Live chat Just as the internet was becoming reality for most of us, Mark Shuttleworth sold his first technology venture - the second largest provider of digital certification, Thawte - to VeriSign for $575m. It was 1999 and he was 26 years old.
Next, Shuttleworth paid the Russians $20m to become the first African in space - he flew aboard a Soyuz to visit the International Space Station (ISS). He also founded HBD Venture Capital and The Shuttleworth Foundation.
His second technology act was Linux. Shuttleworth created the Ubuntu Linux distro based on a Debian fork, and founded Canonical. The vision was a Linux for humans, not the usual bit twiddlers favoured by the Red Hats and SuSEs of this world. He was now 31.
Eight years later, Ubuntu's grown fast - especially among devs. Canonical claims Ubuntu has 20 million users and will ship on the equivalent of five per cent of the world's PCs.
Ubuntu is now evolving as Africa's cosmonaut drives the distro down a path of Apple-like design, natural-language input, and ARM-based computing in a Shuttleworthian mission to give the world a viable Linux alternative to Apple and Microsoft. This ain't the year of the Linux desktop anymore.
What's next for Ubuntu and where is Shuttleworth taking the distro? Find out in person by joining your fellow Reg readers and software editor Gavin Clarke for an interactive LiveChat with him on Tuesday, July 3 at 3pm BST.
We'll be talking:
- The present state and future direction of Ubuntu
- Why Ubuntu 11.04 and 12.04 are really significant (Unity, HUD, ARM)
- Denting Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad
- Ubuntu on TVs and on Android smart phones
- (Yes!) space, space spaaace ...
Join the discussion below. You can register before the Live Chat for free, and receive an email reminder before we go live. ®