I’ll be flying out to Montreal on Saturday to attend Ubuntu Below Zero. I’m a serious fan of Ubuntu Linux, and of the people that make it happen. And I’m excited to start participating more in the whole Ubuntu community.
So far my contributions have been in giving talks on Ubuntu at LUGs and conferences, helping install Ubuntu on a lot of people’s machines at various install fests, reading the Ubuntu mailing lists, and assuring questions for the folks around Ann Arbor who have Ubuntu related questions. But I am really looking forward to crossing over the line from consumer/advocate/helper of a pre-existing product to someone who participates in the development of the new version.
I want to make sure that it is drop-dead easy for developers working on Rails, TurboGears, Cake, or any of the next generation of web development frameworks to live and breathe Ubuntu.
I also want to make it easy to create a meta-package with the tools that a small business needs to get up and running on Linux quickly and easily. We have all the pieces in place (well, calendaring needs a bit of work, but it looks like it’s going to be there soon!). Unfortunately, there’s so many choices and the configuration and integration project still too hard.
A lot of small businesses set up Microsoft SMB Server 2000 as their first server. It’s cheap and easy and it works — mostly! — and then when they grew out of it, they are stuck paying thousands of dollars for upgrades to the “real” Microsoft back office products. And for a small company all that money that could be more profitably spent in developing their core business.
All of this resolves down to my key goal — I want to reduce the cost of entry for small business, and make it easier for new companies to get started without the need to go to venture capital firms. Ubuntu, Linus, and open source generally can reduce the need for significant capital expenses early in the life of a small business, and in the end that is going to improve the economic outlook for small businesses, and help the economy, and facilitate innovation.