Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

Summary: The most radical change in Ubuntu's history done--the Unity release--Canonical's CTO, Matt Zimmerman, is leaving the company.

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Only a few weeks after Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's biggest change ever-the release of the Unity-based Ubuntu 11.04 Linux--the company's CTO, Matt Zimmerman is leaving the company.

In a blog posting, Zimmerman wrote, "I joined Canonical in June of 2004 as a member of the founding team, before we even had a name for the company. In June 2011, after just over seven years as Ubuntu CTO, I will be leaving Canonical in search of new challenges."

Zimmerman is leaving on good terms. Indeed, he wrote, "I intend to remain involved in the Ubuntu community, retaining my elected position on the governing Technical Board, and perhaps to make the occasional technical contribution as a volunteer." Gerry Carr, Canonical's product manager, told me, that "We wish him all the best. Personally and professionally he has been inspirational for Ubuntu and for all of us."

Zimmerman added, "It has been my privilege to have played a part in creating Ubuntu and Canonical. It has been a pleasure to work with so many talented, dedicated and fun people over the years. I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together: bringing free software to people, places and organizations which have derived so much benefit from it."

He seems to have every faith that Ubuntu will continue to do well in the future. "The Ubuntu engineering organization, which we call Platform, is a highly capable and motivated team, the best I've ever worked with in my career. Building and leading this team has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I have every confidence in their ability to support Canonical's mission in the years to come, and I'm excited to see how they will surprise me in the future."

So why is he leaving? Zimmerman wrote, "Seven years on, the time is right for me to move on from this role, where I enjoy so much support from my colleagues, and take a risk on something new. I will take with me many fond memories, from all-night global hacking sessions driving toward a ship date, to casual singing and playing music at our many face-to-face events."

In fact, Zimmerman will be staying with the Canonical through next week's Ubuntu Developer Summit, in Budapest where he looks "forward to celebrating with friends and colleagues, and beginning the transition to this new role in the project."

Ubuntu will miss his technical leadership. In Ubuntu's early days, Ubuntu was sometimes dismissed as being little more than just another Debian Linux clone. Over time, though, Ubuntu became the most popular end-user Linux of all, and started introducing its own new technologies. The latest of these, the radical shift to the Unity desktop interface, represents desktop Linux's biggest effort yet to reach a mass audience. All of this might have been done without Zimmerman, but it wouldn't have been done as well or as quickly. Good luck to you Matt at wherever your next job might be.

Related Stories:

Ubuntu 11.04: The ultimate educational desktop?

Shuttleworth on Ubuntu 11.04 Linux & Unity

What you need to know about the new Ubuntu

Ubuntu Linux 11.04's Target Audience: Casual Windows Users

The new Ubuntu Desktop: Unity

Topics: Software, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

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32 comments
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  • I hear Bill Gates isn't working in tech ...

    He was CTO at Microsoft; maybe he'd be interested in a new challenge? ...
    Rick_R
    • I'll use your typical response here

      @Rick_R
      [i]More rats leaving a sinking ship![/i]

      LOL! :)
      Bill Pharaoh
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

    Big change.... bigger mistake? I finally had to give up on Ubuntu. Unity desktop was the final straw.
    whitehawk24
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

      @whitehawk24 <br>Why is that?<br>Was it because you were an advanced user which Unity was not directed to since they are looking at a broader market or because you are a non-advanced user that found that this 1st release was not yet perfect for non-advanced users, as 1st releases seldom are?
      Viva la crank dodo
      • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

        @Viva la crank dodo
        Well said.
        root12
      • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

        @Viva la crank dodo

        can I recommend some java before going off on others? It so steadies those fragile nerves you know...
        clever_boy
      • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

        @clever_boy<br>Did I come across as "going off"? My apologies. My point was simply that we can't get upset at a product not suiting us when in reality we are not its target market. It's kind of like the general populace complaining that luxury car ads are nonsense because they can't afford them while rich people complain that it is a waste of time that there should be non-luxury car commercials on TV because they would not buy those. Products and marketing are not and could not be targeted to everyone, so it is pointless to complain when it turns out we are not the target market. UBUNTU has many features some advanced users liked, but the advanced users should not forget they were not the target market to begin with. That market has many options. If on the other hand the complaint is that a new entrant is not as stable or feature rich as an established product, I understand not using it, but there should not be any shock over it.
        But perhaps there is another reason why Unity was the last straw. That was why I asked.
        Viva la crank dodo
      • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

        @Viva la crank dodo I'm new to Linux and I actually like it. It kind of reminds me of some cool Mac UI features.
        findsomecommonground
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

      @whitehawk24 Unity is terrible
      Jimster480
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

    The Unity thing caused me to part company with Ubuntu as well. Linux is fragmented enough already. Can't we learn anything from the history of UNIX?
    km4hr@...
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

      @km4hr@...
      Ubuntu is the only Linux distro that has vision. Every other distro is doing the same old.
      root12
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

    Broader market?

    You mean more than 1?

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=linux+desktop&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=ubuntu&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=linux&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all
    kyleoster
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

    Unity is the correct move. For a first release of Unity it is still good, and I prefer it, knowing that this is going improve.
    Matt did a good job and I wish him well. Actually these original people have been in there a long time and I have been watiing for people leave. It just so happens that it comes at a time when Ubuntu is making the biggest changes.
    The Linux world abhor change, and when people do they get attacked. It is a difficult area for someone with vision and wants to shake things up, but it is needed to get Linux out to the masses and just what Linux needs and is more than capable of. One has to have a thick skin to do this in the Linux world.
    If you want Linux only for the enterprise and for niche users that's good for you, but I want Linux for the average person in place of Microsoft Windows. This is only going to happen with a distro that has vision.
    root12
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

      @root12
      There are core infrastructure components that need to be standardized for desktop Linux to succeed in the business world, that is unless you think Ubuntu will become the only Linux distro in the future. I seriously doubt that. A major drawback to widespread use of linux is non-standardization. How can software vendors adapt their products to linux when they can't depend on certain key components being there? It's like train tracks. What if one train company decided to change the width of the rails. It would create major chaos. Standardization is one of the major reasons that windows is so successful. It's ok ok for linux to be adaptable, open, free, and all that stuff. But there also needs to a linux desktop standard that all distro's can comform to. Otherwise Linux is a niche OS forever.
      km4hr@...
      • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

        @km4hr@... Agreed!
        david08048
      • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

        @km4hr@... Well said. As a new Linux user, The Unity interface and all the good stuff I've been hearing about Ubuntu in general is what caused me to wipe Windows off my laptop for good. I've been using a MSFT OS since the late 80s and was considering Mac. Once I installed Compiz I was hooked. My Ubuntu laptop does everything I need. I haven't had to boot up my old Win7 PC since May 1st.
        findsomecommonground
      • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

        @km4hr@... There is, it's called the Linux Standards Base. http://www.linuxfoundation.org/collaborate/workgroups/lsb

        It provides a standard that allows for easier development and a good base. Not every distro meets the LSB standard, but a significant portion do.
        srkelley5
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

    I don't get all the hate for Unity. Canonical came out with something different, maybe actually innovative, and everyone shits a brick. Granted, its still not fully baked, but I expect quite a bit of improvement to happen.<br><br>It's ok to not like it, no one is telling you that you have to use it either. Move on to another distro. There are so many to choose from....
    bigpook
    • It's change

      A lot of people just want to stick with Gnome 2.x style UI. I don't understand why, though.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux, CTO leaves

      @bigpook I don't get it either. Many of the complainers will shout about choice and freedom elsewhere. Theres absolutely nothing stopping them from installing another desktop environment or put one together piecemeal for themselves. Must everyones elses freedom be infringed upon for them? It's only a default DE, open a terminal, sudo apt-get install gnome-core, sude apt-get install enlightenment. kde, xfce, lxde, etc. Go the #! route and just use fluxbox. sudo apt-get remove unity. There's no reason to switch to another distro because you have one added step for changing the DE.

      You (complainers) change everything else don't you? Even if you don't, people that use the other environments have had to do for the past seven years. It's so simple, you don't even have to use the terminal, just go into the app center. Add another source if need be. Install apt and use that. There are so many ways to change things.

      I'd rather complain about something else silly that more people can get behind. Like why WINE isn't included by default? I would love it if Canonical could include it or maintain a package with a different gui to make things simpler for noobies that doesn't remove an option for advanced configuration. Keep an up-to-date database with working configurations for programs to help improve the experience. I know of winetricks and play-on linux, but to have an app handled by OS devs with a solid focus would be wonderful. A Windows help center like program that updates dynamically based upon know user issues (not OS issues) would be a great way to help retain users. How about adding more buttons that automate a few of the simpler tasks that the OS itself recommends users type into a terminal? Keep moving forward Canonical. Keep moving forward!

      Yes, some of that will make it a bit more like Windows, but you'd still have the choice to do things your way. The average user doesn't care about the same things that we do nor at the same level that we do. If worse comes to work, compile the kernel, utilities and everything else yourself and be done. Maintain it yourself.
      srkelley5