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IT's Innovation Opportunity: Ubuntu Edge

My front-row seat in the internal (to companies) Information Technology (IT) world provides an interesting vantage point, one that is at times disappointing. In the past few years, internal IT has struggled to maintain its relevance in the face of cheaper (and better) cloud-based service providers armed with GPL'd software. Internal IT's cost structures are out of whack, and IT executives know it. The solutions they have built on proprietary products sold by monopolists are brittle and increasingly expensive. The solutions they have built on internally written closed source comes with a huge technical debt, and that debt is now due.

So what's an internal IT executive to do? Internal IT has trapped itself in a death spiral and now must find a way out, or simply disappear. The business leaders they support aren't dumb and they aren't impressed. A CIO's admission of their past (and present) mistakes would amount to political suicide.

Here's the path forward:


Some IT executives understand this, or at least claim to. Here are some quotes from the lips of IT executives I've met along my journey.

"We are innovating."
"We are building a culture of innovation."
"We are delivering value to the business through innovation."
"We will demonstrate industry leadership through innovation."

Sounds good so far. But here's the problem: They aren't. The words are simply words on a presentation deck. The methods remain the same, or in some cases even get worse; more proprietary nonsense, more lock-in, more double-speak. Millions of dollars spent on no outcome.

Are you an IT executive? Are you saying similar things yet not demonstrating anything innovative? Here's Randall's advice, free of charge: You are in clear and present career danger. Your employees aren't dumb, and neither are your business stakeholders. It's time to "Walk the talk."

If you're an IT executive and looking for a really quick way to demonstrate your commitment to innovation, and a way to steer clear of this trap, then join the most innovative technology project on the planet: Ubuntu Edge. That's right. Ubuntu Edge!

When you join the Ubuntu Edge project you are helping to shape a technology future that is inclusive, and a future that will serve your business leaders well by leveraging the power of crowds of really smart people, without all that nasty lock-in. You will also be showing your employees that they can work on something fun and empowering.

Here's the link to get involved:

Any questions?

This article was partially inspired by Bloomberg's recent announcement of financial support for Ubuntu Edge. No CIO's were harmed in the making of this article. Names have been omitted to protect the careers of those quoted.

Ubuntu Gets Two More "P's": Lucky 7!

"Ubuntu is not just software."

In an earlier post, I introduced you to the Five "P's" of Ubuntu. After a lively quiz I hosted at Ubuntu Vancouver's "Cup of Ubuntu" event this past Saturday I learned that there are actually
two more P's that I hadn't thought of.

Behold Ubuntu's Seven P's:

Ubuntu is a:


that inspires


to participate in a massive collaborative


that creates a rich and solid


that supports useful and freedom-respecting


that the whole world can enjoy. This is creating a global


and a new technology


Thanks UVLC!

Would You Buy a T-Shirt If It Would Help Change the World?


Every smart phone on the market sucks. Yes, every single one of them; even the one in your pocket!

The Ubuntu Edge campaign is now offering fantabulous t-shirts as a perk for supporting the project. I know what you're thinking: "So what Randall?"

Well, here's the deal: This presents an opportunity for almost everyone reading this post to show their support for the project, the goal, and the dream of a future where we control our phones and not vice-versa. This is like voting for a future we want to see.

"But wait, Randall, I like the present. I got the apps. I like the fruit. All my friends think I'm cool. My robot that pretends to be free is all I need. Why do you insist on forcing this future thing on me?"

Really? Do you have a "smart" phone? When was the last time you talked to a developer about its features? Do you have any say whatsoever in it's design and functionality? Do you enjoy all the "carrier-ware" that your favourite phone company glues onto your phone OS? Do you like lock-in? DRM? Mansions in Los Altos Hills? Do you admire those who withhold the best technology from you? Do you like record profits? Do you like companies that hoard more cash than the entire purses of some nations? Do you own a yacht? Do you think you are free? I don't.

It's time to shake things up a bit.

Let's change the current sad state of affairs in the mobile phone industry, and by extension the tech industry. Let's get a nifty t-shirt (or even a phone) in the process.

I hope you will join me in supporting Ubuntu Edge. "Be the change you want to see in the world."

Click here:

Ubuntu Edge: a.k.a. The Fruit Slicer! **

I must admit, I was *startled* by the announcement of Ubuntu Edge today. Bold. Disruptive. BRILLIANT!

Please join me in thanking Mark, Jane, Jono, Rick, Alan, Jorge, Robbie, Daniel, Dave, Nicholas and all of the fine folks at Canonical and "not at Canonical" for all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that have gone into getting Ubuntu this far. A move like this takes guts.

With this in place, Ubuntu is poised to do to the phone industry what it has done to the PC industry. Or, in other words:

"Let's slice some fruit and have a great time!""Let's slice some fruit and have a great time!"

Do you want to help? Consider contributing your money here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ubuntu-edge?c=home

Don't have the funds right now? Consider getting involved in helping design and build the phone by joining the Ubuntu Phone Team's mailing list:

But talk is cheap. I contributed ideas, bug reports, and money. Did you?

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Image http://www.flickr.com/photos/malabooboo/ (CC BY-NC 2.0)
** My son came up with the "Fruit Slicer" title. How neat is that!?

Did you know that "Ubuntu is not just software?" ;)

It's Really Dead. Get Over It.

There's been some chatter on the interwebs, especially on a popular Ubuntu software-only news site, started evidently by that guy that wants Mono everywhere saying something to the effect that the "Linux Desktop is Dead".

He's right. It's dead. Put it in a coffin. Fill it with lead. Nail it shut. Head over to Marianas Trench (1). Drop it to the bottom of the sea. Fill the trench with rock.

The sooner we all end kernel fixation, the sooner Ubuntu will cross the chasm. Don't be that guy living in the 90's and lamenting about kernels on the desktop. Kernels don't live on desktops. Neither do Colonels.

Echoing Michael Hall's post (with updated terminology):

As long as there is a demand for a "Libre Desktop" OS, there will be people creating it. And right now, those people are amassing around the project that is called Ubuntu, creating something that millions and millions of people enjoy every day.

Now, back to building Ubuntu!

(1) Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world's oceans. It is also a a Canadian pop rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia.
(2) The legend of the Challenged Chicken: http://blog.sighworld.com/2011/10/01/ubuntu-challenged-chicken/

Diaspora* Is Now Open, and Community Driven!

Remember when the internet was free? Hint: Parts of it still are.

Yesterday, the project's founder announced that Diaspora* is now a community project and is wide open for everyone. No invites necessary. Just sign up!

In the words of Daniel Grippi:

"Today, the network has grown into thousands of people using our software in hundreds of installations across the web. There are hundreds of pods that have been created by community members, and it has become one of the biggest Github projects to date. It has been translated to almost fifty languages, with hundreds of developers worldwide contributing back to the project."

"Diaspora has grown into something more than just a project four guys started in their office at school. It is bigger than any one of us, the money we raised, or the code we have written. It has developed into something that people all over the world care about and are inspired by."

"Today, we are giving control of Diaspora to the community."

"As a Free Software social project, we have an obligation to take this project further, for the good of the community that revolves around it."

"This is a new opportunity for Diaspora to grow further than ever before. We can’t wait to see what we can do together."

Once you join, be sure to follow #ubuntu.

And how about this for an idea?

I think Wayne's onto something. With all the nifty web integration that will be in 12.10 we have a golden opportunity to lead by example. The world's most popular freedom-centric OS meets the world's most popular freedom-centric social network. Anyone have the skills to make this happen?

See you there.


Apologies in advance if you hold Facebook stock. ;)

Quincy: What's in a Name?

The name Quincy is often associated with "fifth" as in "fifth-born". But, in our Quincy's case, it refers to his five quantal energy states.

Until now we've only seen Quincy in his base (or ground) state. This is how he looks when he's feeling neutral and relaxed.

Can you guess Quincy's other quantal states? Click on Quincy's photo and join the game...

Follow Quincy on D* and Enjoy Freedom at the Same Time

Crashing social faceworking stocks got you down?

Tired of the tumbleweeds on the site from that "large number company in Mountain View"?

Quincy's got your cure right here:


A growing and thriving Ubuntu contributor and enthusiast community awaits! A community made better by you.

Quincy hopes you'll give it a try.

Join something exciting. Chirp!Join something exciting. Chirp!

UDS Mark Shuttleworth Interview

The awesome Jason Gerard DeRose interviewed Mark Shuttleworth at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (Quantal Quetzal edition) in Oakland California on Friday.

Our mascot Quincy (the most famous Quetzal) invites you to click the video below and watch Mark talk about software instrumentation, developer ultrabooks, high density ARM servers, and his favourite part of UDS-Q.

Thanks for putting this together, Jason. And extra points for not even flinching a bit when Quincy dropped in. ;)


Reminder: UDS-Q has ended and now I am free to fly! Chirp!

UDS Plenary, with Jono

My buddy Jono presented at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (Quantal Quetzal edition) in Oakland California on Tuesday.

Our mascot Quincy (the most famous Quetzal) invites you to click the video below and watch Jono introduce Ubuntu Accomplishments and recount his personal journey from idea conception through to fully functional code. Yes, "Ubuntu development is so easy that even Jono can do it!"

Thanks for an inspiring talk, Jono.


Reminder: Take more photos at UDS-Q! Chirp!

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