Here are some comments during a Q&A session of Ubuntu Open Week. sabdfl is Mark Shuttleworth's IRC nickname.
jcastro: <emmajane> QUESTION: brick and mortar stores rely on the sales of software along with PCs. Many local-to-me shops refuse to carry free OS computers because they lose the related software sales. Do you have suggestions on how we can support our local shops AND Ubuntu?
sabdfl: it's a great question
sabdfl: essentially - is industry addicted to software margins, and can we safely treat the addiction?
sabdfl: one answer is that computers will increasingly be sold in non-specialised stores
sabdfl: both online and offline
sabdfl: Tesco's, and Amazon
sabdfl: or Dell.com
sabdfl: that's not a great answer for your local-to-you specialised store, though
sabdfl: i don't have better ideas other than that, if we continue to improve the experience, usefulness, robustness and capabilities of the free software alternative
sabdfl: industry will reconfigure itself around that
jcastro: <jarens> Question : regarding the computer distribution, I ofen been told linux is for geeks/specialists only, my ubuntu experiences shows me the inverse, how can we change the way stores sales man see linux ?
sabdfl: jarens: only with patience, time, and commitment to making it even better every six months
sabdfl: thank you for the compliments though :-)
jcastro: <doctormo> QUESTION: I hear your in support of the new Ubuntu Learning group, do you think it's important for LoCo groups to be involved in Education Events, classes and so on?
sabdfl: yes, very much so
sabdfl: in part to help jarens with those salesmen :-)
sabdfl: we have very precious knowledge, those of us who are early on the free software adoption curve
sabdfl: and finding effective ways to share it is essential
sabdfl: so, kudos and thanks to all who are involved in that effort
jcastro: <koolhead17> Question:am from India and i can see real participation coming from all corners of the society for ubuntu but they need real volunteers/certifications/motivation.what is the roadmap for that?
sabdfl: koolhead17: participating is a social process
sabdfl: so one thing is to make sure that those who join are made welcome and find constructive things to do
sabdfl: it's also professional, so we have been working for some time on qualifications that certify one's skills
sabdfl: the most important thing, imo, is convincing Indian companies to deploy free software, and hire people who know how to make it work
sabdfl: i saw news today about India buying 250k OLPC's, which is great
sabdfl: I also saw news about Indian IT companies letting their employees spend time on open source software during the recession, also brilliant
sabdfl: because it will let them build their reputation and skills for the post-recession time
jcastro: <rrnwexec> QUESTION: What would you say is the biggest barrier to widespread Ubuntu adoption? (By widespread, I mean a market share >30%)
sabdfl: delivering an amazing end user experience
sabdfl: ubuntu is good enough for those of us who choose it, as it gets better, more will choose it
sabdfl: our weakest points are the basic user experience (it feels fragmented and disjointed sometimes)
sabdfl: multimedia because of patents
sabdfl: and hardware support
sabdfl: i'm working on user experience with the Ayatana team
sabdfl: and hardware support is improving steadily as industry learns to love linux
jcastro: <aquarius> QUESTION: deals with big companies (Dell, Toshiba, etc) to sell machines with Ubuntu on are great; is there anything the community can do to help with that (other than "make Ubuntu fantastic!") or does it need to be all conference room discussions between partners and Canonical?
sabdfl: buy the machines and encourage others to do the same. nothing will accelerate it more than commercial success for the hardware companies who do take the Ubuntu plunge.