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Businesses The Almighty Buck Ubuntu Linux

Canonical Founder Says Recent Changes In Ubuntu Were Necessary To Prepare the Company For an IPO (zdnet.com) 128

An anonymous reader writes: Canonical was doing well with Ubuntu and cloud and container-related technologies, such as Juju, LXD, and Metal-as-a-Service (MaaS). In addition, its OpenStack and Kubernetes software stacks, according to Shuttleworth, are growing by leaps and bounds on both the public and private cloud. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said "in the last year, Ubuntu cloud growth had been 70 percent on the private cloud and 90 percent on the public cloud." In particular, "Ubuntu has been gaining more customers on the big five public clouds." What hadn't succeeded was Canonical's attempt to make Unity the universal interface for desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Shuttleworth was personally invested in this project, but at day's end, it wasn't getting enough adoption to make it profitable. So, Shuttleworth said with regret, Unity had to be dropped. This move also means Canonical will devote more of its time to "putting the company on the path to a IPO. We must figure out what steps we need to take moving forward." That means focusing on Canonical's most profitable lines. Specifically, "Ubuntu will never die. Ubuntu is the default platform on cloud computing. Juju, MaaS, and OpenStack are nearly unstoppable. We need to work out more of our IoT path. At the same time, we had to cut out those parts that couldn't meet an investors' needs. The immediate work is get all parts of the company profitable."
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Canonical Founder Says Recent Changes In Ubuntu Were Necessary To Prepare the Company For an IPO

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  • by el_smurfo ( 1211822 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @12:46PM (#54385109)
    Was introduce me to Linux Mint. Thanks Mark!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep, Mark's the man! Linux Mint for the workstations, CentOS for the servers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Debian>Ubuntu>Mint

      And because of Unity i re-introduced myself to the "root": Debian!

      I can't understand the purpose of Mint as an independent distribution (instead of an Ubuntu "flavor"), especially now that Ubuntu returns to Gnome.

      • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @01:50PM (#54385697)

        I've tried twice to use Unity as a windowmanager, and both times I've found a friggin' Microsoft UI to be more useful for managing the way I use Linux (ie, lots and lots of consoles for SSH) than Unity. I've used MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, CDE on HPUX and SunOS, Enlightenment, KDE, Gnome, xfce, fvwm, classic MacOS, OSX, and even twm, tab window manager, and all are more intuitive to use than Unity.

        The only OS that I've had a harder time with was the command line on the Apple II, but that's because I have no idea what the commands are on an Apple II CLI. Even then though, I knew that I didn't know the commands, so my frustration was based on not having the literature. Unity seems like it should be familiar, it seems like it should work like modern GUIs, but it doesn't behave the same. Clicking and right-clicking do not do the same things. It's not obvious how to get to my applications, they don't seem to appear in any kind of sane heirarchical menu system. It just doesn't make any sense. When twm is easier to use then you know there's a problem.

    • Same here... If I wanted a mobile OS UI, I'll download and *get* a mobile OS UI.

      Dafuq were they thinking...?

    • Except I freakin' love Unity now and now that people are finally getting used to it, they're like "nevermind, we're going straight shit back to GNOME3."

      The hotkeys (while using EVERY META combination) are super fast and intuitive for moving windows, moving virtual desktops, moving windows inbetween virtual desktops. I combine it with Guake (a quake-style drop down console that has multiple tabs and doesn't change as you move across virtual desktops). Unity makes excellent use of space on a Netbook, and th

    • Same
    • Why should I now switch to Mint?

      I understood at the time of the Gnome 3 / Unity debacle Mint offered something that wasn't available elsewhere, but I'm genuinely curious now, what is the benefit for Mint?

      I used to recommend Mint to a lot of people. I continued to run Ubuntu on my servers where the GUI didn't matter anyway (Mint's strongest point IMO). But recently I've just recommended Ubuntu again with a single command typed in the console "liberating" the desktop and making it traditional again.

      So what do

      • ... But recently I've just recommended Ubuntu again with a single command typed in the console "liberating" the desktop and making it traditional again...So what does Mint offer in 2017?

        Umm... how about a distro managed by people who actually give a shit about the desires and needs of YOU, the user? How about the hard working devs who were there for Linux users and gave them an alternative when the twin crapcakes of Unity and Gnome 3 were being forced down their throats?

        Anybody who abandons Mint because of Ubuntu's about-face will SO deserve it if Ubuntu pulls another shit-headed fast one and leaves them scrambling to cobble together a decent Linux environment. And if Mint is gone by that

        • No I mean give me something tangible. I'm not going to recommend Mint over another flavour due to some wishy washy the developers have your best interests at heart bullshit.

          Remember this is the reason why Ubuntu started in the first place. Your interests are their interests since your interests will get their desktop installed. They only happen to have misread the market on the Unity thing. Quite frankly I believe the Gnome 3 crew with their simplification (dare I say stupification) of Linux has the interes

          • Yeah, we have been wondering what the G3 folks have been thinking for years. I am not spending any time trying to think about what those fuckers are thinking. They have keyboards too, so let them tell us what the fuck they are thinking.
  • Time to start looking for a replacement distro...
    • by dknj ( 441802 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @01:11PM (#54385347) Journal

      For the desktop replacement, you still have distros based on debian which have fairly up-to-date release schedules.

      KDE Neon is Kubuntu with a different name.
      Linux Mint is Ubuntu with a streamlined UI.

      In both of these you can swap out to plain gnome2 or gnome3, xfce, enlightenment, or windowmaker if you want.

      For server, you're kinda boned. You can go back to debian, which isn't too bad. CentOS with epel is a functional cross, but theres no way you are running bleeding edge with a RHEL distro. The plus about RHEL is that rpm packaging is dirt simple and you can have a bleeding edge environment if you don't mind the upkeep (1% project overhead in my exp).

      My worry is that Ubuntu is going to follow the path of RedHat. Where Ubuntu takes over debian as the defacto fork and updates trickle back to debian. Usurping the debian development and testing in the process. Anyway I suspect tinfoil and pennies to be given away freely in this thread.

      -dk

      • Debian it is then, old and stable doesn't bother me any more.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LiENUS ( 207736 )

        > For server, you're kinda boned. You can go back to debian, which isn't too bad. CentOS with epel is a functional cross, but theres no way you are running bleeding edge with a RHEL distro.

        I gave up trying to get bleeding edge anything on those distros. I just run docker and run my bleeding edge service within docker.

      • My worry is that Ubuntu is going to follow the path of RedHat. Where Ubuntu takes over debian as the defacto fork and updates trickle back to debian. Usurping the debian development and testing in the process.

        This could've happened years ago if Ubuntu so desired, since Ubuntu has more users and more developers and more resources than Debian. They don't so desire. It's easier to be downstream than upstream and they know it. They'd rather help Debian remain their upstream so they can get some benefit from it

      • No, I think you're onto something. I've known for awhile people, whether the US government, Intelligence community, or corporations were going to hijack Linux at some point, and I think all these changes and happenings in the community are the first fruits of those labors.
        • Are you alleging that Gnome3 is part of a nefarious conspiracy theory?

          Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me too much. Why anyone likes that turd is completely beyond me, so an elaborate conspiracy theory would actually explain why it's so seemingly popular among Linux users and why so many distros push it so hard.

  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @01:10PM (#54385333)

    To do IPO they brought in analysts, who made recommendations.

    I see a rough road for IPO at this phase. They've been a fixture for over 10 years and their repeated attempts to succeed as a business have been widely observed and have failed. While undoubtedly popular, it is painfully obvious because they are the most straightforward free option. They have not shown any hint of being able to parlay their status to significant revenue. Instead they have to keep hand waving less useful metrics about users of their software than any business relationships, and intentionally fuzzing things up by swapping the word 'customer' and 'user' as it makes sense ('user' to have big numbers and share, then pivot to referencing customers, to suggest the users==customers, rather than the reality that the vast majority of users of the platform will never become a revenue source).

    If they had IPOed 10 years ago, things would have been new enough for the investors to be enamored with the visions of what *could* be, but the passage has time has dashed pretty much all of the hopes.

    • by geek ( 5680 )

      They have not shown any hint of being able to parlay their status to significant revenue

      That's why they brought in the analysts...................

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        Analysts are sadly useless for knowing about what you *should* do or what the *future* is. They can do a serviceable job of past trends and current data, but their predictions about what could and will succeed are about as accurate as flipping coins.

  • IPO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djbckr ( 673156 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @01:16PM (#54385383)

    Somebody needs to explain to me why a company always feels the need to be publicly traded. It is never good for the consumer. It shackles the company to be profitable regardless of quality.

    I worked for a private company that did very, very well. Then the owners jumped ship and through a series of events finally went public. Everything went to shit after that.

    • Re:IPO (Score:5, Informative)

      by hackel ( 10452 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @01:29PM (#54385519) Journal

      Access to funds to expand, without having to sell half your soul to a VC?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Access to funds to expand, without having to sell half your soul to a VC?

        That's the answer for the Finance 101 final but not in reality.

        In reality it is an exit strategy. And the way public companies are valued, you get much MUCH more going public than by selling privately.

        Selling privately: it depends on the buyer's metrics BUT is may mean the they need to pay for the business with the free cash flows from that business in 5 to 7 years. OR they are what's called a strategic buyer and will pay something that costs less than what it would cost them to start from scratch.

        Going pub

      • Re:IPO (Score:4, Insightful)

        by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @03:30PM (#54386583)
        So instead you chop your soul into millions of pieces and sell those pieces to thousands of greedy psychopaths rather than just one. I honestly don't know which is worse.
        • ...to thousands of greedy psychopaths....

          Billions! Once again, the press underestimates me.

        • I honestly don't know which is worse.

          The IPO. At least when you have a small number of investors, it's easier to find out what you're getting yourself into and you can always refuse to sell. If you're so low on funds that you can't refuse any deal no matter what (or you're just stupid or greedy), then an IPO won't help you.

        • So instead you chop your soul into millions of pieces and sell those pieces to thousands of greedy psychopaths rather than just one. I honestly don't know which is worse.

          Thousands of greedy psychopaths have a much harder time at deciding on a direction for a company to take. I'd pick that over a single powerful investor any day.

      • BWHAHAHAHAHA.

        IPO's are ALWAYS about cashing out the current ownership. No company seeking an IPO has done so to gain access to funding for growth since the 60's. And since around 2000 almost every single IPO was about giving the founders huge stacks of money so they can walk away before the company goes bankrupt.

    • Somebody needs to explain to me why a company always feels the need to be publicly traded.

      Companies don't feel needs. Someone in control of the corporation feels they could make a lot of money with an IPO. So it goes.

      • Their "Linux phone" bit failed. Time to cash out.

        ( To be accurate - their phone isn't really Linux - it uses an android kernel with binary blobs that insure zero security ) .

    • by bankman ( 136859 )

      The company doesn't feel a need to do anything. It's a way for management and/or the owners to raise equity capital and/or sell parts of their share where a private sale isn't happening for whatever reason.

      The pressure public trading and enhanced scrutiny by financial analysts, who rarely understand the business the company is in, put on the company is often either not understood by management or accepted as a requirement to raising equity. The problem usually is the incredibly stupid short termism exhibite

  • A recruiter asked me to interview at a company where the hiring manager kept rejecting many qualified candidates. I went in, interviewed and reported back that the company was in pre-IPO mode that made the company reluctant to hire anyone and the hiring manager wanted a computer engineer at a help desk hourly rate.
    • Why even bother interviewing at a place if you already know that the hiring manager is consistently rejecting qualified candidates?

  • The business model being...?
  • Honestly, how? And why? Even on the server side, most of their stuff can be used for free. I know the trend is to sell "support contracts" and such, but I've never worked for a company that actually purchased one. I'm just curious. I really want them to succeed, as long as they do it with Free software. I'm just amazed that they make any money at all.

    • Enterprise support contracts. Specifically the enterprise cloud support.

      Large companies are completely wiling to pay to have a guaranteed response time for service calls. Especially when they don't have to buy the hardware.

      • Red Hat has that market largely sewn up. On my personal machines, I prefer Ubuntu to Red Hat but for servers, Red Hat has been in the business longer, so I would likely go with them for support. With that said, Ubuntu may be able to differentiate itself and be pretty successful if it shipped server versions with Upstart rather than SystemD. I'm not trying to troll - they need something to differentiate themselves from their biggest competitor and that is an option that no other enterprise Linux company i
    • by trochej ( 730292 )
      From support contracts. Really. There's tonnes of companies that want to be able to ask Canonical engineers for help. There are many, really.
  • It's Phucking Over

    I mean, we knew that about Canonical already with the way they shat all over Ubuntu. But who the fuck can see/hear "Ubuntu is the default platform on cloud computing. Juju, MaaS, and OpenStack are nearly unstoppable." and then decide to throw money at the person who wrote/said it?

    Ubuntu isn't the default for anything. A few years back, it was the default for nerds giving their parents/grandparents a machine that wasn't Windows but was still a usable and familiar desktop. Juju? MaaS? OpenSt

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

      It sounds to me like you're of the opinion that Linux is primarily a desktop OS. You might want to examine some of the history on that.

      • It sounds to me like you're of the opinion that Linux is primarily a desktop OS. You might want to examine some of the history on that.

        It sounds to me like you're an idiot.

        I never made such a statement. Ubuntu is certainly primarily a desktop OS. It was designed and marketed as being a free (as in beer, speech and fucking "Ubuntu") desktop OS to replace Windows for all sorts of casual users. Ubuntu was the noob-friendly Linux, and for a time it was pretty successful.

        Ubuntu is not the distro you want for production servers, cloud-based or otherwise.

        • Ubuntu's success among linux desktop users has in fact led to it gaining a chunk of server/cloud users (name recognition goes a long way regardless of merit), the latter being where the profit is. They aren't the leading player, but even a chunk of a profitable market is profitable.

  • So another computer company has repeated another error in logic - that 1 interface works on every platform:
    Microsoft's massive phone market share and accolades for Win 8 for some reason are ignored.
    Additionally, we see the path to the decline of Ubuntu - going public. Remove creativity and direction from users handing it to detached shareholders motivated only by EPS (earnings per share), dividends, and market cap will undoubtedly move Ubuntu in the "right" direction. ya.. that will happen.
    I bailed o
  • It's all built on the horrible Launchpad and Bazaar anyway.
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday May 09, 2017 @03:10PM (#54386457)

    Publicly owned businesses become focused on one thing and only one thing: profit. This is not good for Canonical or it's users because some very unpopular decisions will be made in the name of profit. Then again, perhaps it's time for Canonical to die because their past decisions haven't been much better.

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      Hate to break it to you, but private companies are interested in exactly the same thing. You know what you call a 'company' that doesn't exist primarily for profit? A charity (or maybe a hobby). The only difference that being public makes is that your profitability (or lack thereof) becomes public information.

      Here's another news flash: most employees are interested in one thing - a paycheck.

      • Both must make profit to be sustainable, but public companies are required to meet a minimum amount of profit or they get delisted, reorganized, the CEO gets the axe...

        • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

          What are you talking about? There is no such 'minimum requirement'. Where do people come up with this crap?

          You don't get delisted because you failed to make some 'minimum profit', you get delisted because nobody wants to buy your stock (ie you have a worthless company)

          Here is a little company you may have heard of: Amazon. It was 7 years between their IPO and the first time they made ANY profit. Yet they weren't de-listed or reorganized, and the CEO is still there. Why wasn't your 'minimum required pr

          • There is no such 'minimum requirement'.

            I'm not talking about a legal requirement. Either you make a minimum amount of profit that the market expects (or re-invest all your profits) or investors bail (or fire the management).

            You don't get delisted because you failed to make some 'minimum profit'

            Generally, you do. Many stock exchanges will boot you off their listing if your company doesn't meet certain minimum requirements, such as minimum revenue or capital value.

            Here is a little company you may have heard of: Amazon. It was 7 years between their IPO and the first time they made ANY profit.

            You're confusing gross with net. They don't make net profit because they reinvest everything very aggressively. To say they make NO money is completely

            • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

              As I said, it depends on what expectations you set for your investors. If you set the expectation that you will have a profit this year, then yes, you better deliver on that promise. Why should it be any different than that? What makes you think that is any different in private companies? Private companies DO go out of business you know. You know why that happens? Because the business was not making the profit the owner expected, so he closed the business.

              No, you do NOT get delisted because you didn't

    • Publicly owned businesses become focused on one thing and only one thing: profit.

      Canonical is not a non-profit and Shuttleworth is not a charity. They are just as focused on profits as any publicly traded company. Most of their strategy has followed this point: Get Ubuntu into the hands of less technically minded, put Ubuntu on every cloud, try getting Ubuntu on mobile phones and tablets. That goal is no different for Ubuntu than any other Linux distro.

      perhaps it's time for Canonical to die

      I wouldn't wish the death of any major Linux distro, even if I disagree with their policy and direction.

  • Thanks to Canonical's efforts (and Red Hat's, to a somewhat lesser extent) Linux remains a nonentity in the desktop. Which is a good thing - I can still set up my Linux desktop without any of their bloatware, confident in the fact that the general public will not replace their Windows systems with Linux (what for? It is just a Windows wannabee) and therefore keeping the crooks mostly focused on Windows. Most Linux fans will not understand it that way, but the lack of a significant presence of Linux in the d
  • I just changed our password policy to require: A string at least 26 digits long A lower case letter An upper case letter A number Punctuation An Elvis song title The GPS coordinates of a national monument The binary representation of they day the password was created The octal birthdate of the password holder - mod 13 The weight of the password holder's last bowl movement in grams.

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