Ubuntu man Shuttleworth dissects Hardy Heron's arrival

Will bird's flight usher in Linux peace?

While the major Linux makers fail to agree on some of these basics, they are continuing to prove that open source and free software can trump the proprietary model, according to Shuttleworth.

For example, the executive is giddy about the inclusion of the Wubi installer with Hardy Heron. This software package lets you run Ubuntu on a Windows machine without bothering to set up a dedicated partition. So, you can play with Ubuntu and see if you like it while avoiding a major disk commitment.

What I really like is that Canonical didn't invent it. It was a community guy decided this was possible, and he worked through the community process and got it in. And it is a major feature for this release.

The harshest criticism that we have heard from the proprietary companies about open source and free software was that it couldn't innovate - that it was just about copying what they have done. I felt that very keenly that, 'Gee, they are missing the point here.'

Yes, there is a race to parity. Once you are at parity, though, there is much more innovation that happens in the open source space than in the proprietary space because you don't have a linear decision making process. In a proprietary company, any guy at any level can nuke a good idea.

Shuttleworth is also moved by Canonical's support of Magnatune - a kind of pick-your-own-price online music distributor.

"I am particularly glad that we are supporting Magnatune, which has articulated a really good future for the music industry," Shuttleworth said. "The problem with the music industry has not been the musicians; it has not been the music; and it has not been downloads. It has been the record companies.

"So to have a record company that says, 'Well, there is a better way to do this' feels like a good thing for us to support. So, that's groovy."

Groovy it may be, but some very faithful Ubuntu users think that support for Magnatune and the like represents a lack of focus on Canonical's part.

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