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Oracle's got a giant Red Hat fork coming, says spaceman

While Microsoft has an 'extortion habit'

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Animal abuse

Shuttleworth stands as a very troubling figure from our point of view. It's very difficult to be cynical about a man who got rich and then decided to use his wealth to bring free software to the masses. Hell, he's even been to space, which stands as a redeeming quality in any circle that touches on the geek.

The man proves charming enough in person. He's got a laid back manner. He's polite. He answers questions directly. He seems to have the ego well in check.

Still, we're pretty sure a dark backroom exists at the Canonical headquarters where Shuttleworth personally oversees the torture of caged wombats and penguins. If pushed, we'd swear that he delights in gluing the poor creatures together.

If Shuttleworth is, in fact, not abusing cute animals, then he's been busy denying Microsoft's advances to sign a Novell/XenSource/Linspire-like intellectual property and collaboration deal.

"They have approached us, but there is just no way we would accept the terms," he said. "Everything suggests those deals were entered into on terms that would be unacceptable to our community and to us."

Shuttleworth urged that it's crucial not "to paint a company as evil." However, he did say that Microsoft has an "extortion habit that simply won't go anymore."

It's Shuttleworth's vast wealth that, in part, lets him ignore Microsoft's overtures. And it's that same wealth which inspired Shuttleworth to take on the languishing Linux desktop in the first place.

"I am in the very lucky position that I've tasted what it's like not to work," he said. "I get very bored.

"So, there is this very big mountain that has never been climbed before [making a Linux distro that grandma can use], and it's daunting, but, as a result, I respect it. I don't dabble. I take it seriously. If you're going to the climb the mountain, you should do it damn well."

Is that what you tell the penguins, Mark? Is that what you tell them when their eyes swell with tears made of blood? ®

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