Ubuntu Founder Pledges No Back Doors in Linux

VIDEO: Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, discusses what might be coming in Ubuntu 16.10 later this year and why security is something he will never compromise.

Ubuntu developers are gathering this week for the Ubuntu Online Summit (UOS), which runs from May 3-5, to discuss development plans for the upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 Linux distribution release, code-named "Yakkety Yak."

In a video interview with Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux and Canonical, he discusses Ubuntu 16.10, including the Mir display server and his views on security including the use of encryption.

Ubuntu 16.10 is set to debut in October and follows the Ubuntu 16.04 update, which was released on April 21. While it's not yet entirely clear what exact features will land in Ubuntu 16.10, one candidate is the Mir display server. The Ubuntu community--and Shuttleworth in particular--has been talking about migrating to Mir since at least 2013. The promise of Mir is a unified display technology that will work across desktops, mobile devices and even TVs. While there is some controversy among members of the Linux community over the transition to Mir, Shuttleworth emphasized that few people will ever know the difference.

"I can't say when Mir will drop into Ubuntu as the default display system, but I can say when it does, no one should notice it," Shuttleworth told eWEEK. "That's our commitment: The set of experiences that people enjoy about Ubuntu--they can count on."

One thing that Ubuntu Linux users will also continue to rely on is the strong principled stance that Shuttleworth has on encryption. With the rapid growth of the Linux Foundation's Let's Encrypt free Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) certificate platform this year, Shuttleworth noted that it's a good idea to consider how that might work in an integrated way with Ubuntu.

Overall, he said, the move to encryption as a universal expectation is really important.

"We don't do encryption to hide things; we do encryption so we can choose what to share," Shuttleworth said. "That's a profound choice we should all be able to make."

Shuttleworth emphasized that on the encryption debate, Canonical and Ubuntu are crystal clear.

"We will never backdoor Ubuntu; we will never weaken encryption," he said.

Watch the video interview with Mark Shuttleworth below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.