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Ubuntu man says Microsoft's about to 'swallow a hand-grenade'

Shuttleworth pegs Yahoo! as a path to Flail

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Shuttleworth reckons that the cloud is here to stay.

"There will be a crisis of confidence where a 100 start-ups will go bust, and everyone will think that was a bad idea," he said. "But, to a certain extent, we are already living in that cloud world. For me, I can lose my laptop and be pissed off but not devastated. The things most important to me are intrinsically backed up - stuff like e-mail and photos. "

You might think Ubuntu would enjoy a major place in the cloud build out, although I hear precious little of the OS's presence with the angels. Yahoo!'s doing the FreeBSD thing. Google has its own, super-tweaked Linux in the data centers. Microsoft eats its own dog food, Amazon seems to be on Red Hat or CentOS, and Sun's in Solaris country.

Whatever. The hardware clowns aren't making money off the cloud anyway, right?

"One of the big server manufactures who shall remain nameless was telling me that their vision was to be selling to the cloud. I was thinking that it's a lot more profitable to sell a server to a mom and pop shop than it is to sell servers to Amazon's EC2. With EC2, they buy in bulk. They can negotiate your right down. And they can control their slack whereas every mom and pop shop has a machine that's sitting there doing nothing.

"I don't think people make a lot of money selling servers to Google."

Eh, Intel seems to think it's a good enough business.

Anyway, you're rich, right? How's that working out for you? You must feel some guilt about having so much when all those poor bastards at Bear Stearns are about to lose their jobs?

"As a very lucky billionaire, I have issues with certain situations," Shuttleworth said. "For example, other people invented public key cryptography, but I was one of the few that hugely benefited from it. There is a certain element of a debt to be repaid. Perhaps a certain amount of what I do with Ubuntu is part of that."

If you're like me, then you've got to find the rich fellas over at places like YouTube pretty revolting. They've hijacked this "community" malarkey just so they can get a bunch of teenagers, cat lovers and wannabe porn stars issuing videos for free. Then, boom, a handful of people get rich off this memepile. "YouTube was very clearly a businesses from the beginning. There were investors. They were providing a service. I don't think the folks who uploaded their videos have a moral claim against the guys who built that business."

Okay, you brutal capitalist.

But, come on, the internet has just turned into a no muss, no fuss feudal system where any Stanford grad can set up a fiefdom in his dorm room. So, the spoiled get more spoiled, while the rest of us are left with food stamps and Twitter tweets.

"We have a general issue at the moment in society with inequality," Shuttleworth said. "There was an article in the FT that was looking at the hedge fund guys and it said that the last time income inequality was so high in the US was 1928. That didn't work out so great for anyone.

"The ideal situation for me is if we created a culture in the very successful of extreme generosity. That to me would make it more palatable."

Okay, hippie.

"I like nothing less than meeting a guy who has been very successful - the worst case is when he's more successful than me - who doesn't recognize there is a lot of luck involved - who doesn't recognize that other people laid the foundations for that," Shuttleworth said.

Who do you have in mind? Jimmy Wales?

"It's a long list. Well, it's a short list. Let's not get into that." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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