Mark Shuttleworth: Designing the Future, Together



The days of smart people working alone are over. As we head toward the future of computing, we must focus on collaboration, communication, and integration at the operational level, not just the tech level. This was the message delivered by Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth in his keynote presentation Monday morning at LinuxCon Europe.

Mark ShuttleworthCloud and mobile driving change
“To build on the momentum we already have, we must be thinking about the user experience in everything we do in Linux,” said Shuttleworth. With cloud computing and mobile technology driving the industry forward, the open source community must not only understand what the future looks like, but must also work together across disciplines and technologies to accelerate Linux adoption, making it readily available to anyone, anywhere, and on any platform.

Shuttleworth identified several “fundamental shifts” in the industry, including a shift from scale-up to scale-out workloads, and a shift in the way we think about risk. “In the cloud, risk is addressed at the application level,” said Shuttleworth. “We have thousands of nodes, and in order to reduce the cost per node, we must think about the economics and operational elements of the operating system.”

Ubuntu on every cloud
Shuttleworth pinpointed several key issues for any organization building out clouds. “We need an understanding of the scale that drives Amazon and Google economics,” he said. “We also need the agility to adopt technologies fast and accelerate development. And we’ve got to help developers navigate the complex web of components that drive everyone crazy.”

To get developers easily set up and hacking, Shuttleworth called upon the industry to continue investing in user experience and design thinking, so that Linux can become more ubiquitous and easy to use than ever before. “We can take the standard Ubuntu and blow it out across servers,” said Shuttleworth. “The goal of Ubuntu is to be on every cloud, including Azure.

Crowdsourcing solutions
Shuttleworth evangelized for crowdsourcing at the operational level to provide a better user experience and greater agility for every type of organization, from startups to large-scale operations. “Instead of having a large number of recipes across institutions, let’s have crowdsourced nuggets of goodness—so that the best ideas bubble to the top,” he said.

Citing JuJu as a new solution for sharing DevOps best practices, Shuttleworth explained what he called the “DevOps magic” that can happen when the community comes together. “You can have one group using Chef, and another group using Puppet, and with JuJu, they can easily connect and use each other’s knowledge, leveraging the unique skills that they both bring to table,” he said. “It’s a complete buffet of all the goodness that open source offers.”

The goal of all this software development collaboration and crowdsourcing? Ten times more productivity in any place where systems administrators hack.

Form factors converging
To deliver platforms that embrace the future instead of racing to catch up, Shuttleworth called for an increased focus on researching, designing, and refining advanced technologies that address the imminent convergence of all form factors.

“Soon, the computer in your pocket will be the only computer you need,” he said. “The lines are going to intersect, and we have to be ready for that transition.”