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Bug #1 - Microsoft has a majority market share." - Ubuntu bug tracker. Much has changed since Canonical started on its quirky quest to "fix bug #1." Seven years ago Microsoft was seen as stagnant, ripe for plucking. Longhorn was still MIA, and Microsoft users were busy patching XP against the latest threats. Apple? Apple was still recovering from its near-death experience. The iPhone and the first netbook (the Asus Eee PC) were still three years in the future. The iPad wouldn't show up until 2010. If you had a computer, it was either a desktop or a laptop.
Shuttleworth's most recent goal of 200 million users by 2015 doesn't compute IF you continue to hold fast to a mobile device POV.
If you start to look at it from a Cloud perspective and start to count up the potential number of lxc containers spun up with Cloud Foundry based PaaSes like ActiveState's Stackato all running Ubuntu in little lxc containers - you could easily start to believe Shuttleworth will get close to 200 million Ubuntu users by 2015 - whether Cannonical can monetize these is another story.
To spin up your own Ubuntu, check out http://www.activestate.com/blog/2011/10/virtualization-ec2-cloud-using-lxc
Good for YOU!
You are to be HIGHLY commended for calling a spade a spade. Even journalists who I hold in high regard almost always wimp out with a phrase such as "...but Mark Shuttleworth is a sharp guy, and he'll pull this off blahblahblah...".
Baloney. Pure horsefeathers.
Your title reminds me of a comment I posted warning Jane Silber that she'd better be negotiating a golden parachute now (6 mo. ago, or more), because the clock was ticking.
Your article also reminds me of another Ubuntu article comment, wherein I said that Canonical was late, Mark Shuttleworth was late, just as is the late Sir Winston Churchill.
One week later, Canonical announced that it would no longer fund Kubuntu.
It's great to find a commentator/journalist/reporter (what do you call yourself?) with both knowledge AND guts.