Martin Wimpress, Ubuntu desktop lead, has announced he is leaving Canonical.
Sharing the news on Twitter, Martin says he is leaving the company ‘soon’ to take up a new role with the folks at Slim.ai.
Martin joined Canonical’s Ubuntu’s desktop team back in 2017, and became its desktop lead in 2019, taking over the role from Will Cooke.
But (as most of you will know) Martin has a much longer history with the wider open source community thanks, in part, to his role in the creation of Ubuntu MATE, his work on the MATE desktop environment, and his starring role as co-host on the official Ubuntu Podcast.
Ubuntu MATE fans sweating at this news can breathe: Martin says he plans to continue leading the Ubuntu MATE flavour going forward (hurrah) and will remain active in the wider Ubuntu and Snapcraft communities (phew).
Sad news? Yeah.
Martin has been a first-rate captain of the Ubuntu mothership, as the reaction to the most recent Ubuntu LTS release proves. His successor (assuming there is one!) will need big feet to fill out his shoes (assuming he leaves them behind).
Open source is more than just code, it’s a momentum; a kind of kinetic force that’s always hurtling forwards, towards a better ideal, whatever shape it might take. Code is inert; those 1s and 0s can’t really do anything on their own. They only come alive because of people — people like Martin. People are the true assemblers.
So while I’m sad to hear Martin is leaving Canonical, I’m relieved to hear he’s not leaving the Ubuntu community. His skills, enthusiasm, knowledge, experience, and —please don’t cringe— charisma are valuable assets for us to have.
Raise a cup of coffee (or perhaps a mug of Maté) to him, all he’s done, and all he’s yet to do.