Mark Richard Shuttleworth (born 18 September 1973) is a South African entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Canonical Ltd., the company behind the development of the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. In 2002, he became the first citizen of an independent country to travel to space as a space tourist. He lives on the Isle of Man and holds dual citizenship from South Africa and the United Kingdom.
followed by one term at Rondebosch Boys' High School, and then at Bishops/Diocesan College, where he was Head Boy in 1991.
Shuttleworth obtained a Bachelor of Business Science degree in Finance and Information Systems at the University of Cape Town, where he lived in Smuts Hall. As a student, he became involved in the installation of the first residential Internet connections at the university.
In September 2000, Shuttleworth formed HBD Venture Capital ( Here be Dragons), a business incubator and venture capital provider. In March 2004 he formed Canonical Ltd., for the promotion and commercial support of free software projects, especially the Ubuntu operating system. In December 2009, Shuttleworth stepped down as the CEO of Canonical Ltd, Jane Silber took Canonical CEO position. Shuttleworth resumed the position of CEO of Canonical in July 2017 at the end of Silber's tenure.
In 2001, he formed the Shuttleworth Foundation, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to social innovation which also funds educational, free software, and open source software projects in South Africa, such as the Freedom Toaster.
In 2004, he returned to the free software world by funding the development of Ubuntu, a Linux distribution based on Debian, through his company Canonical Ltd.
In 2005, he founded the Ubuntu Foundation and made an initial investment of 10 million dollars. In the Ubuntu project, Shuttleworth is often referred to with the tongue-in-cheek title "Self-Appointed Benevolent Dictator for Life" (SABDFL). To come up with a list of names of people to hire for the project, Shuttleworth took six months of Debian mailing list archives with him while travelling to Antarctica aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov in early 2004.Linux Format, Jeff Waugh (LXF 87). In September 2005, he purchased a 65% stake of Impi Linux.
On 15 October 2006, it was announced that Mark Shuttleworth became the first patron of KDE, the highest level of sponsorship available. This patronship ended in 2012, together with financial support for Kubuntu, the Ubuntu variant with KDE as main desktop.
On 17 December 2009, Mark announced that, effective March 2010, he would step down as CEO of Canonical to focus energy on product design, partnership, and customers. Jane Silber, COO at Canonical since 2004, took on the job of CEO at Canonical.
In September 2010, he received an honorary degree from the Open University for this work.
On 25 October 2013, Shuttleworth and Ubuntu were awarded the Austrian anti-privacy Big Brother Award for sending local Ubuntu Unity Dash searches to Canonical servers by default. A year earlier in 2012 Shuttleworth had defended the anonymisation method used.
While in space he had a radio conversation with Nelson Mandela and a 14-year-old South African girl, Michelle Foster, who asked him to marry her. He politely dodged the question, stating that he was "very honoured at the question" before changing the subject.Space.com, Nelson Mandela Chats with Shuttleworth, 2 May 2002. The terminally ill Foster was provided the opportunity to have a conversation with Mark Shuttleworth and Nelson Mandela by the Reach for a Dream foundation.BBC News, " Afronaut mourns his 'bride'", 28 May 2002.Dispatch online, Mark's biggest fan dies of cancer, 28 May 2002.