Mark Shuttleworth will step down as Canonical's CEO in March of 2010 but his commitment to the Ubuntu Linux project is expected to remain strong.
Shuttleworth will continue to be active on the Ubuntu Community Council and the Ubuntu Technical Board and will focus his attentions on the Linux distribution's development, partnerships and customers.
Effective March 1, Jane Silber, currently COO of Canonical, will become CEO of Canonical. Canonical, based in Europe, is the commercial arm of the Ubuntu project. Silber has been with the company for five years and has helped establish and manage Ubuntu One, OEM Services, Corporate Services, Marketing, Finance, Legal and other roles. She started her career as a software developer and before coming to Europe for an MBA at Oxford she served as a vice president at General Dynamics.
Shuttleworth and Silber aim to establish a strong commercial industry for Ubuntu and a separate open source community. "One thing this move will bring about is a clearer separation of the role of CEO of Canonical and the leader of the Ubuntu community," said Silber. "It will be two different people now, which I think will be helpful in both achieving their joint and individual goals more quickly."
Shuttleworth will be the technical guru, much the way Linus Torvalds runs the Linux kernel and others run the Red Hat and Novell commercial distributors of the Linux operating system. He will continue to serve at Canonical but only in a technical capacity, he noted.
"I will focus on my passions of product design and development. I want Ubuntu to succeed as the open platform of choice for almost all use types whether on netbook, notebook, desktop, server, embedded device or wherever people compute," Shuttleworth wrote on his blog today. "That is a large undertaking and being able to focus on that, thanks to Jane, is a great privilege. I will also spend more time talking to and visiting partners and customers about what they demand from an open platform and feeding that back into the product through the community and Canonical."
Canonical was founded in South Africa in 2004.