I saw “Happy 10th Birthday, Ubuntu” go by in my feed today…
Today is the 10th anniversary of Ubuntu‘s first release. This is slightly nostalgic as I was employed by them at the time. I was actually the very first employee of MRS Virtual Development (the legal name of the entity at the time), Robert Collins (mentioned in the above-linked article) being the second. The first two things Mark wanted in his company were a good bug tracker and a good source control system. My involvement with Mozilla as a volunteer at the time is actually how I came to be involved with it, as I’d been heavily involved with the Bugzilla bug tracking system at that point. Robert had been heavily involved with GNU Arch, an up-and-coming source code management system which was eventually forked by Canonical to become Bazaar.
The biggest thing I remember about my time working for Canonical (as the corporate entity eventually became known) was that I spent 2 weeks at a time in London approximately every 2 months. I spent almost a quarter of that year in London. This, of course, was pretty hard on me since it was hard being away from my family so much.
Although I thought the Ubuntu OS was a fantastic idea, and loved the way it was being built (and I still use it to this day on most of my computers), in the end, I didn’t really fit in well with the other people working on it. Almost everyone else Mark had hired to work on it came from a Debian background, which I had had almost zero involvement with prior to this experience, and the culture was very different from anything I’d ever dealt with before. I much preferred the culture among the volunteer community at Mozilla. Fortunately, Firefox was released about 3 weeks later, and the Mozilla Foundation suddenly had money as a result. I left Canonical and was hired by Mozilla the day before Firefox 1.0 released, and I am still at Mozilla today. This means I will also be celebrating my 10th anniversary working at Mozilla in just a few weeks.