This took me a bit by surprise at first. I don't find myself often agreeing with Matt. Most of what he tends to write/argue for is what I have referred to in the past as "crippleware". Canonical in recent time has taken to opening up their platform. I've been a strong advocate for Launchpad, it is a great service. I love that they opened it up in recent time. When it comes to infrastructure software on the size of LP, I don't believe that many others will ever install it. Slash, G-Forge, and the Livejournal software are examples of infrastructure software that approach the size or outweigh the LP codebase. They have rarely been successfully deployed by others. The advantage in the Launchpad software being open source is the potential for others to audit the code. I suspect that they will receive some patches, but I doubt that the number of patches will ever out pace what the conical staff itself creates.
This morning I got a number of worried pieces of email over Matt's new position at Canonical.
Do I find that I am worried about Asay joining Canonical?
The job of the COO is too keep the company moving on a day to day basis. With his background at Alfresco, the COO role makes sense. Canonical has a lot of strong open source advocates so I wouldn't expect change in a direction that would create issue. Canonical's Ubuntu One is their longterm play. Service based revenue work hand in hand with open source go well together (...how many online services can you name that aren't based on open source?).
The COO position is one of the key positions that a company will hire for, yet, many smaller companies tend to pass over the creation of this position in lieu of having the CEO also fill this role. This is a real shame since you can often have a great CEO, who makes for a poor COO.
When Innodb was first acquired by Oracle there was a lot of shock and dismay within the MySQ Ecosystem. MySQL INC's reaction to the acquisition, which then rippled to the community, created a mistrust of Oracle. Ken Jacobs really changed that reaction in the community. There has been a number of times over the years that I found myself on the same side of the fence as Ken when it came to both leadership and technical vision about MySQL. I am sure Oracle has other competent executives to fill his shoes, but Ken has been a real asset to Oracle over the years. I am sad to see him leave the ecosystem, he played a very positive role in the community.
Oracle buying Innodb was never the killer move most envisioned at the time. It kick started engine development around MySQL, which was the only real innovation we saw for many years. Around the time of the acquisition all but one of the engineers who knew MySQL well, worked for MySQL. Having multiple companies working on engines re-invogorated outside development in the project. Without Oracle buying Innodb, the MySQL ecosystem would have never been forced into an innovators cycle again.