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Mark Shuttleworth: Nothing That Was Previously Public Will Be “Taken Private” [Exclusive]

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It was a busy and exciting day for Ubuntu community today with the release of 12.10. However, there were some ruffled feathers due to a blog post of Mark Shuttleworth. We approached Shuttleworth for clarification.

Swapnil: The popularity of Ubuntu has it’s own price and sometime that also creates confusion. As with Amazon lens people did not take notice that it was “Beta”. It was meant for reviews, improvement by beta testers and not wider criticism by ‘users’. So how much has that episode had to do with this decision? What was the sole reason for this change – how the media/public reacts to such changes at a very early stage when it is still going through development or something else?

Shuttleworth: Being high profile means being judged publicly, which is fine. In this case, the commentary was clearly a misjudgement, which was a pity. The sole reason for this change was that I felt that we have many members of the community that I would be very happy to work with on some of the features that will be the highlights of the release.

In the past, we have developed many items as prototypes before deciding to go public with them. In part, that’s because folk assume that every idea will bear fruit. If we talked about doing something, then decided not to do it, people would say we let them down. So we work on some things till we are sure we want to do them. The HUD, for example, was revealed and got a lot of positive coverage, and is very popular with users.

Swapnil: What does it actually mean:
a – Now some critical development (which was previously public) will be done only with select community members?
b – A lot of development that was done internally by Canonical employees will now be open to a select community members for review and contribution?

Shuttleworth: The latter. On some projects that we are still not sure about, but want to explore quietly, we will invite members of the community to participate. Nothing that was previously public will be “taken private”. Stuff that was previously private, may now happen with community members quietly involved.

Swapnil: What impact will it have on the overall Ubuntu development? As from what I see is – all that matters are those who actually work on the projects and not how much it is discussed in public.

Shuttleworth: If you’ve been to UDS, you know it is a huge, public discussion of many things that we want to get done. That is not changing in the slightest.

Swapnil: How different is it from Red Hat or SUSE model?

Shuttleworth: Both companies also work on private projects. As far as I know, they do not invite members of the community to consult on those projects. So I think we’re offering more openness, which is a good thing, and it’s ironic that the headline from TechCrunch managed to get it exactly wrong.

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