Yesterday was my five year anniversary at Canonical. I know people tend to get pretty gushy on anniversaries, so I am going to keep this as short as possible.
When I joined Canonical life was quite different to how it is now. I was living in the UK, had more hair, Canonical was a small company with an office the size of my current living room, it had the fairly singular focus at the time of shipping an integrated Free Software desktop, and the community team comprised of just myself. Today I am now married and living in the USA, have less hair, have a team of four (soon to become five), and Canonical has grown extensively, diversified, and expanded it’s operations.
Over the last five years there has been tremendous change and opportunity in both Canonical and Ubuntu. From a company perspective, this growth has brought challenges surrounding how we scale our operations up while still maintaining our core values, and bringing a phenomenal range of talent to the company. In particular I have been delighted to see the contributions of the Design Team and the Desktop Engineering team who have entered a tight-knit engineering culture and helped us to think differently and innovate across our products and how we represent ourselves in professional and consumer environments.
From an Ubuntu perspective, we have been doing what I always dreamed of when I first got involved in Open Source – breaking down the barriers to bringing Free Software to everyone. Back when I joined Canonical, the game was more straight-forward; keep on integrating great upstream software into an Operating System that primarily meets the needs of Linux enthusiasts. Our vision has now expanded; while we certainly want to encompass the needs of Linux enthusiasts, we want the Ubuntu Desktop to also appeal to a wider consumer demographic and Ubuntu Server to appeal to a wider DevOps and cloud demographic too, and this has involved breaking down more and more complex barriers. Achieving this is not just a software engineering challenge, but a design, services, business, community, and product journey challenge.
There have been some tough times over the last few years in breaking down these barriers, and some folks have been critical of our decision-making, but I strongly believe the decisions we have made have been sound in charting a course for success and the intentions of my colleagues and myself continue to be sincere. While our strategy has adjusted, molded and reacted to change, our intentions of bringing freedom and opportunity to technology have been consistent and unwavering. Freedom of code and collaboration continues to be at the heart of what we do in Ubuntu, but I also believe the truest freedom we can bring is in making technology and the opportunities that technology presents available to all, not just to those who understand the devil in the detail.
While Canonical has grown and diversified, I am pleased to see the spirit, enthusiasm and values of Canonical have remained. The reason why I joined Canonical was because I felt it understood community and could provide an environment to enthuse and support community growth and also deliver success in bringing freedom in technology to everyone via Ubuntu. I still believe those values are strongly ingrained in the DNA of Canonical.
Over the years I have been excited about various decisions and features we have brought to fruition in Ubuntu, but in the history of my involvement in Ubuntu I have never been so excited about the opportunity that Ubuntu brings on the Client, Server and the Cloud. I believe we better understand the opportunity and the challenges that face us and we as a community have the capabilities to achieve great things and the confidence make complex and at times difficult decisions in the wider pursuit of bringing Ubuntu and software freedom and opportunities to everyone.
These are hugely exciting times, and I want to thank everyone in our community, my wonderful team, and my colleagues at Canonical for continuing to make the journey so worthwhile.