Change Of Venue

To Everyone

Many people already know this but I thought I would make a more "public" announcement so everyone knows.

In about two weeks, I’ll be leaving Canonical Ltd. to return to academia at the MIT Media Lab. I’ll be in Walter Bender’s Electronic Publishing research group working with Marvin Minskey and others.

I’ll be doing as-yet-undecided research at the lab and I’ve got a number of very attractive options to choose from or try to balance. One of these is Negroponte’s $100 Laptop Project which, for a number of reasons, seems like an incredible opportunity.

To the Ubuntu Community

Of course, by no means does leaving Canonical mean I will be leaving the Ubuntu community. On the contrary, I intend to continue my work with the community council, play a leadership and/or advisory role in the budding Ubuntu Foundation, and suspect I will even be able to raise my involvement in a couple other technical and non-technical areas of Ubuntu that my work for Canonical sometimes left little time for. I don’t think anyone, except maybe folks from the business side of Canonical, will be seeing much less of me and many of you will probably be seeing more. I will no longer be involved in the distribution of CDs so email info@shipit.ubuntu.com and not me if you have a question along these lines. :)

I think that in a number of ways, this is actually a very good thing for the Ubuntu community. Not everyone realizes this but both top governance committees in Ubuntu — the Ubuntu Community Council and the Technical Board — are made up of Mark Shuttleworth and people he employs. While our community is less than one year old and this is unavoidable in the process of bootstrapping a young community like Ubuntu, this fact has made me increasingly uncomfortable over the last year.

I think that through a departure from Canonical and a sustained role on the council, I can help introduce real community and institutionally independent involvement at the highest level of our project. I believe that I can help Ubuntu grow as project distinct from and in symbiosis with Canonical in a ways that I couldn’t — for symbolic reasons if nothing else — while my rent was being paid by Mark.

To Bostonians

Going to MIT means I’m also going to be returning from New York City to Boston, Massachusetts. Mika and I will be living in Harvard Square, Cambridge and already have a place. Since I seem to have no social life distinct from my free software life, I will probably be seeing some of you much more often. If you’re in the area and I don’t talk to you regularly yet, contact me and we’ll get together.

To Canonical

I’ve said this already but I think a good job is about working with and for good people and I can say without hesitation that Canonial is best job I’ve ever had. It’s been a complete pleasure and I won’t be surprised at all if I find myself back with Canonical again in a couple years.

To Boston Debianistas

It’s simple really: Get ready to show those New Yorkers that despite the fact that our subways are clean, look like toys and close at midnight, our bars close at two, our milkshakes are in no way actually milkshakes and our international airport is comparatively tiny, we can still have a way better Debian Social Scene.

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