Mark Shuttleworth talk in SF

Last Tuesday I had the privilege of hearing Mark Shuttleworth speak at the BALUG meeting in SF. The format is a little different than with other groups I’ve attended over the years as it was held in a restaurant in Chinatown. You needed to RSVP and pay for dinner ($13) but it was certainly well worth it.

I (thought) I planned well for this trip: that day I took the free Y! shuttle up the SF office (on Sansome) and worked from there. The meeting was only a few blocks away and I made sure to get there really early. I got a great seat, met some great people and waited for dinner and the talk.

The highlights:

  • As he put it, we need to “best express the next”. Others have said the same but we all know it’s true. If we want Linux to succeed on the desktop it really as to be “better” than anything else. Better, is of course, subjective, but Mark is referring to allowing people to better achieve their goals through software. Expressing themselves with more control and granularity. All-the-while making our apps easy to use with less headaches during installation and configuration.
  • He would use Redhat on servers rather than Ubuntu if the application was certified. I find that to be a very noble and positive statement. Use what is best for the job and play nice with others.
  • The Novell deal was bad for open source. The sentiment is that the deal promoted a false sense of security to potential buyers and didn’t really seem to benefit open source at all. It only muddied the water with potential adopters as they might buy into Novell to “keep from getting sued” or at least “be protected” should they be sued.
  • Codecs and DRM are definitely holding us back. New content and media needs to be available to everyone, regardless of platform.
  • He fondly referred to his time spent on the Soyuz as “farting around in outer space”. That was absolutely hilarious.
  • Unrelated to the talk, I was absolutely AMAZED with how many people owned the OLPC I would say out of 300 people about 30% owned one.
  • It was a short, but great talk. BALUG seems to get some great speakers so I’ll definitely be going back.

    The irony:

    So, for all of my planning upfront, I still managed to get home at 2AM. Leaving the restaurant, I got on the right bus going the wrong way, which caused my house of cards to tumble. Missed the train out of SF by 5 minutes, which caused me to miss the connecting light rail to my car. We’ll see if I get this right next time.

    PS: Here’s a fun link: Bug #1 for Ubuntu, filed by Mark Shuttleworth himself. Thanks to Jeff Boulter for the link.