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Ubuntu's Linux Retail Strategy Gears Up for 2010 - page 2

CEO Silber Pushes Retail Ubuntu

  • March 4, 2010
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

That gives Ubuntu another key advantage when it comes to getting Linux into consumers' hands. In Silber's view, the open source community is great at finding and fixing bugs and making things work on hardware that OEMs already have, and commercially backed projects like Ubuntu, with its close OEM relationships, can further refine that effort.

"To align yourself in the timing of the supply chain -- so when a piece of hardware lands in a consumer's hands, it already works with the best of the open source world -- that's not something that a pure community effort has really had the ability to do," Silber said.

The effort to get Ubuntu and open source software ready to go with new hardware has been a multi-year commitment that is now showing results, she added.

"We're finding that our last couple years of work with hardware manufacturers is really paying off, where they are now aligning their development processes and driver development around Ubuntu, which ultimately benefits everyone," Silber said. "It means that when new hardware is available, the open source world is already primed to be able to work with that hardware."

Focusing on Linux's user interface

In addition to hardware enablement, Silber noted that work continues in the area of user experience and design as well. Ubuntu's founder, Mark Shuttleworth, has been pushing for years to further make the Linux desktop more user-friendly than Apple's Mac.

"The stereotype complaints about open source being ugly or that it is just for geeks are certainly not true," Silber said. "But there is a noticeable difference between how open source works and some of the flashier proprietary consumer software. We think it doesn't have to be that way."

Overall, Silber noted that Ubuntu and the broader open source community continue to make strides in improving the overall user experience, and it's an effort she expects to continue in 2010 and beyond.

Despite the work that Ubuntu and Linux have ahead of them, Silber added that the overall Linux market is already making important gains on which she aims to capitalize.

For one thing, she pointed to the emergence of a whole range of device form factors that have open source software on them.

"So now as we have netbooks and smartphones running open source, and that's largely growth in the size of the pie that I think provides a great opportunity for Ubuntu and open source in general," Silber said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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