Give major Linux company Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth credit for chutzpah. In the Ubuntu bug-tracking system, LaunchPad, he just announced that bug number one "is now closed." The bug, which dates from Ubuntu's first days in 2004, was: "Microsoft has a majority market share."
While Ubuntu has been part of the various factors that have cut Windows down to size, Shuttleworth largely credits the growth of smartphones and tablets for Windows' comeuppance. "Personal computing today is a broader proposition than it was in 2004: phones, tablets, wearables and other devices are all part of the mix for our digital lives. From a competitive perspective, that broader market has healthy competition, with iOS and Android representing a meaningful share."
He's not the only one who's noticed that Windows and Intel (Wintel) are no longer calling the shots in computing. Mary Meeker, former superstar Wall Street analys, and now a well-respected venture capitalist, shows in her latest Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' 2013 Internet Trends report that Apple iOS and Android now has the lion's share of computing devices with 65 percent running one of these operating systems over Windows' 35 percent.
True, Shuttleworth continued, "Android may not be my or your first choice of Linux, but it is without doubt an open source platform that offers both practical and economic benefits to users and industry." Considering that Canonical is positioning Ubuntu to be an Android rival in smartphones and tablets, it's an interesting comment.
Perhaps even more interesting is that Shuttleworth lets go so easily of the old Linux vs. Windows fan-boy fight. Sure, bug number one, which set Windows as Ubuntu's top enemy, "served for many as a sort of declaration of intent. But it's better for us to focus our intent on excellence in our own right, rather than our impact on someone else's product."
Indeed, after noting Ubuntu's cloud efforts, Shuttleworth wrote, "the Microsoft IAAS [Infrastructure as a Service] team are both technically excellent and very focused on having ALL OS's including Linux guests like Ubuntu run extremely well on Azure, making them a pleasure to work with. Perhaps the market shift has played a role in that. Circumstances have changed, institutions have adapted, so should we."
Yes, you read that right. Shuttleworth, a top business Linux leader, praised Microsoft for its support of Linux. Things have changed!