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Canonical Close To $30M Critical Mass; Should Microsoft Worry? 625

Posted by timothy
from the so-you're-saying-shuttleworth-has-business-acumen dept.
ruphus13 writes "Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, claims that the company is very close to the $30M mark, at which point, they will be a self-sustaining company. While people feel that this should not worry Microsoft, the real question is whether a 10,000 person effort on a failure like Vista can actually be the paradigm of a long-term strategy. From the article: 'Microsoft had 10,000 people [the article is unclear whether these were all developers, or administrative and support staff were factored in] working on Vista for a five year period ... huge profits in any given year can mean relatively little five years on. Canonical's self-sustaining revenue may not be threatening — but it leaves one wondering how sustainable Microsoft's development process really is.'"
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Canonical Close To $30M Critical Mass; Should Microsoft Worry?

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  • Marketing MIA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alain94040 (785132) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:24PM (#26530845) Homepage

    Developer count is not what matters. Linux has plenty of great developers. Marketing is what's missing to Linux today.

    Sadly, if you google "Ubuntu Marketing", you land on an empty page (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MarketingTeam/News). Maybe someone needs to update Google's index :-)

    Everyone here knows that Linux has the technical goods to take on Windows. But the cheerleading is missing. Where are the ads (with or without Jerry Seinfeld) and the glossy brochures at Best Buy?

    So yes, Ubuntu being sustainable is a step in the right direction.

    --
    FairSoftware.net [fairsoftware.net] -- jobs for geeks by geeks

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:30PM (#26530963)

      The longer you guys drag ass on marketing; the longer I get to keep writing code for Windows. Keep it up. I got bills to pay!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by moniker127 (1290002)
      I think the major reason people dont use linux is because its still too complicated for most people, even with the efforts of canocial, theres still a lot of things you need to do inside of the terminal.
      I dont think linux really needs any marketing.
      • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:44PM (#26531221)

        Not really. Ubuntu has really removed the need for a terminal. I can easily get a system working (more easily than a fresh Windows installation) without touching the terminal. Sometimes I go to it because it gives me a power and speed a GUI *CANT* provide, but everything that needs to be done in Ubuntu can be done in GUI.

        Anything that really can't (fixing a package error, for example) is explained very very clearly and tells the user exactly what to do to fix it.

        There's nothing you NEED to do inside the Terminal anymore for a normal user. Just powerusers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by moniker127 (1290002)
          I disagree. Most guides out there for ubuntu involve terminal commands. If you want to do something simple, like isntall wow, your gonna be inside of the terminal.
          • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:5, Insightful)

            by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:17PM (#26531889) Homepage Journal

            I disagree. Most guides out there for ubuntu involve terminal commands.

            Commands that say things like this?


            sudo apt-get install foo

            Yeah. That's because it's easier and faster to write that than say 'Click System | Administration | Synaptic Package Manager.' Click the 'Search' button and type 'foo' and hit enter. Right click the 'foo-1.0' package and click 'Install'. When prompted, enter your password.

            • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:5, Insightful)

              by jorgevillalobos (1044924) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:47PM (#26532707) Homepage

              It doesn't matter if that's easier or faster for you, it matters if it's easier for most people (faster is good but not absolutely necessary).

              Typing cryptic commands is very error-prone and disconcerting for users. You may think that the "click blah blah" instructions are long and complicated, but for most users it's what makes the most sense, and they have at least a slight idea of what's going on.

              • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:5, Insightful)

                by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:36PM (#26534127) Homepage

                In the 1980s everyone used a CLI even on home systems. What do you think has happened since then has caused people to lose so much intelligence?

                Seriously though. For Linux to be successful there needs to be a cultural transformation with regard to computing. The idea we are going to provide less information to avoid confusing people is a terrible culture.

                Yesterday I was having a serious problem with my DVR, I would have loved some way to look at a log file and figure out what was going wrong. It is much harder to reverse engineer in the absence of information than to respond to complex information. That's why diagnostic medicine (for example) is so complex and error prone.

                • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @04:38PM (#26535565)

                  In the 1980s everyone used a CLI even on home systems.

                  Home systems were still few and far between. Those who had them had every reason (and likely had the desire) to know a lot about what were effectively very primitive systems.

                  What do you think has happened since then has caused people to lose so much intelligence?

                  No intelligence was lost. The audience that owns computers has expanded outside of the extremely interested and geeks to basically be a requirement of modern society. It's the car of the age: most people own one in some fashion, but how much someone knows (and indeed, can know) about the nuts and bolts of the thing is limited.

                  Not everyone wants to have to fuck with xorg.conf just to get multiple displays working. Hell I don't, but you still have to, even in Ubuntu.

                  For Linux to be successful there needs to be a cultural transformation with regard to computing. The idea we are going to provide less information to avoid confusing people is a terrible culture.

                  We are never going to return to the days of the 1980s when anyone who had a computer could generally be considered knowledgeable about the hardware, software, and had a bit of coding experience (if even just BASIC.) We are already at a point where for most people the computer is as mystifying a black box as their car's engine is if not moreso.

                  But half of what is needed to make life livable for non-propellerheads is fairly basic gui interaction and human interface considerations. This is why OS X is so nice compared to Linux and is a route that could serve Canonical well if Ubuntu were to go that way. Solve the problems that force people to screw with config files, reduce the terminal to an optional path and not required, and then you have an OS X like Linux with even more capabilities.

                  Or we can fight it, and insist that the broken way is the best way.

                  I would have loved some way to look at a log file and figure out what was going wrong.

                  And you're also reading Slashdot which immediately puts you out of the target audience the DVR was designed for, people who will treat the DVR for what it is: a peice of AV equipment that should just work.

                  • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:5, Informative)

                    by spectro (80839) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:39PM (#26537875) Homepage
                    Not everyone wants to have to fuck with xorg.conf just to get multiple displays working. Hell I don't, but you still have to, even in Ubuntu.

                    That's no longer true with 8.10. Just installed it from scratch in new hard drive and activating the second monitor was as easy as it is in windows.
                • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:38AM (#26542375)

                  It's about presenting things in plain English and giving the customer choices.

                  If I load up a CMD window. All I see is a blank line.

                  I have no idea what I *can* do. However when I'm presented with a GUI. I can READ all of the options presented to me without asking.

                  A command line is like a drive through window without a window.

                  "Hello welcome to QuickieFood, how can I help you?"
                  "I don't know what do you sell?"
                  "We have over 1,000 items cooked fresh!"
                  "Do you have a Burger?"
                  "No."
                  "Really no burgers?"
                  "No burgers. I don't even know what you're talking about."
                  "How about some JoJos?"
                  "Nope.... never heard of those either."
                  "Really you have 1,000 items and no JoJos or Burgers?"
                  "Nope."
                  "Do you have a Salad?"
                  "We have 100 Salads."
                  "Do you have a Ceaser Salad?"
                  "Yes."
                  "Can I order one?"
                  "Do you want a GEHZDOLF with that?"
                  "A What?"
                  "A Ghezdolf."
                  "I don't know what that is."
                  "Well do you want it or not?"
                  "I don't know what it is how can I decide if I want it."
                  "I can't process your order until you decide."
                  "Fine yes give me a Gehzdolf."
                  "I'm sorry I don't under stand your request in this context."
                  "What context?"
                  "You just said give me a Gezdolf. I don't know what that is?"
                  "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU JUST ASKED ME IF I WANTED A GEZDOLF WITH MY CEASER SALAD!"
                  "Oh a ceaser salad! Would you like a Gezdolf with that?"
                  "Yes Give me a ceaser salad with a Gezdolf."
                  "Done. That'll be $2.50 at the next window."

                  Meanwhile someone pulls in behind you and hear them order.
                  "I would like a cheeseburger with a medium fries."
                  "Thank you that will be $2.50 at the next window."

                  "The guy behind me just bought a burger and fries?"
                  "A what? We don't have burgers. I don't even know what that is."
                  "A cheeseburger and fries!"
                  "Oh yeah we've got those."
                  "But I asked for a burger and you said they didn't have any."
                  "I don't see the discrepancy."
                  "They're the same thing!"
                  "Are they now? Interesting."

                  Who here in their right mind would actually sit down at a computer and just randomly type in:
                  "Sudo apt get" and expect their computer to update itself?

                  NOBODY! It requires research and education. Most computers for the most part are SELF TEACHING. Yes that means they're slower because they're always teaching you things. But it's also infinitely more approachable to a user. You don't need to have someone tell you how to do things. You can just sit down at and attempt to match your desires with the options on the screen.

                  Until machines speak something approaching a spoken language in the CLI they'll be the domain of scripters and hackers.

                  If you could load up bash and type in:
                  "Please update my computer with an MP3 player."
                  People would LOVE command line computing! But instead using the command line is like trying to give an order to a mentally handicapped ant with a napoleon complex.

                  Making software more 'discoverable' often results in users actually using the computer better. Yes it might be more slow, but they can ACCIDENTALLY discover a new feature. I can't think of a time I've ever accidentally discovered a new command line function.

                  The other problem is even after they memorize a command line solution they probably don't understand what it is they're doing. Rote memorization and recitation of commands doesn't lead to the user feeling in control of their experience. As a kid I always typed in the Magic letters: A:\Wiz.exe and it worked! I had no idea what A was. What the slash was. What the exe was. But I faithfully memorized all the commands I needed to know to get into a game. That's not empowering the user. That's enslaving them to the IT department to tell them the magic and nonsensical gibberish they have to copy off the post it note from the help desk.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Knuckles (8964)

                Typing cryptic commands is very error-prone and disconcerting for users.

                That's why you copy them and every guide tells you as much.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                Typing cryptic commands is very error-prone and disconcerting for users. You may think that the "click blah blah" instructions are long and complicated, but for most users it's what makes the most sense, and they have at least a slight idea of what's going on.

                Maybe true for simple users. Power users don't type cryptic commands verbatim; they cut'n paste them directly from the source. Heck, simple users could do this too, if they understand cut'n paste.

                Most likely we need a 'For Dummies' section of the community docs that explains cut'npaste on terminals and other such things you need to know in order to follow directions properly.

              • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:5, Interesting)

                by ArsonSmith (13997) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @05:27PM (#26536667) Journal

                I've been using windows now for a little over a year. Coming from and exclusively Unix and/or Linux background since 1994. I am regularly told by the windows admins to go to the command line to do things such as recently ipconfig \flushdns I don't know for sure, but windows still seems to need a terminal for similar tasks.

                Plus sudo apt-get install foo seems much easier than the windows version of get in your car and drive to the store and scan through the packages or download from some freeware site or research many vendors about foo to find a package for foo and break out the credit card in order for you to do anything.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by sjames (1099)

                It is what they're comfortable with, but trying to give people verbal of text instructions in a GUI is an exercize in plucking yourself bald hair by hair. Now click the little picture that looks kinda like a deformed dog.... No, the schnauzer, not the husky.

                No matter how cryptic a text command might be, it is unambiguous in a text based document (just cut and paste if you want to be really sure). It can be relayed unambiguously verbally as well. That might be a pain, but describing similar looking icons ver

          • Re:Marketing MIA (Score:4, Insightful)

            by LingNoi (1066278) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:26PM (#26532157)

            because it's easier to copy & paste a command into the terminal then it is to navigate through GUIs.

            That doesn't mean you can't do it through GUIs, just that people who use Ubuntu prefer the terminal.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by entrigant (233266)

        Funny, I've been using opensuse 11.0 for about 5 months now, and not once have I had a need to use the terminal for anything.

        • IMO, SuSE is one of the best (albeit it slightly resource hungry) distro's for not wanting to use the command line. It has a ton of GUIs and they are pretty easy to use. (I use it personally and my parents use it, without knowing what they're doing :) )

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Bollocks. Your average Ubuntu user will spend as much time on the command line as a windows user will, ie, none for most, some for the rest of us, all the time for the superleet.
      • by Chabo (880571)
        Probably because you use the terminal for things you know how to do there, even if there's a GUI option somewhere. Similar to how you're more likely to do Windows+R->cmd->ipconfig to find out your IP address in Windows than Start->Settings->Control Panel->Network Connections.
    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      Marketing is on the agenda as they just hired Julian Hubbard [youtube.com] to deal with Ubuntu's marketing strategy.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Your right but marketing is more than commercials. Everybody knows about Linux. The real issue I see is still the lack of a way to "sell" software.
      There really isn't a good way to sell software for Linux.
      I still say an ITunes like app store for Linux is the missing piece. Throw in media as well and get people selling software.
      The funny thing I always hear is that any simple program will just be copied by the FOSS community. It may but it really doesn't matter. Bejeweled, AstrPop, and Tetris all show that a

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192)

      Marketing is what's missing to Linux today.

      The lack of marketing is what makes Linux so great. Linux is what it is because it's made by technically proficient people for technically proficient people. We don't need marketing. The fact that it is free, and technically excellent is all that is needed to attract the kinds of people that will make Linux even better.

    • by tknd (979052) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:30PM (#26532281)

      Where are the ads (with or without Jerry Seinfeld) and the glossy brochures at Best Buy?

      Marketing isn't just advertising and promotion. It is also the act of determining what kind of product a particular target market desires. The reason why linux isn't on the desktop is because it doesn't get something right that other OSes and platforms for that particular target market. If the target market is "desktop users" then I say desktop users don't care about what is running under the hood, they only care that their apps and their devices work.

      In my opinion, the correct marketing strategy for a desktop linux distro would be:

      • MS Office must work, Adobe Photoshop must work
      • Work on 3rd party electronic device compatibility: cameras off the shelf from best buy must work, printers and scanners must work, ipods must work.

      And no, the correct answer is not "use gimp" or "use openoffice" or "don't buy ipods". If you want to sell linux, you need to offer them something that meets the customer's needs. All I hear when open source devs say "use openoffice" is the same as forcing openoffice down their throat. Instead, the first question any good salesman asks of any customer is "what do you need?" If they then answer "I need to use itunes for my iphone" then you better get linux to work with itunes and their iphone otherwise your product is not for that customer!

      Notice that I never specified how one would get devices like iphones and MS Office and such to work. One could strike an agreement with the manufacturers to release drivers, apps, and such or maybe outline a standard that manufacturers can build and work with. But guess what, that means a new marketing strategy for a new customer. In this case you're going to have to make it easier for the companies (the new target market) to make more money either by sharing the workload or offering them something that benefits them.

      Unfortunately, things like the GPL and even the nature of linux limit the choices in marketing strategies (as well as the one-sidedness many FOSS advocates have). But remember, the customer is king; if you can't give them what they want, they will never be your customer.

      On a side note: I've always felt that FreeBSD had a better chance for being a good base for a desktop OS simply because of licensing. Example: the FreeBSD camp has always had madwifi available with no licensing issues while the linux camp has only recently gotten some fully supported madwifi drivers without tainting the kernel. But of course in a desktop environment, I have no problem with companies providing proprietary drivers. If their product doesn't work, it goes back to the store. In a corporate environment, I do have everything against proprietary software but that is because the needs of a company (different target market) are different from the needs of a home user. If that hint wasn't big enough, I was pointing out that while linux might not be for the home desktop user, it might be better suited for the corporate office user. Get MS Office working and you've probably met most cubicle worker needs.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:30PM (#26530979)

    That's what will kill Microsoft (and why I believe Ubuntu has become one of the top distros). Everytime I hear about Microsoft management story, it seems to be an exercise in bureacracy.

    But what will hurt Microsoft is the day Quicken or Photoshop have Wine 1.xx on their system requirements, next to XP/Vista/Etc. I'm too cynical to think they'll come out with native Linux version, but eventually they'll want to tap into the 10 million+ users of Ubuntu and other Linuxes, if nothing else but to stop their competition from taking hold.

    At this point, there isn't much reason to not be OS agnostic for those type of programs.

    • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:56PM (#26531477) Journal

      Not only that, I'm starting to see a bunch of software written in .Net crap. Why not write it in QT, and have an application that can run on just about every platform out there WITHOUT bowing before Microsoft, who could eat your lunch should you write the "Killer Ap".

      Seriously between Wine 1.x and QT, there is no reason to write applications to Windows.

      • I'll hazard a guess that there are a lot more .NET developers out there than Qt.

        But it's a good point. I think a lot of money could be made on the back of Ubuntu if doing nothing else than filling gaps or perfecting apps that are already monopolized in the Windows world.

      • by Arainach (906420) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:23PM (#26532069)

        Why not write it in QT, and have an application that can run on just about every platform out there WITHOUT bowing before Microsoft, who could eat your lunch should you write the "Killer Ap".

        Because having developed in .NET and QT, .NET is far easier and more enjoyable to develop in. You may call it "crap", but it's actually a well-done platform that's great for developers. You may dislike its single-platform outlook, but as programming languages, the .NET languages are top-notch.

        To many companies, being able to quickly and reliably put together code is much more important than supporting the tiny marketshare that represents Linux desktop users.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mangu (126918)

          having developed in .NET and QT, .NET is far easier and more enjoyable to develop in

          I beg to disagree. At work we are developing a mixed application, I do my part in Qt and some other people are doing another part in .NET.

          I end doing much more than the share we had agreed on at the beginning, because I'm so much more productive in Qt that they throw anything they cannot get ready on time at me. It's beginning to look like the small auxiliary part that was first assigned, at my urging, to Qt will end up bein

      • by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:32PM (#26532341)

        Maybe because, until very very recently, it was totally free to develop in .NET but you had to pay to develop commercial programs in QT? In fact, not long ago, even open source Windows programs in QT required fees. (Linux ones were free.)

        Blame QT for that, not the developers.

  • by NineNine (235196)

    $30 million? That's it? That's nothing. That's a regular grocery store. I'll check back when this number is about 100 times bigger...

    • by toganet (176363) <gwhodgson@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:42PM (#26531183) Homepage
      And that's the problem -- people think a product or service has to make tons of $$ to be successful. Something like Ubuntu subverts our capitalist assumptions, because it actually gets cheaper the better it gets, and the more people who use it. Supply and demand work differently.
      • Something like Ubuntu subverts our capitalist assumptions, because it actually gets cheaper the better it gets, and the more people who use it.

        Uhm, isn't this the default market behavior in IT when you pay for features (and not brands like Apple or Microsoft)?

      • by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:32PM (#26532351)

        Interesting though, that the most popular Linux distro right now according to distrowatch is headed by a billionaire.

        Money talks, even in open-source/free world. I doubt Ubuntu would be where it is today if Shuttleworth had to work at [insert company here] to earn a living.

        I'm not saying it's BAD. I'm saying that success is generally dependent on funding, whether you're talking open source software or commercial software.

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      You make a good point that it is very little.

      However, I think the good news is that Canonical is now breaking even which means Mark doesn't have to keep shovelling his personal money into it to keep it all working.

      It also means if Mark is hit by a bus (hopefully not) then Canonical won't die from lack of funding.

  • Wrong Question? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clang_jangle (975789) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:32PM (#26531011) Journal

    but it leaves one wondering how sustainable Microsoft's development process really is

    Only if one ignores all the sales of commercial and support contracts. Otherwise, it's pretty sustainable. A better question might be "How effective is it?".

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:36PM (#26531073) Journal

    They are close to the $30 Million dollar mark! Hooray!

    Okay... is that gross sales? Net profit? Payroll? My guess is gross sales, but the summary doesn't say. Without that other piece of information, this summary makes ZERO sense (and you can put any unit you want after ZERO).

    Hey, guys, my car goes from 0 to 120 in 3! That makes about as much sense as the summary.

    • by JavaTHut (9877) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:48PM (#26531305) Homepage

      Hey, guys, my car goes from 0 to 120 in 3! That makes about as much sense as the summary.

      Was a car analogy really necessary?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by geckipede (1261408)
      This summary makes zero Ohms of sense?
    • by klaun (236494)

      $30 Million dollar mark

      $...dollar? Is that from the Department of Redundancy Department?

      and you can put any unit you want after ZERO

      From the summary:

      the company is very close to the $30M mark

      The dollar sign is the unit. The units are dollars. It is common usage to have dollar signs precede the number. What are you complaining about? And why on earth did someone think it was insightful?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Okay, you got me on using a redundant dollar sign

        However, the point remains: $30 Million of what? Gross Revenue? Profit? It makes no sense to not specify what it refers to. You can have revenue of $30 Million and still be losing money hand over fist. You can have small sales, but still be pulling in a $30 Million profit margin. The summary makes no sense without this info.

    • by mhall119 (1035984)

      I would say it's gross sales, because having a net profit > $0 would have already made Canonical sustainable.

    • It's revenue (Score:5, Informative)

      by LingNoi (1066278) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:16PM (#26531855)

      The article clearly describes it as revenue.

      Canonical also receives revenue from companies like Dell that ship computers with Ubuntu and work with it on software engineering projects like adding Linux-based features to laptops. All told, Canonical's annual revenue is creeping toward $30 million, Mr. Shuttleworth said.

      That figure won't worry Microsoft.

      But Mr. Shuttleworth contends that $30 million a year is self-sustaining revenue, just what he needs to finance regular Ubuntu updates. And a free operating system that pays for itself, he says, could change how people view and use the software they touch everyday.

  • Um, no? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:37PM (#26531105) Journal

    MSFT reported revenue of $60.4 billion dollars for 2008. That comes out to about $165.5 million per day.

    There are reasons why Microsoft may or may not feel threatened by things like Linux. Maybe netbooks. But I doubt a $30M company scares them much. In fact, I'd say they're much more worried about RedHat than Canonical - not because of their size, but because RH and Microsoft do really compete in the server market. How many Linux notebooks has Dell sold so far? Even by the lowered standards of Vista there's simply no comparison there.

    • Re:Um, no? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mhall119 (1035984) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:18PM (#26531907) Homepage Journal

      It's not the total dollar amount that would concern Microsoft, it's that a company can afford to compete with them on the desktop. Yes, RedHat already competes on the server, but so far Microsoft has owned the desktop. Now Canonical is competing in that space, on the same hardware, through the same channels, and it might be able to make a buck doing so. Microsoft hasn't faced competition like that since OS/2 died.

      And before I get flamed by the Apple users, Microsoft doesn't compete on Apple hardware, and Apple doesn't compete through Microsoft's OEM channels. If Apple sold OSX separate from it's hardware, then it would be a serious threat to Microsoft, but for now Apple can't out-sell Dell, HP, Lenovo and all the budget brands out there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anne Thwacks (531696)
      RH and Microsoft do really compete in the server market

      People use MS stuff on servers? Are they guilty but insane?

    • Re:Um, no? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488) <jurily@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @03:54PM (#26534607)

      But I doubt a $30M company scares them much.

      Way to miss the point. Linux is not about money, and that, my friend, is what they are afraid of.

  • Personally... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:39PM (#26531137)
    I'd love to have a 'failure' like Vista!
  • by fprintf (82740)

    Just like RedHat took off in its own direction, after being the darling Linux distro some years ago, eventually perhaps Canonical will see the same writing on the wall and abandon the focus on the Linux desktop. The money is in servers and support contracts, the Ubuntu consumer desktop serves to give a distribution a foothold, to give it eyeballs, to focus developer attention on it. But if Ubuntu is to truly become a business it needs to be a whole lot more than self-sustaining.

    I also second comments that $

    • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabre ... g ['s.o' in gap]> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:39PM (#26532487) Homepage
      What if Canonical isn't trying to make assloads of money, but are just trying to build a solid business that is profitable?

      The sooner we get away from the 80's-style "If you aren't making money hand over fist now, you're worthless" thought, the better. Canonical is making a solid business providing a TON of value for it's customers via a product it's essentially giving away for free that is in many respects equivalent or better than Microsoft's products. Why shouldn't Microsoft be scared of someone who's showing the public and businesses that they don't have to pay through the ass for software? Mindshare is very important, especially in the Internet age.
  • Man, I wish I had a penny each time a slashdotter predicts Microsofts demise ;)
  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @01:59PM (#26531517)

    If you remember a while back I said something like: There will never be a year of Linux, but it doesn't matter, what matters is that there is never a 'the last year of Linux or 'the Final year of Linux'. The fear never leaves the back of my mind that there will be a day coming when either Jobs or Ballmer or some US politician like Orin Hatch says 'If you are a Linux user, we will come find you, man, woman, child or company. You will use Windows pr you will pay fines, you will go to jail.'

    This whole 30 Million, if its true, could mean Linux is here to stay, at least for a while. It could mean that we will continue to see at least a steady development of Linux games and applications. So Linux may hold on if we can for one thing, find a way to keep from losing any more important programmers, while at the same time attracting new talent. An example of this that hits close to home for me is the announcement Pixel would be leaving. I'm a Mandriva contributor. I'm worried about what will happen to Mandriva without Pixel.

    So, again, don't celebrate just yet.

    • by canUbeleiveIT (787307) * on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:21PM (#26532019)
      The fear never leaves the back of my mind that there will be a day coming when either Jobs or Ballmer or some US politician like Orin Hatch says 'If you are a Linux user, we will come find you, man, woman, child or company. You will use Windows pr you will pay fines, you will go to jail.'

      That's doesn't sound far-fetched to me. Personally, I worry about my car not starting due to rogue clowns from outer space stealing my spark plugs.
  • What people should care about is that Canonical is getting successful and they are doing so not because they are paying people to take the products, but because people want the products.

    So this is great news regardless of what Microsoft thinks. They, Microsoft, have never thought about anything but destroying what others have created so they may maintain their monopoly. Go Ubuntu! Go Canonical!

    LoB

  • best quote (Score:5, Funny)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:17PM (#26531895)
    The best quote in TFA (the original NYT [nytimes.com] one, not the one linked to in TFS):

    In his personal life, he continues to test what is possible, requesting that a fiber-optic connection be installed to his house on the border of London's affluent Chelsea and South Kensington neighborhoods.

    "I want to find out what it's like to have a gigabit connection to the home," he said. "It is not because I need to watch porn in high-definition but because I want to see what you do differently." (emphasis mine)

    From that alone, you can tell he reads slashdot.

    The second best quote from TFA:

    "Look, I have a very privileged life, right?" Mr. Shuttleworth said. "I am a billionaire, bachelor, ex-cosmonaut. Life couldn't easily be that much better. Being a Linux geek sort of brings balance to the force."

    Kudos on reaching the self-sustainable mark Mr. Shuttleworth! Let's hope you really do make the world a better, more free, place.

  • by jmyers (208878) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:21PM (#26532029)

    MS will not be toppled any time soon. very long term they will, because all companies die at some point.

    The vast majority of end users don't know the difference between XP and Vista or that Vista was some kind of failure. They bought their computer and whatever it has is what they use. Only geeks know/think that Vista was a failure. It was only a PR failure. If it was a real failure new PCs would not be shipping with it.

    Currently and for the foreseeable future almost every PC ships with an MS OS. That is the key, people do not decide which OS to run, the vendors do.

    The only way that Linux is going to take off is if a vendor produces some must have pc/appliance/etc that runs Linux. I thought the netbook might be it, but now I know several people that have them and they all got the XP version.

  • Why this matters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Groo Wanderer (180806) <charlie.semiaccurate@com> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:25PM (#26532129) Homepage

    Numbers are totally irrelevant, or at least their magnitude is. The point is that Canonical is self-sustaining. Last time I checked, Mr Shuttleworth did not need the cash to mend his shoes, he wanted to make something that was good.

    When Canonical becomes self-sustaining, he will have accomplished that goal. This means development will be funded, marketing efforts will be ongoing, and with luck, people will make money.

    This means that if you like and use Ubuntu, it will be there in the future. I do for both, so this is very good.

    The more money it makes, given their structure, the more development and marketing they will be able to do. I don't know the financial structure of Canonical, but I doubt the people with a piece of it are more interested in money than changing the world. That likely means the people who own it will dump the majority of anything over the $30M back into the distro.

    If you see what they did with $30M, imagine what an extra $10M can do?

    This is a good thing.

              -Charlie

  • quite sustainable (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unfunk (804468) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @02:32PM (#26532345) Journal
    ...as long as Windows is the OS that everybody wants to use because it runs on their system, any development process is sustainable.
    Vista, for all its perceived faults was a massive step forward for the Windows architecture. Yes, it had sucky bits that people didn't like, but on the whole (and going forward), the changes were for the better.
    Just remember that Windows NT was pretty poor when it first came out too, as was OSX. Windows 7 looks to be shaping up quite well (at least in terms of popular reception, even if it's not much different), which Microsoft must be thankful for.

    It also probably cost significantly less than Vista to produce.
  • by castrox (630511) <stefan@@@verzel...se> on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @06:53PM (#26538099)

    Why do people care who runs GNU/Linux and who does not? GNU/Linux marketshare is abysmal and still the community is pulling in support from hardware and software vendors, which is great!

    What I don't get is this whole "PLEASE RUN LINUX!"-shit. Who cares? So, run Mac OS or Windows, good on ya. As long as we've got open standards, it doesn't make any difference at all what operating system you run on your computer. Frankly, it's mostly boring, in the end.

    GNU/Linux is a CHOICE and that's enough for me.

  • by melted (227442) on Tuesday January 20, 2009 @08:11PM (#26539127) Homepage

    I like Linux and all, but I've been running Win 7 for the past week or so, and while still buggy in places, it's a VAST improvement over Vista. I hated Vista, and I love Win7.

    You had two years of "Vista failure" to gain traction in the market. You have failed.

    And before you jump on my throat and say "what have you done to help", I'll tell you that I haven't done anything, and I'm not demanding anything. I'm just stating the fact. I only use Linux on the server, it requires too much manual labor to run on a laptop. And by "run" I mean suspend and wake up, use wireless, support all hardware, etc.

    Heck, you even failed to beat Mac OS X on the desktop, in spite of Apple daring to charge money for it.

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