Article Source Community-cation
October 12, 2009, 10:35 am

We are all impressed and excited by the success of commercial Linux vendors. Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, Mandriva, Oracle, and a host of other Linux companies are making great strides in delivering performance and value to the enterprise marketplace.

But let’s face it, small- to medium-sized businessed are still underserved by Linux and free/open source software. This is a real concern, since SMBs could use the cost savings in licensing and stability more than any business group, particularly in these harsh economic environment. SMB owners try to save as much money as they can, just like enterprises. So why aren’t they buying open source in droves?

The problem has been a numbers game: targeting the enterprise is a lot easier than the SMBs. There are only an estimated 51,100 enterprise-level companies worldwide, based on 2004 US Bureau of Census data of companies. Because of their sheer size, they tend to be easy to find. It’s estimated that there are 25.3 million smaller businesses in the world. How many SMBs are within a five-mile radius of you right now? Even if you are in the suburbs, there’s a lot of home-based businesses in your neighborhood.

This has been noted before. In 2005, Samba guru John Terpstra wrote a detailed analysis about the challenges of bringing Linux to the SMB space. The numbers are a bit stale (though I used his methodology to update the gloabl numbers above), but the scope is basically the same: for every enterprise-level business in the world, there’s almost 500 SMBs–and that’s likely a conservative estimate, given the burgeoning economies in the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

So what has been done about this problem? We’ve seen some nods towards this channel from Novell and Red Hat, but the sheer challenge of creating such a broad sales channel to SMBs has held these and other vendors back while Microsoft continues to take advantage of its OEM relationships to essentially coast into the SMB space.

To sell to the more diverse SMB market, there were three primary ways to do it: direct, value-added resellers (VARs), and franchise arrangements. Emphasis on were, because now the cloud may allow on innovative Linux firm to quickly and painlessly integrate into SMBs’ IT infrastructure.

If you’ve had any interest in Linux for SMB platforms, then you’ve likely heard of ClarkConnect, a Red Hat-based server and gateway solution for SMBs that uses remote management and a strong array of FOSS tools to provide Web, print, file, and mail services for SMBs on a subscription-based model. But ClarkConnect is a name from the past: it’s been integrated with some CentOS tools and re-named ClearOS. More interestingly, it’s now being stewarded by an entity known as ClearFoundation.

ClearFoundation’s mission statement is pretty straightforward: “ClearFoundation is an Incorporated Society dedicated to the vision that every small organization and distributed IT environment on the globe deserves proper security, filtration, and management tools. Internet access is the great equalizer in economics, but each network requires security and management. ClearFoundation is dedicated to providing essential tools to everyone that might need it.”

The idea behind ClearOS is to capitalize on existing cloud services and the infrastructure to provide new specialized services, like ClearCenter, a software management and updating tool that provides a variety of products, new features, third-party software and, technical and platform services. It’s much like ClarkConnect’s toolset, except there’s a lot more use of cloud technology and ClearFoundation is dedicated to keeping ClearOS as open as possible to foster a broader network of partners and developers.

Given his passion for bringing Linux into the SMB space, it’s little surprise to see Terpstra at the helm of this group, as President of ClearFoundation. He’s tossing a lot of expertise into the ClearOS mix, both technical with his knowledge of Samba and other technologies and political with his sense of open-source savvy.

ClearOS has an excellent chance to finally provide the security, stability, and cost-savings of Linux and other FOSS software to the SMB space.

Article Source Community-cation
October 9, 2009, 6:23 am

It’s interesting what the same thing means to different people. We see it time and again in the Linux world, of course, as the myriad approaches to Linux have created different distros, desktop environments, applications… put something as malleable as Linux and open source software in front of a bunch of really talented people, and you get some really fantastic output.

I’m sure that’s what Cisco had in mind then they kicked off the “Think Inside the Box” content last fall. The company invited application developers to create Linux-based applications for the Cisco Application Extension Platform (AXP). The winner of the contest, announced this week, received US$50,000 and a chance to work on this cutting-edge routing technology. But given the big turnout for the contest, I’m sure Cisco’s counting themselves among the winners, too.

Here’s the short version of AXP: Cisco makes routers and network devices. AXP is an open module that is hosted on Cisco’s Integrated Services Router (ISR) and leverages Cisco’s Internetwork Operating System (IOS). External applications coded for the ISRs are actually written for AXP, which is a module that runs Linux certified by the Linux Standard Base and contains open APIs into which developers can tap.

Even shorter: developers can build and run apps out in the network itself, rather than on the “traditional” client or server.

For the past couple of months, I was one of the seven finalist judges who went over the entrants and chose the top three entries from a narrowed-down field of 10. And I mean narrowed: over 900 entrants submitted their ideas to the contest, which offered a US$100,000 prize purse. I felt a little bit like the odd man out on the distinguished panel: I had a distinct lack of “VP” of anything in my title and wasn’t an analyst. Still, Cisco had made the parameters to entrants crystal clear, so the criteria was straightforward.

Easier said than done. The common theme among the entries was not only to build a cool app, but find a strong business use for an ISR-based tool. The finalists all met this bar easily, so it became a matter of degrees to see which ones rose to the top. I am pleased to say that after the final round of judging (held while I was at LinuxCon), my top three were the same as the final winners.

Bernhard Beckmann’s Team BugsBernie from Germany won US$20,000 for their Integrated Surveillance System application. Basically, their app turns an IP phone into a silent microphone/monitor that tracks noise levels in the room. If their is too loud a noise (based on a configurable decibel level), a notification is sent where ever you want: a security company, the actual owner of the room, whomever. Oh, and try to pull the cord out of the phone, and the alarm goes off, too.

The Indian team Team Enhancers raked in US$30,000 for their Local Advertising Mesh Network Platform, which they abbreviated as LAMP, which for a Linux editor is wrong on a couple of levels. Grammar aside, Rajesh Kotagiri’s team impressed me because of all of the applicants they had the fastest direct-revenue path: essentially, it uses AXP as an ad server, sending out ads to any LCD display connected to the network. In their proposal, Kotagiri indicated that retail stores would be a great first market to deploy this app.

The top winner was Spain’s Team MADnetwork, led by David Perez. I have to give Team MADnetwork props for most creative video demo: to simulate the control of multiple building facilities (such as HVAC; lighting; plumbing; and presence, fire, flooding and smoke detectors), Perez and his team filmed a Rube-Goldberg-looking device with a fan, a sunlamp, a set of window blinds… well, you get the idea. But their idea was totally pro: remotely control different building systems within AXP, reducing the need for multiple control systems. By centralizing remote office system (like branches), companies will save enormous amounts of money, lower energy costs, and (my personal favorite) help save the planet.

Given the strengths of these finalists, I would say Cisco definitely got their money’s worth. And, like the creativity within the contest, people outside the contest are viewing its impact in different ways. Matt Asay sees it as Cisco’s debut as a major Linux software vendor. I won’t dispute that, but for me, the importance of this contest is that it demonstrates how commercial software vendors of any stripe are going to need to work if we truly are moving towards the cloud.

To me, AXP and the ISR platform is analogous to the broader notion of cloud computing, in that clouds are also (for now) vendor-controlled, and developing applications for them means you have to go through the vendor not only for access but sometimes for the tools. It’s hard to hack code on a phone or router, unless it’s open, and it’s hard to build on a cloud, because many of us don’t have a multi-rack datacenter upon which to build and test apps.

Cisco has led by example here by opening their code to the development community. They have kickstarted innovation onto a completely new platform that would have otherwise gone untouched by developers outside the Cisco ecosystem.

All vendors need to take note of what Cisco has done here. I don’t mean contests and prizes–open source is not a game show. But it is an opportunity for real innovation. If vendors in the cloud or any other new platform want that innovation on platforms that are not easily accessed, then opening hardware, development environments, emulators, and code is what it will really take to get innovation going.

Congrats to the Cisco winners and finalists. You did good, and hopefully you’re the start of something bigger in the commercial software arena: the drive to more open development and innovation.

Right after LinuxCon this year was the co-located Linux Plumbers Conference. This is not an official Linux Foundation event, per se, but we work closely with the organizers to help them any way we can. It’s a great event for system and kernel developers to attend, and this year was no exception.¬†

A lot of LinuxCon attendees stuck around for the Plumbers Conference,  to delve deep into the kernel, utility, and library programming that surrounds Linux. This is deep-topic stuff, and attendees I spoke with were not disappointed.

Now you can view for yourself, as we’ve just posted the first batch of videos from the Plumbers Conference on the LF Video site. This set of videos includes discussions on SELinux, networking, clustered filesystems, video processing, and more.

More videos will be coming soon, so keep checking back at the conference page on LF Video. Don’t forget, LinuxCon keynote videos are still available to watch, and with registration, you can catch LinuxCon sessions, too.

In the meantime, here’s Linus Torvalds’ LPC tutorial on his other big project, git:

While there’s little substitute for actually attending an event, so many things were said and done at this year’s LinuxCon, we had to get videos of the event out for public viewing as soon as we could.

So, thanks to the fantastic work from the crew over at Linux Pro Magazine, videos are available from nearly all sessions of LinuxCon.

First, for everyone, all of the videos from the keynotes and roundtables at LinuxCon are available free of charge here at Linux.com and on the Linux Foundation Video site.

That’s some really key material. We already posted Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote last week, because of the content of his talk and all of the community interest that surrounded his remarks.

Now you can watch the recordings of the kernel developer roundtable, with James Bottomley, Jon Corbet, Greg Kroah-Hartmann, Ted Ts’o, Chris Wright, and Linus Torvalds, where Torvalds indicated that he believes the Linux kernel has become too bloated with features.

Visitors can also view Joe Brockmeier’s entertaining talk comparing the music industry to Linux, and the lessons that industry can give Linux as we move forward.

Moblin is one of the hot technologies in the Linux world, where embedded Linux on mobile devices was already pretty hot. Intel’s Dirk Hohndel laid it all out for LinuxCon attendees, which you can watch, too.

If you like use cases for Linux, the detail doesn’t get much better than Noah Broadwater’s discussion of how he and his IT staff of 13 successfully implemented SUSE Linux and other open source technologies at Sesame Workshop. It’s a story that rings well with the Linux community, because our collective familiarity with Sesame, and because of the resounding success of the migration.

There’s more, of course:

  • Jim Zemlin kicks off the LinuxCon event with a great look at some important numbers in the Linux ecosystem.
  • In another roundtable moderated by Alfresco’s Matt Asay, a panel of Linux users and analysts that included Broadwater, Anthony Roby, David Buckholtz, and Jeffrey S. Hammond identified areas where enterprises can legitimately expect to shave IT costs with open source, and where they can’t.
  • IBM’s Bob Sutor highlighted three areas of great opportunity as well as challenge for Linux: the accelerating market for cloud computing, Linux as a significant operating system for mainframes, and the hope for Linux on the desktop in the first LinuxCon keynote.
  • Bdale Garbee from HP merged his love of rocketry and open source to explore where innovation really comes from, and if we are at risk of losing one of our community’s greatest collective strengths.

These are all great sessions, and I hope you enjoy them. If you are interested in even more detail and education, most of the sessions of the conference are also available now for a US$49 registration fee at Linux Pro Magazine’s streaming site. If you couldn’t make it to the event this year, now you can gain knowledge and information for a fraction of the event’s cost from the comfort of your office or home.

That’s a pretty good deal, and I know it’s going to help spread a lot of information around the community, as will the keynote videos. You have the chance to see for yourself what’s happening in Linux, and who’s saying what.

An addendum: anyone interested in photos of LinuxCon can take a look now, as well.

Article Source Linus Torvalds’s Blog
October 3, 2009, 2:10 pm

So Tove is off learning how to judge Tae-Kwon-Do competitions, and the kids are roaming the neighborhood like jackals (or maybe they’re upstairs reading a book. Who knows? I take a “hands off” approach to parenting).

So I’m stalking the kitchen looking for food, my trusted canine companion by my side. My prey hides quietly on a remote shelf, but I outsmart the cardboard packaging easily (along with the NASA-designed internal metallic pouch), and am soon ready to feast on the guts of some random Indian lentil stew.

And that’s when it hits me.

A quiet rattling emanates ominously from inside the nutritionally uninteresting outer shell as I’m about to discard it. I go on high alert, and ancient instincts immediately raise my adrenaline levels. What’s going on?

So I look inside, and in addition to the metallic pouch with the actual food, my meal has come with a CD full of (and I quote) “Authentic Indian Cuisine”. No, wait! Underneath that it says “Indian Classical Duets”.

Which brings me to today’s title: “WTF?” Have I been leading an unusually sheltered life, and this is actually normal? What’s next? Happy Meals that come with Beyonce CD’s?

Now I’m intrigued, and considering going through our other indian ready-made meals. Was this a one-off? Or had I not just noticed before, and do all those $2.99 pre-made indian meal pouches come with these odd musical accompaniments?

The fight against software patents got a big boost yesterday when one Linux company filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court urging it to uphold last year’s Bilski vs. Doll decision in the Federal appeals court.

That vendor was Red Hat, which really comes as no surprise. With the veiled threats of software patent enforcement coming from Redmond, and the not-so-veiled threat of any one of a number of patent trolls getting ready to use a purchased patent to pursue litigation, Red Hat would get a huge benefit from the elimination of software patents. Of course, so will everyone else writing code today.

Here’s what’s happening: in 2008, the Federal appeals court upheld a Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) ruling that Bernard Bilski’s method of risk assessment of bad weather through commodities trading was not patent-eligible under Section 101 of the Patent act.

The Court made up a test to benchmark if claimed ideas like this could actually be patentable. The idea has to either be tied to a particular machine or apparatus or transform something into a different state or thing. The Court stated in its ruling that this should be the only applicable test.

And that’s the key thing: if the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the Bilski case on Nov. 9, upholds this ruling against Bilski, the clause “tied to a particular machine or apparatus” will have enormous implications on software patents. Because this means that abstract ideas, particularly the algorithms and process found in, say, software code–are not patentable. This would put all of the PTO’s approvals of software patents into question and very likely decimate the current notion of software patents.

Red Hat’s amicus (“friend of the court”) brief is consistent–they filed a similar brief about how software patents adversely effect the software development industry when the Bilski case was in the Appeals Court. Yesterday’s brief also “asked the Supreme Court to adopt the machine-or-transformation test set forth in the Bilski case and to make clear that it excludes software from patentability,” according to Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurt in a Thursday blog posting.

If you’re wondering how one court decision can make such a huge difference, recall that it was decisions in the 90s that changed the definition of patentability back then, which led to the current mess we’re in.

“Software patents now number in the hundreds of thousands, and they cover abstract technology in vague and difficult-to-interpret terms. Because software products may involve thousands of patentable components, developers face the risk of having to defend weak-but-costly patent infringement lawsuits. A new class of business enterprise–patent trolls–has developed to file lawsuits to exploit this system,” Red Hat noted in a press release.

Patent litigation is a big source of pain for software development companies, which often has to hold patent portfolios of their own just as a defensive measure to keep from getting sued. Patent litigation is particularly expensive, too, according to Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network (OIN).

In a talk at LinuxCon last week, Bergelt stated: “The unfortunate thing about patent litigation is that it often falls within a seam. Companies have to often hire outside counsel, which is very expensive.”

To illustrate the danger of patents, Bergelt’s OIN, a consortium of six companies (IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony) was recently instrumental in the purchase of 22 allegedly Linux-related patents being sold in private auction by Microsoft. Allied Security Trust I, another defensive patent pool, bought the patents from Microsoft. OIN has a patent treaty with AST I, and was able to pick up the patents.

Bergelt explained that AST I often does not hold patents like this for any great length of time if AST I sees no danger

In his talk, Bergelt maintained that Microsoft advertised these patents as being Linux-related. Microsoft has been moving lately towards getting more revenue from its existing patent portfolio, Bergelt explained, and if such a patent sale just happened to land in the hands of a non-practicing entity, so much the better for Redmond. The fact that Microsoft sold the patents to AST I rather than OIN convinces Bergelt that Microsoft had an ulterior motive to sow FUD in the community, even while Microsoft would have plausible deniability in selling to known patent defense fund like AST I.

With all of the complexity of patents and the litigation and business that surrounds them, trying to code without trepidation in such a insane environment is, well, insane. And while I applaud the efforts of OIN, I agree with Bergelt’s other statement in his presentation: “Reform is key.”

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Red Hat’s efforts and all the others involved in Bilski will convince the Supreme Court justices to uphold Bilski, so real reform can begin.

Article Source Andy Updegrove’s Blog
September 30, 2009, 10:38 am

Two weeks ago, I wrote an analysis of the governance structure of the CodePlex Foundation, a new open source-focused foundation launched by Microsoft. My opinion, as expressed in that piece, was that significant changes (which I outlined) would need to be made to the Foundation before it would be taken seriously by Microsoft’s competitors, and more especially, by individual open source developers.

But what about the business premise for the Foundation itself? Let’s say that CodePlex does restructure in such a way as to create a trusted, safe place for work to be done to support the open source software development model. Is there be a need for such an organization, and if so, what needs could it help meet.

As with my last piece, I’ll use the Q&A approach to make my points.

Read the Rest Here

One thing about a web site is that it’s always being renovated. Users make suggestions, developers find ways to improve functionality; it’s a process.

As part of that process, the Linux.com forums have gotten a nice makeover this week. While many of you liked the functionality, there were also a lot of notes about the width of the interface. That’s why the first thing you’ll notice is the increased size of the forums. We knocked down some virtual walls and gave the system more room to spread out.

Beyond aesthetics, the new layout will allow visitors to view more topics at once, and scan more information in a thread.

There are also more threads to peruse. We’ve added a new Linux System Administrator section, with topic areas on Cloud Management, Linux Security, and Network Management, to name a few. We really want to encourage sysadmins to use these forums to share information about using Linux on the larger scale.

When I was at LinuxCon last week, one of the regular Linux.com readers asked about the forums and what their purpose on the site was, since we have Answers and Groups. The answer is something I learned ‘way back in my days at Sams Publishing: people approach learning in different ways. That’s why some people like big, texty tomes to learn about computers, while others prefer step-by-step visual guides.

People differ, too, on how they approach community. That’s why a good city/town planner will provide different forms of recreation areas for citizens: football fields, tennis, swimming, forested trails… if all rec areas were the same, it would be boring.

And that’s the reason for all of these opportunities to share knowledge and information. Some Linux users prefer the forum setting, while others just want to get in, ask a question, and get out.

Now that the forums have been renovated, we’re now looking for volunteers to act as moderators. If there’s a topic area you’d like to help moderate,
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
and we’ll get you started.

Article Source Community-cation
September 25, 2009, 11:04 am

The first LinuxCon may be over, but the knowledge and community shared at the conference will be around for a long time.

Expert sessions, informative keynotes, and multiple opportunities to kick back and socialize with Linux consumers of all stripes–these marked the flavor for LinuxCon. Attendees appreciated the balance of learning and information they got from the sessions–feedback from those I (unscientifically) surveyed was overwhelmingly positive, and I was asking for all comments, not just the good.

Some of the highlights of the conference include:

  • Jim Zemlin’s opening keynote, which showcased the important numbers that surround the Linux ecosystem, such as 2,700,00, the number of lines of code added to kernel in the last year according to the recently updated “Who Writes Linux” paper from the Linux Foundation; 10,923, the number of lines of code added to the Linux kernel every day; and 5,547, the number of lines deleted every day.
  • The relevation of the Fake Linux Torvalds’ identities: Dan Lyons, the ghost behind FakeSteveJobs and currently a Newsweek reporter; Matt Asay, CNET open source blogger and VP of business development at Alfresco; Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, former reporter and currently community manager for openSUSE; and Jono Bacon, Community Manager, Ubuntu. Followers of the FLT tweets voted Matt Asay as the most popular impostor.
  • There are three big areas of opportunity for Linux in the near future: cloud computing, mainframe, and Linux’ future on the desktop. That was the main message of Monday’s keynote from IBM’s Dr. Robert Sutor.
  • The hugely popular Linux kernel roundtable, an all-star line-up of Linux kernel developers who gave their take on what’s right–and what’s wrong–with the Linux kernel today. The panel’s members, Jon Corbet of LWN.net, Chris Wright from Red Hat, IBM’s Ted Ts’o, Novell’s Greg Kroah-Hartmann, and Linus Torvalds, founder of the Linux kernel, manned the stage to answer questions from panel moderator James Bottomley of Novell as well as many questions from the audience.
  • It wasn’t all work: the well-attended Linux Foundation bowling party at Grand Central Bowling raised money for Defenders of Wildlife. The event was a big success, with teams comprised of friends old and new who banded together for a common cause. A lot like open source, come to think of it. Attendees raised $3,000 for the Defenders of Wildlife charity. Check out the video highlights.
  • Brockmeier tapped into his pro DJ expertise music to entertain and inform the audience about how Linux can be perceived through the lens of rock and roll. Best comparison? Debian as The Velvet Underground.
  • Addressing the LinuxCon attendees in his Wednesday keynote on “The Freedom to Collaborate,” HP Open Source & Linux Chief Technologist Bdale Garbee announced the launch of a new HP-sponsored web portal for supporting non-commercial Linux distributions and described the value of collaboration for businesses who use open collaboration.
  • Speaking before a combined session of LinuxCon and the co-located Linux Plumber’s Conference, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth drilled home the concepts of cadence, quality, and design in the Linux development ecosystem, particularly cadence.

These events are just the tip of the iceberg for all of the great sessions hosted at LinuxCon. Alfresco’s Matt Asay had a stellar panel debating the real costs of Open Source, Intel‚Äôs Dirk Hohndel provided details of the exciting Moblin project; and Noah Broadwater, VP Information Services, Sesame Workshop gave great details about how Sesame deployed SUSE Linux.

Attendees at LinuxCon were the first to hear news about a new Moblin-based netbook coming to the market. On Wednesday that news was confirmed: at the Intel Developer’s Forum in San Francisco, Dell, Canonical, and Intel announced the availability of a Moblin v2-based netbook model, the Dell Inspiron Mini 10V. The 10V will run Canonical’s Moblin Netbook Remix and went on sale September 24.

There were quite a few giveaways, too. Qualcomm gave away Android-based phones to some lucky folks and Novell had a drawing for Chumby devices.

Words simply fail me at the outrageous Jeremy Allison as Steve Ballmer, host of the Linux Foundation Quiz Show. As always, he knows how to make this event one of the most popular spectacles in the entire Linux community.

And the whole thing was capped off by a tremendous end-of-show reception sponsored by Intel at McCormick and Schmicks. Outstanding food in a gorgeous setting near the event site.

There’s good news, too, for those who could not attend LinuxCon: You can register to view many conference sessions for $49. You can archive and pause the material to review at your leisure. Highlights include:

  • Keeping Open Source Open–a look at patents, trolls and our friend in Redmond with Zemlin and Keith Bergelt from the Open Invention Network.
  • Novell’s James Bottomley explained how to contribute to the Linux kernel and why it makes economic sense.
  • John Ellis from Motorola on How to Manage Open Source Compliance and Governance in the Enterprise.
  • Kernel developer Chris Wright from Red Hat examined KSM: A mechanism for improving virtualization density with KVM.

The wealth of knowledge gained by LinuxCon attendees will greatly benefit the community-at-large, because there are great new technologies right around the bend, and attendees have a great edge on capitalizing on that future.

Article Source Community-cation
September 24, 2009, 11:28 am

Cadence, quality, and design were the core themes of Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth’s closing keynote talk at LinuxCon.

Speaking before a combined session of LinuxCon and the co-located Linux Plumber’s Conference, Shuttleworth drilled home the importance of these concepts in the Linux development ecosystem, particularly cadence.

Shuttleworth has long maintained that if free and open source software projects can begin to sync their development cycles with each other, then both upstream and downstream developers (and, ultimately, users) will benefit. This is large part of the strategy behing Canonical’s strict six-month release for the Ubuntu distribution and the 18-month Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) cycles.

It won’t be easy, he told the crowd, but already quite a few projects are seeing the value of cadence (Shuttleworth cited recent moves in the KDE Project). Shuttleworth empasized, as he has in the past, that it doesn’t matter what pattern of cadence projects take, just so long as that pattern is predictable.

Quality is another core component of how development projects can improve. Shuttleworth described how Canonical continually applies bug tracking data to improve Ubuntu. This seemed to strike a chord in attendees–several of the post-talk questions dealt with perceived lacks of response from the Ubuntu bug reporting system. Shuttleworth replied that even though bug fixes weren’t going to be immediate, the more people that report a given bug, the higher the priority that bug would gain.

On design, Shuttleworth emphasized how important user testing of interface and function can be. Canonical uses daily testing for Ubuntu and other oper source projects–information that is fed directly back to the developer (sometimes with the developer in the room when testing occurs). “Developers always learn a lot from these tests,” he said.

This was a strong day for Canonical, and it showed in Shuttleworth’s delivery. Earlier, Dell and Intel made a joint announcement with Canonical at the Intel Developers Forum about the new Dell Inspiron 10v netbook, which will run the Canonical’s Moblin Netbook Remix.

On the same day, IBM and Canonical introduced “a new, flexible personal computing software package for netbooks and other thin-client devices to help businesses in Africa bridge the digital divide by leapfrogging traditional PCs and proprietary software,” according to a press release.

Part of IBM’s Smart Work Initiative, the new package targets the rising popularity of low-cost netbooks to make IBM’s industrial-strength software affordable to new, mass audiences in Africa. This program appears to be the first major deployment of the Microsoft-Free PC technology both companies announced in December 2008.