Mark Shuttleworth is rich enough to cause some havoc in the feel-good Linux community. In January 2000, at the peak of the dot-com bubble, Shuttleworth sold his South African security software firm, Thawte, to VeriSign for $700 million in stock. Shuttleworth cashed out almost immediately, walking away with the entire purchase price, just as VeriSign’s stock began its rapid descent. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Life has been kind to me,Ã¢â‚¬? he says.
It’s all about umuntu ngumuntu ngabuntu.
So who uses this open source software anyhow, except Your Group of Web AddiCT(s); ?
Support fees for Ubuntu (translation: Ã¢â‚¬Å“humanity to othersÃ¢â‚¬? in a South African Bantu language) are comparable to Red HatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and NovellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, but theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re completely voluntary. Some of Google‘s (decided on a location for Google South Africa offices yet?) developers use Ubuntu, for instance, but the company doesn’t pay because it services its own machines. Other users might pay only to support those machines they deem crucial to operations.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Deutsche Bank could deploy 10,000 Ubuntu servers, and they would not have to pay us anything,Ã¢â‚¬? says Shuttleworth in a hypothetical example. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But my guess is for 1,000 of those servers, they would want a 24-by-7 support contract.Ã¢â‚¬?
Let’s be the change we wish to see. Read the Forbes Article, Really Free Software here.