mark Shuttleworth is a big promoter of Open Source Software. He has his own version called Ubuntu

Mark Shuttleworth, 32, first hit it big in the business of providing security for online transactions or e-business. In the 1990s, he founded the Internet security company called Thawte, which he sold to the U.S. company VeriSign in 1999. The sale made him a billionaire. After returning from space he wanted a new challenge and he decided to jump headlong into promoting Open Source Software (OSS).He first experimented with Linux in education while working with his charity Shuttleworth Foundation. "I used Linux through my foundation to put low cost computer labs in classrooms. The result of that project was fantastic. You could get thin-client laboratories at a fraction of the cost of branded ones. The Linux labs got a lot more usage from the kids and they could do a great deal with them. So, there was a slim chance that one kid in a thousand would go on to become a kernel hacker (Linux developer)."He feels that if we have to truly unleash the power of free software we have to take it to the desktop. For that he has established a company called Canonical, which develops a version of Linux called Ubuntu (means "humanity to others" in African). And through the course of the discussion in the city, he outlined what Ubuntu is and what his plans are for it. Destroy myths... Linux has this reputation that it is complex and hard to use. The truth is that because power users have used Linux in the past it is tailored to their needs. In Ubuntu we recognise that we need to make it accessible to people who don't use the computer all day. I really admire Apple in the way they bring simplicity to their platforms. Another thing we need to do is destroy this notion that Linux is an unsupported platform. We support Linux for 18 months presently. Localise content... People must be able to change Ubuntu according to their tastes. We have seen that people can do amazing things by themselves. Internationalisation is something that you can do only with free software. It is just starting to come to fruition. We should not create one distribution that is optimised for everybody but support people to create versions that are optimised for them. I believe Spanish guys in Barcelona have a distribution that speaks their language, has bookmarks that are relevant to them and comes with RSS feeds that are likely to be of interest to them. We help people to customise Ubuntu - remix it (Edubuntu for schools is an example of that). I would love India to have its own version of Ubuntu. Make money... We don't write 99 per cent of the code for Ubuntu. We can't charge for it like Microsoft does for its products. I can fund Ubuntu as a non-profit venture but I want it to be a sustainable model. So, we have to find an economic model that would be able to sustain itself. We don't charge for the product but we charge the services we provide around it. Some 200-plus companies around the world today offer Ubuntu related services. Bring developers together... A very important thing for us is the way we manage the Ubuntu community. My proudest moment came when someone said they stay in Ubuntu because of the community. Collaboration in the community is what makes free software create. We should be able to compete with Red Hat and Novell but also be intrinsically community driven. For more details on Ubuntu visit www.ubuntu.com.A.S.





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