It doesn't happen often that representatives of a major Linux distribution call on this part of the world. But a favourable moon constellation at the start of the lunar new year, combined with the ongoing Ubuntu Asia Business Tour meant that, last week, Mark Shuttleworth and his small team of Canonical business people arrived in Taipei for a brief, 3-day visit. Although the main purpose of the trip was to establish contacts with hardware manufacturers, system builders, integrators and localisation teams, the Ubuntu leader did not shy away from meeting with local Linux communities. As part of the visit, Shuttleworth also gave a speech at the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering of the National Taiwan University.
And what a speech it was! Dressed in a tie and suit after a day of meeting with local business leaders, the 32-year old South African multimillionaire delivered a lecture combining topics as diverse as space travel, entrepreneurship, and of course, Ubuntu Linux. Looking energetic and motivated despite the gruelling 5-week tour of 13 Asia Pacific countries from Pakistan to New Zealand, Shuttleworth explained the reasons for launching a Linux-based operating system: "We are at the beginning of a major revolution in the software industry," he said, "a revolution that will bring down many established empires and create opportunities for new ones to rise to the top."
The upcoming release of Ubuntu Linux, code name "Dapper Drake", will mark the distribution's transition to appeal to a wider audience.