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Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth: IoT, Ubuntu and the yogurt of the future

Jon Gold | Oct. 20, 2017
"Raspberry Pi plus Ubuntu plus an app makes a huge difference" in the world of IoT, he says.

Now it's kind of going the other way - the PC is the thing that you plug in. If you imagine people designing a robot today, they'll say "here's the size and space where the brain is going to go." And they don't necessarily know in advance what kind of brain it's going to be, and if they can say to the developers, "it's going to be ARM, it's going to be x86, but it's going to be Ubuntu," the developers can start creating and testing software in the cloud. Independently, industrial designers can start figuring out weight and balance and design and packaging and all the other things they need to figure out. Those things only need to come together late in the process if you have standardized module.


NW: That's happening on the software end, too, right? Containerization and so on?

MS: We know that standardization and reusability dramatically influence economics - the cost of something that's hand-built or custom-designed, compared to something that's off the peg is massively, massively different.


NW: It's like industrialization all over again.

MS: There's no common form factor for robots, drones, vehicles, cameras or anything, so this means highly fragmented industrial design and logistics and so on supporting them, but there's no reason why the core can't be standardized.


NW: What about networking standards? There's a lack of, well, standardization there.

MS: That just doesn't seem, to me, to be the big fight to get too stressed about. Say you are an institution managing a building - now, very reasonably, you'd want to bring devices into that building from different manufacturers. And you've gotta worry about everything - not just escalators, but escalators and lights and HVAC, and there's nobody who does all of that. There's no scenario where someone can just say "this is a Siemens building."

That means you're going to have to figure out how to tell whether Heartbleed is fixed across all these different devices, and that's where I think we can help - if they're all running Ubuntu, we can give you a common lens to look at them, and at least where there are commonalities, you can manage them as a common story. And that's very real! A fleet of trucks, a fleet of drones, Wi-Fi access points and so on - they all need to get fixed for those Wi-Fi patches.



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