Why Matt Zimmerman must not quit Ubuntu.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the keynote address by Mark Shuttleworth at the Linuxcon 2009, the CTO of Canonical, Matt Zimmerman went public in voicing his opinion, suggesting that the remark his boss made was sexist. This has led to calls for him to say goodbye to Canonical because he had gone public with his views about his boss’ remark. I have a problem with such calls and really think he should not be given the boot nor pressured into leaving Canonical and for that matter Ubuntu.

First of all, whether the remark in question was sexist or not, I think is irrelevant in the sense that whatever one says is always bound to be interpreted by people in various ways. And Mark Shuttleworth, being who he is, is more prone to such human idiosyncracies. So when Matt went public with his opinion, I was not surprised he had also interpreted his boss’ speech as such. However, I am surprised at the call for his resigantion from Canonical.

Canonical, and for that matter Ubuntu, pride themselves on certain philosophies that I believe must be upheld at all times, the theme of this philosophy being tolerance and  humanity towards each other. How then can such a company throw out or pressure someone to resign because he had disagreed with his boss albeit publicly?

Matt did not make his statement on behalf of Canonical, he made his statement as an individual. Yes he should have waited to watch the video again and  be sure of the context in which his boss made the remark before going public. Yes he should have exercised a little restraint in his rush to air his opinions, but that is also precisely the reason why I think Canonical should not fire him nor bring any pressure to bear on him to resign.

This is an opportunity for Mark Shuttleworth and the team over at Canonical to prove to the world that they do stand by the philosophies that they tout. They should prove to the world the level of tolerance they have for all people and how they are willing to still be with people who disagree with them. This will go a long way to help further the growth of Ubuntu for people will know that yes, the philosophies behind it are not empty cliches. Firiing Matt Zimmerman or bringing pressure to bear on him will not do any good to Ubuntu or Canonical: it will only serve to tell people how intolerable the people behind the Ubuntu distro are.

Do you think Matt Zimmerman should quit Canonical? Please share your thoughts.

6 Replies to “Why Matt Zimmerman must not quit Ubuntu.”

  1. Ugh. I had been blissfully ignorant of this whole episode. Why can't people who run companies just keep their idiotic comments to themselves. The last thing Ubuntu needs is to be known as the sexist OS. I know plenty of women who are advanced computer users, and Shuttleworth's macho statements (implying women always need to be saved by men, or should I say boys?) in various places are just a pointless distraction. Maybe it's time to check out Fedora.

  2. Hi David. You are just like me. I know lots of women who are computer wizzies and I always consult with them. However, I don't think Ubuntu should be made to pay the price for the controversy. You may switch to whatever distro you like, but please do not let your reason for leaving Ubuntu be because of this issue.

  3. > The remark in question was sexist, and although it may seem small in itself, it is representative of an attitude which is harmful to the community.

    As if we care? Respect your boss. If you have a different opinion, keep it for yourself and live with it, or move on. How childish to make this public, whining like a faggot about dignity. bu-bu, that's the level of a nine year old! It is ridiculous matter anyway and it is completely unimportant.

    BTW, have you seen the girls who complain anywayza? They are plain ugly. Sure enough, their last chance it to put the blame on some poor losers. Cute grils don't complain, they chose. Between Matt and Mark, we know for sure which one they would pick (the cute ones of course).

    And about my girl? She is fine. She is in her box under the kitchen sink. And you want to know the best? She likes it that way. Do you have a problem with that? Because we don't.

    Where is this world going to, since men act like pussies and girls looks like hippopotamus?

    Cheers,

    PS: Boycott NOVELL

  4. Ohhh, C'mon…

    The guy was drunk when he let go those idiot jokes…
    The community must not be so hard on him.
    Worse is that other bald man bad mouthing Open Source, saying it's a cancer to Intellectual Property.
    These unfunny jokes from Mark are harmless…
    I think there's much ADO about something that doesn't deserve so much attention and publicity.
    But, that's my opinion.

  5. If Mark S wants to fire Matt Zimmerman all Mark has to do is count to 10 and think about looking out a spacecraft window.

    I have to believe that anyone who has had astronaut training and been up there has gotten past petty!

  6. The fact remains is if he is to lead Ubuntu, he has to present a responsible image. There's nothing wrong with that requirement. It's ok for him to have human failures, but not ok for him to allow them to become statements that affect everyone's work and perceptions.

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