Monday, December 20, 2010

History of Ubuntu - Mark Shuttleworth

No history of Ubuntu can call itself complete without a history of Mark Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth is, undeniably, the most visible and important person in Ubuntu. More important from the point of view of history, Shuttleworth is also the originator and initiator of the project—he made the snowball that would eventually roll on and grow to become the Ubuntu project. Shuttleworth was born in 1973 in Welkom, Free State, in South Africa. He attended Diocesan College and obtained a business science degree in finance and information systems at the University of Cape Town. During this period, he was an avid computer hobbyist and became involved with the free and open source software community. He was at least marginally involved in both the Apache project and the Debian project and was the first person to upload the Apache Web server, perhaps the single most important piece of server software on GNU/Linux platforms, into the Debian project’s archives.

Seeing an opportunity in the early days of the Web, Shuttleworth founded a certificate authority and Internet security company called Thawte in his garage. Over the course of several years, he built Thawte into the second largest certificate authority on the Internet, trailing only the security behemoth VeriSign. Throughout this period, Thawte’s products and services were built and served almost entirely from free and open source software. In December 1999, Shuttleworth sold Thawte to VeriSign for an undisclosed amount that reached into the hundreds of millions in U.S. dollars.

With his fortune made at a young age, Shuttleworth might have enjoyed a life of leisure—and probably considered it. Instead, he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. After paying approximately US$20 million to the Russian space program and devoting nearly a year to preparation, including learning Russian and spending seven months training in Star City, Russia, Shuttleworth realized his dream as a civilian cosmonaut aboard the Russian Soyuz TM-34 mission. On this mission, Shuttleworth spent two days on the Soyuz rocket and eight days on the International Space Station, where he participated in experiments related to AIDS and genome research. In early May 2002, Shuttleworth returned to Earth.

In addition to space exploration and a slightly less impressive jaunt to Antarctica, Shuttleworth has played an active role as both a philanthropist and a venture capitalist. In 2001, Shuttleworth founded The Shuttleworth Foundation (TSF)—a nonprofit organization based in South Africa. The foundation was chartered to fund, develop, and drive social innovation in the field of education. Of course, the means by which TSF attempts to achieve these goals frequently involves free software. Through these projects, the organization has been one of the most visible proponents of free and open source software in South Africa and even the world. In the venture capital area, Shuttleworth worked to foster research, development, and entrepreneurship in South Africa with strategic injections of cash into start-ups through a new venture capital firm called HBD, an acronym for “Here Be Dragons.” During this period, Shuttleworth was busy brainstorming his next big project—the project that would eventually become Ubuntu.

Source of Information :  Prentice Hall The official Ubuntu Book 5th Edition 2010
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