Five Years At Canonical

Yesterday was my five year anniversary at Canonical. I know people tend to get pretty gushy on anniversaries, so I am going to keep this as short as possible.

When I joined Canonical life was quite different to how it is now. I was living in the UK, had more hair, Canonical was a small company with an office the size of my current living room, it had the fairly singular focus at the time of shipping an integrated Free Software desktop, and the community team comprised of just myself. Today I am now married and living in the USA, have less hair, have a team of four (soon to become five), and Canonical has grown extensively, diversified, and expanded it’s operations.

Over the last five years there has been tremendous change and opportunity in both Canonical and Ubuntu. From a company perspective, this growth has brought challenges surrounding how we scale our operations up while still maintaining our core values, and bringing a phenomenal range of talent to the company. In particular I have been delighted to see the contributions of the Design Team and the Desktop Engineering team who have entered a tight-knit engineering culture and helped us to think differently and innovate across our products and how we represent ourselves in professional and consumer environments.

From an Ubuntu perspective, we have been doing what I always dreamed of when I first got involved in Open Source – breaking down the barriers to bringing Free Software to everyone. Back when I joined Canonical, the game was more straight-forward; keep on integrating great upstream software into an Operating System that primarily meets the needs of Linux enthusiasts. Our vision has now expanded; while we certainly want to encompass the needs of Linux enthusiasts, we want the Ubuntu Desktop to also appeal to a wider consumer demographic and Ubuntu Server to appeal to a wider DevOps and cloud demographic too, and this has involved breaking down more and more complex barriers. Achieving this is not just a software engineering challenge, but a design, services, business, community, and product journey challenge.

There have been some tough times over the last few years in breaking down these barriers, and some folks have been critical of our decision-making, but I strongly believe the decisions we have made have been sound in charting a course for success and the intentions of my colleagues and myself continue to be sincere. While our strategy has adjusted, molded and reacted to change, our intentions of bringing freedom and opportunity to technology have been consistent and unwavering. Freedom of code and collaboration continues to be at the heart of what we do in Ubuntu, but I also believe the truest freedom we can bring is in making technology and the opportunities that technology presents available to all, not just to those who understand the devil in the detail.

While Canonical has grown and diversified, I am pleased to see the spirit, enthusiasm and values of Canonical have remained. The reason why I joined Canonical was because I felt it understood community and could provide an environment to enthuse and support community growth and also deliver success in bringing freedom in technology to everyone via Ubuntu. I still believe those values are strongly ingrained in the DNA of Canonical.

Over the years I have been excited about various decisions and features we have brought to fruition in Ubuntu, but in the history of my involvement in Ubuntu I have never been so excited about the opportunity that Ubuntu brings on the Client, Server and the Cloud. I believe we better understand the opportunity and the challenges that face us and we as a community have the capabilities to achieve great things and the confidence make complex and at times difficult decisions in the wider pursuit of bringing Ubuntu and software freedom and opportunities to everyone.

These are hugely exciting times, and I want to thank everyone in our community, my wonderful team, and my colleagues at Canonical for continuing to make the journey so worthwhile.

  • Joey-Elijah Sneddon

    Happy times! Congratulations Jono – and thanks for all the stellar work you do 

  • Benjamin Kerensa

    Congrats…. Hope you continue your excellent contributions at Canonical, Ubuntu Community and CLS for many more years!

  • Anonymous

    Happy birthday!

  • Florian G.

    Hoping for another 5 years, Jono. You do a brilliant job there !

  • Anonymous

    Many thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Ben!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Joey!

  • shogo

    Congrats Ubuntu is the best she is future keep good work

  • Raul Marius Zay

    Congratulations. Thanks to the wonderful work of  you all. I <3 Ubuntu and switched from Windows since 7.04 and never regretted it. :)

  • Mikayel Mkhitaryan

    Congratulations. I’m using Ubuntu and will use it forever. Thank you for the great job you have done and are going to do. I’m a big enthusiast of Free Software, and every day I’m volunteering in my town (Armenia / Vanadzor) by helping new Ubuntu-users, and propaganding of using Open Source software, especially Ubuntu, which is the best Linux ever. Thank you one more time. I am with you. I am proud of you

  • TJ Rosene

    I’ve been using Ubuntu since 5.10 and still loving it. Man, it just keeps getting better and better. 

  • Taxwork

    I too, am a Ubuntu user.  Have been for years.  And I know you can’t please all.  Some of the decisions I was not happy with.  But looking at the big picture, I am very happy with Ubuntu. 

  • Chris Coulson

    I guess you’ll be celebrating with beer in Orlando? :-)

  • saquib ahmed

    Congratulations. I’m from a remote part in India. I’m using Ubuntu from last 3 years and I really appreciate all the work that is done. This note is written on a P3 system. This oldie is still running just because of Linux. 

  • Anonymous

    How did you guess? :-)

  • Randall

    Congratulations Jono! Thank you for all you do for Ubuntu and we’re all hoping you’ll be doing it for many years to come :)

  • Nicholas Shiell

    Plz tell your team that we are all happy with the progress in Ubuntu (the OS, GUI apps and the community etc), There’s SO much more to do to ensure that more people can join in so keep doing what’s right even if it seems harder to pull off

  • Gougeman

    Ubuntu is and always will be the best distro…..

  • Pierre Equoy

    Congrats to you! And thanks for this article, it’s good to see that much excitement and hope in Open Source and the community around Canonical.

    Keep up the good work, and I’m waiting for an even more excited article in 2016! 😉

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations, glad you are enjoying what you are doing.  With Natty Unity, I left Ubuntu and have settled on a LXDE distribution.  Unity is not comfortable for me as a desktop environment.  I will take at look at 10.10 final but feel the real test will be with 12.04.  

  • Suraj_nayak

    Great work Jono :) Using ubuntu from the version 9.10 till date (11.04) and waiting for the greatest ever 11.10 :) Ubuntu is doing great in the field of User Interface these days. Its getting simpler and working out of the box :) highly secured when am online. And im very proud to introduce about Ubuntu to my friends. All feel happy to see the user interface so fine working even in so low hardware utilization(RAM).  Ubuntu is getting stable as its nearing the 12.04 LTS. 

    Keep going Jono :) v all love using GNU/Linux in Ubuntu :)

  • Duncan Murimi

    Congratulations, I love using Ubuntu,might not be perfect, but its statement of Human Triumph as a community.

  • Valorie Zimmerman

    Congratulations, Jono! My latest Kubuntu is the best desktop experience I’ve ever had, and that includes Windows, Mac and my first computer, a Coleco ADAM. :-)

    Working with you and your team on community issues has been great, and I’ve learned a lot. Best wishes for your continued success!