Tuesday, December 21, 2010

History of Ubuntu - The Warthogs

There has been no lack of projects attempting to wrap GNU, Linux, and other pieces of free and open source software into a neat, workable, and user-friendly package. Mark Shuttleworth, like many other people, believed that the philosophical and pragmatic benefits offered by free software put it on a course for widespread success. While each had its strengths, none of the offerings were particularly impressive as a whole. Something was missing from each of them. Shuttleworth saw this as an opportunity. If someone could build the great free software distribution that helped push GNU/Linux into the mainstream, he would come to occupy a position of strategic importance.

Shuttleworth, like many other technically inclined people, was a huge fan of the Debian project (discussed in depth later in this chapter). However, many things about Debian did not fit with Shuttleworth’s vision of an ideal OS. For a period of time, Shuttleworth considered the possibility of running for Debian project leader as a means of reforming the Debian project from within. With time, though, it became clear that the best way to bring GNU/Linux to the mainstream would not be from within the Debian project—which in many situations had very good reasons for being the way it was. Instead, Shuttleworth would create a new project that worked in symbiosis with Debian to build a new, better GNU/Linux system.

To kick off this project, Shuttleworth invited a dozen or so free and open source software developers he knew and respected to his flat in London in April 2004. It was in this meeting (alluded to in the first paragraphs of this introduction) that the groundwork for the Ubuntu project was laid. By that point, many of those involved were excited about the possibility of the project. During this meeting, the members of the team—which would in time grow into the core Ubuntu team—brainstormed a large list of the things that they would want to see in their ideal OS. The list is now a familiar list of features to most Ubuntu users. Many of these traits are covered in more depth later in this chapter. The group wanted

» Predictable and frequent release cycles

» A strong focus on localization and accessibility

» A strong focus on ease of use and user-friendliness on the desktop

» A strong focus on Python as the single programming language through which the entire system could be built and expanded

» A community-driven approach that worked with existing free software projects and a method by which the groups could give back as they went along—not just at the time of release

» A new set of tools designed around the process of building distributions that allowed developers to work within an ecosystem of different projects and that allowed users to give back in whatever way they could

There was consensus among the group that actions speak louder than words, so there were no public announcements or press releases. Instead, the group set a deadline for itself—six short months in the future. Shuttleworth agreed to finance the work and pay the developers full-time salaries to work on the project. After six months, they would both announce their project and reveal the first product of their work. They made a list of goals they wanted to achieve by the deadline, and the individuals present took on tasks. Collectively, they called themselves the Warthogs.

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