Shuttleworth: Linux developers should "shut the f**k up"

Canonical chief executive Mark Shuttleworth believes open-source OSes needs to pretty up if they're to challenge Windows

Stuart Turton
25 Sep 2009

Mark Shuttleworth believes open-source developers need to "shut the f**k up" if Linux is ever to seriously challenge on the desktop.

Shuttleworth was speaking at the LinuxCon conference on the eternal topic of whether Linux-based operating systems will ever find traction in a market dominated by proprietary software such as Windows.

While many commentators have written off the open-source challenge, Shuttleworth was typically bullish.

"We definitely shouldn't give up the desktop. This is one of the most exciting years for the desktop in living memory," Shuttleworth said, citing the emergence of Moblin and Google's Chrome OS as potential flag bearers.

If we can't make design cool in free software we won't take first prize

However, he went on to argue that if Linux is to broaden its appeal then more focus needs to be placed on the user interface - a significant area of interest for Canonical-sponsored Ubuntu, which has a user experience team dedicated to discovering how people interact with its software.

It was an approach, he argued, that needed to be adopted by more open-source developers. "If the developer is in the room, they have to say nothing. It's the shut the f**k up protocol. You sit and watch someone struggle with the software that you've so lovingly produced."

"If we can't figure out how to bring these two communities together in a powerful way, I don't think we'll achieve the dream," Shuttleworth said. "If we can't make design cool in free software we won't take first prize."

It's a theory Shuttleworth hopes to back up with Karmic Koala, which is set to receive a visual revamp before its launch on 29 October.

It's been a busy week for the Canonical chief executive, who also appeared at IDF to unveil an Ubuntu Remix based on the Moblin core.

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