I am not sure everybody knows Mark Shuttleworth but if you don’t you should 🙂 I had the pleasure to listen to one of his keynotes at the EuroPython Conference some years ago where he talked about his Python and Space related topics.
And indeed he has a very interesting bio as we heard back then. Based in South Africa he first started Thawte, one of the first seller of SSL certificates, served by basically 4 Python scripts as he said. This grew quickly (especially as Netscape included his root CA into their browsers) and at some point he sold it to Verisign. With the money from that he founded the Shuttleworth Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to social innovation in Africa and actually flew to space. He showed us quite some photos of his flight with the Soyus and told us quite some nice anecdotes from that trip 🙂
I wish I’d have done videoblogging back then and recorded this keynote as it was one of the best I heard so far (ok, admittedly I did not hear that many but still it was great :-).
The Shuttleworth Foundation did many things, one of them was inventing SchoolTool Project, which aims at building a common global school administration infrastructure that is freely available under an Open Source license. It’s mainly meant for the African continent.
The interesting thing for us about is was that it was implemented in Python using Zope3 technologies (an application server written in Python) and thus contributing lots of work to Zope 3 which was quite new at that time.
Another thing which he basically announced at that conference was Ubuntu Linux although he did not mention that name yet back then. Again lots of the infrastructure was done using Python and Zope, such as LaunchPad, a tool for project collaboration. And actually on every Europython conference you now hear something about it or how they organize their work in order to support collaboration where the participants are all over the world. This actually seems to be a growing problem if you take the amount of talks about it at conferences as a measure.
So as you can see he’s quite some interesting guy and today he will come to Second Life (and maybe get hooked, who knows). He will be online tonight at the Sun Press Conference which will be held in the Sun Pavilion sim. He will be joined by Tim Bray (Sun’s Director of Web Technologies and co-inventor of XML) and Simon Phipps (Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer) of Sun Microsystems. Check out this blog post if you want to join (but apparently space is limited).
I will be filming it so if you miss it you might at least see the condensed version then.
Update: The recording of the event is now available here.