Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical - the company behind popular Linux distribution Ubuntu - has announced that he is to step down from his role as chief executive officer from March 2010.
Shuttleworth announced the move in a press conference yesterday, claiming that the move would enable him to better focus on individual projects within the Ubuntu umbrella - including Canonical's newly-launched UbuntuOne cloud computing offering, which made its first appearance in Ubuntu 9.10 'Karmic Koala.'
In a prepared speech, Shuttleworth stated that "Ubuntu remains my primary focus
," and that he is still dedicated to seeing "Ubuntu succeed as the open platform of choice for almost all use types whether on netbook, notebook, desktop, server, embedded device, or wherever people compute
" - a goal which it is his "great privilege
" to focus on now the CEO role is no longer his.
Shuttleworth is to be replaced at the helm by current chief operating officer Jane Silber who Shuttleworth describes as having "shared the leadership of Canonical
" over the past few years.
Silber described herself as "excited about the role, energised by the opportunities in front of us, and humbled by the collection of amazing and talented individuals in Canonical and the Ubuntu community,
" and reassured Shuttleworth's fans that "Mark will continue to play a major role in Canonical.
Perhaps the biggest change for Canonical - and, by extension, the Ubuntu project - is that the head of the community which has built up around the increasingly popular Linux distribution is now no longer the CEO of the corporate entity behind it - something which Silber claims will be "helpful in both [the community and Canonical] achieving their joint and individual goals more quickly.
The move shouldn't affect the release of Ubuntu 10.04 'Lucid Lynx', the next long-term support release of the distribution which is due in April next year.
Are you surprised to see Canonical's founder replaced as CEO, or is it a smart move that gives him more time and freedom to exercise his not inconsiderable creative energies? Share your thoughts over in the forums