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Q&A: Canonical’s Jane Silber

Computerworld.comhave sat down with Jane Silber, the chief operating officer of Conanical, about how the upcoming June release of Ubuntu 6.06.
Update: There's also an interview with her at
The three-page interview starts here


How did you join Canonical?

I joined Canonical in July 2004. My original background is in software development, and then, later, project management. The company where I was a vice president at was bought out by General Dynamics Corp. I was a vice president at General Dynamics for two years, where I ran a small unit that developed information management decision-making software. It was mostly used at U.S. Army command posts or on U.S. naval ships. I oversaw about 150 people and about $45 million in revenue.

I was living in London and looking for a job when I happened to be at a party and met a friend of Mark Shuttleworth’s [the founder of Canonical]. I was familiar with Linux, but not using it in any way. But setting up a software company and growing it was right up my alley. I had lunch with Mark the following week and then started the next Monday. It was definitely a matter of being at the right place at the right time.

She's also talking at


Is Canonical attractive for new employees? How many answers did you receive to your job opportunities (the ones published late January)?

As with any company, it is a great place for some people and perhaps not as great for others. I love it, and I think most of our staff do it. But it isn't for everyone. We offer the opportunity to work with an amazing team, to do challenging and rewarding work, and to be a part of something that is definitely changing the Linux landscape. However, we also are operating in a fast­paced environment where change is constant and the work often feels unrelenting. Some people thrive in that environment; other equally smart and talented people don't.

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