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Ubuntu chief Matt Zimmerman to leave Canonical

Canonical's chief technical officer, Matt Zimmerman, has announced his impending departure from the open-source company he helped to found in order to find 'new challenges.'

Zimmerman joined what was to become Canonical in 2004 as a member of the founding team, taking on the role of chief technical officer for the company's best-known creation: the user-friendly Ubuntu Linux distribution.

Despite some controversy in the Linux world - largely centred around the perception that Canonical fails to adequately deliver patches back upstream to the Debian project on which it's based, something the company is working to correct - Ubuntu has grown into one of the most popular Linux distributions for desktop and laptop use, and is gathering steam in the server market thanks to several supporting technologies developed by Canonical.

Zimmerman was one of the driving forces behind the project - but claims he won't be giving up all input into the future development of Ubuntu. "I intend to remain involved in the Ubuntu community," he explained in the announcement of his departure, "retaining my elected position on the governing Technical Board, and perhaps to make the occasional technical contribution as a volunteer."

Currently attending the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Budapest, Zimmerman has yet to officially comment on the reasons behind his departure from the company. Officially, he is "in search of new challenges," but at the time of writing has not responded to our request for clarification.

Whatever the reasons, Zimmerman is outwardly happy with the direction Canonical is taking his pet project. "The Ubuntu engineering organisation, which we call Platform, is a highly capable and motivated team," he claimed, "the best I’ve ever worked with in my career.

"Building and leading this team has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. I have every confidence in their ability to support Canonical’s mission in the years to come, and I’m excited to see how they will surprise me in the future."

Canonical has yet to confirm who will be taking over the role of chief technical officer once Zimmerman makes good his departure in June. "We have a great engineering management team in place now with Rick Spencer and Robbie Williamson, which is in many ways a legacy of Matt's," Canonical's Gerry Carr told thinq_. "So, continuity is not an issue. We will consider how we want to structure that leadership as we grow," he concluded.