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Mark Shuttleworth

Introducing the cosmonaut founder of Ubuntu.

Quick celebrity pop quiz: if you'd just made millions selling your software, what would be the next thing you would do? If you answer 'fly to Moscow and train for seven months to be a cosmonaut' then your name might be Mark Shuttleworth.

From Welkom Free State South Africa, erstwhile Debian developer Shuttleworth sold his 1995 startup (Thawte) to Verisign in 1999 for R3.5 billion (about $575,000,000). Now with a goodly amount of pocket change, he headed for Russia to train to be the first African in outer space - a privilege for which he paid $20 million.

Shuttleworth's Soyuz ride left the planet Earth on 25 April 2002 and arrived at the International Space Station two days later. Shuttleworth stayed eight days. At $1.2 million per day that's the per day most expensive hotel bill ever.

Shuttleworth returned to the planet Earth on 5 May and got right back in the swing of things, working with his foundation, the Freedom Toaster, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, Bazaar, TheOpenCD, ImpiLinux, Software Freedom Day, Go Open Source, Launchpad, and a handful more projects.

Those who think Steve Jobs defines charisma haven't heard of Mark Shuttleworth.

Mark Shuttleworth's vision is free software for everyone on a totally connected planet. His freedom toaster initiative lets people come with their own blank CDs and burn as much open source software as they want - especially important in Africa where connectivity rates are prohibitive. ImpiLinux will be translated into the eleven official languages of South Africa. Both Ubuntu and Kubuntu not only give you free software but ship CDs to you anywhere on the planet free of charge.

The man's got a mission and he's changing the world.

See Also
Canonical Ltd
Go Open Source
Mark Shuttleworth
HBD Venture Capital
Shuttleworth Foundation

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