Canonical Reviews

Updated September 18, 2014
Updated September 18, 2014
27 Reviews
3.4
27 Reviews
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Canonical CEO Jane Silber
Jane Silber
18 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great and spontaneous

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Field Engineer  in  Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Field Engineer in Austin, TX

    I have been working at Canonical full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Lots of freedom in the job. No micro-managing from management. Company encourages employees to think out of the box and learn new things outside of their regular duties.

    Cons

    Not necessarily a con, but, you definitely have to be resourceful in that if you want something fixed, often times you have to do it yourself. Some customer-facing roles have no defined formal escalation paths to get technical issues addressed in a timely matter.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Canonical - Ubuntu labrats

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales Representative  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Sales Representative in Boston, MA

    I worked at Canonical full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Good Salary
    - Worked remotely from home
    - Travel perks when working abroad
    - Great colleagues and made friends for life

    Cons

    - Dealing with inept senior managers who had no idea what their customers were buying and why
    - Canonical is run by their maniacal founder their Benevolent Dictator
    - The Veeps there are clueless to the real needs of the Business and will not listen to their sales force
    - FOSS technology and community is important but it is not more salient than building a stable product that meets customer needs
    - Stupid business model of giving away the software for free then berating and badgering users for NOT becoming paying customers. D'oh! This part cannot be emphasized enough.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Read "Winning" by Jack Welch, a real business leader and success

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Canonical or Comical?????

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Canonical as a contractor for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Decent Salary. Most people work from home. Worked with some great people who become great friends. Technology is very cool.

    Cons

    Sr. Management is clueless. No logical business sense. The sales organization is very very small compared to the overall size of the company. Sales are not respected or even encouraged to tell you the truth. Every year the focus changes to a new product or new vertical. ALL of the products are free, 100% and there is no reason for any other company to seek help or resources from Canonical.
    One guy runs the show for the whole company, if he ever gets bored with Ubuntu or Openstack watch out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    How about take some management training and learn how to actually run a company to make a profit. 10 years later the company is still not profitable. Much of this failure comes from Senior management in London and Boston. They have no authority or skill to run a global company.
    Do your homework before you take an offer to work here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great technology; smart engineering; lots of politics.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Canonical full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Good pay.
    Excellent technology.
    Great engineers.

    Cons

    Little/no room for advancement.
    Strategic focus is lost on pursuing contract engineering.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    US-based outlook: Mixed experience for software professionals.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Canonical

    Pros

    Friendly co-workers that you want to stay in touch with. Most have prior industry experience and behave professionally. I saw the young ones starting new families, which is always a good sign. While benefits are thin, new employees are welcome to negotiate salaries aggressively.

    Cons

    Ubuntu has a lot of cache among techies. As a Linux/GNU operating system, that's rightfully so. But Canonical is another matter. It's a tech company where people can have good and bad experiences. A software developer's experience varies, depending on the project, the job function and the manager.

    For example, prior reviewers in the Lexington office expressed disappointment with "packaging" jobs. This is true. Yet at the same time, there's a lot of excitement and enthusiasm among those involved with other parts of Ubuntu. To be fair, this is true at any tech company.

    When I was there, I saw a rotating door for technical staff. A good number voluntarily left; others were let go. Personally what sank my commitment was the remark I heard from one technical manager, something that goes like this: "Ultimately, (software) engineers are replaceable."

    That last point isn't too big a surprise so long as one keeps in mind that Canonical is a for-profit company sitting atop a system built on open source sweat and devotion, huge in numbers and enthusiasm. In this situation, engineering talent is, to be blunt, cheap. At least from the top looking downwards, it appears so.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    On employee morale. The last few years have been recessionary, at least in the US. Common wisdom says that there's one thing that makes employees jump ship during a bad economy: poor experience with immediate management.

    However, the company isn't faced with a deficit in enthusiasm (*enthusiasm* — 3rd time I used this word here!), technical talent and leadership potential. Promote engineering supervisors/managers from the rank and file. Lean into existing line managers to beef up their game.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Let's reinvent all the things!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Canonical full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Working from home, travel, and if you really want, you can surely get away with producing like 0 value, but still get paid.

    Cons

    Unlike virtually every other technology company in the world, not even top engineers get equity. You better negotiate a high salary, because that's all you get!
    (and they will pay top of the market - you probably have to lie about your previous salary. do it)

    And the man who owns it all, makes seriously questionable decisions - often spending a year reinventing technology that already exists, because they can't work with the community. And in the end the new version is worse.. anyway...

    I don't actually ever see Canonical making it big. Nothing ever works right, at the technology level, and internal turmoil is rampant.

    Almost the entire rank of VPs were re-hired in 1.5 years. And there are completely dysfunctional teams run by pets of the owner, who are ruining Canonical, but are un-fireable.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Small, dynamic company behind Ubuntu Linux operating system.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Alliances
    Former Employee - Alliances

    I worked at Canonical full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    - Opportunity to work with other bright people on projects with some of the world's largest technology and IT companies for some of the world's largest IT users
    - Strong technical capabilities
    - Opportunity to stay current with latest trends and emerging opportunities.
    - Strong community and awareness supporting the popular Ubuntu operating system.
    - Opportunity to work from home in Canonical's highly distributed company.
    - Opportunities to see new places at periodic Company gatherings.
    - Growth opportunities in tackling new challenges.

    Cons

    Working from remote office can be challenging. (With colleagues around the world someone's always working and depending on your role you could be "always on call.") Requires personal discipline to stop working and focus on personal life.
    Takes more personal effort to know what's going on, avoid feelings of separation and isolation.)
    I missed live social interaction with colleagues.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide stable enough vision and direction for employees and partners to sustain efforts. Avoid moving to the next new thing so quickly the "baby gets thrown out with the bathwater." It's good to be "in the game" but need wins along the way to sustain ongoing efforts and confidence.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Very mixed - can be a startup experience without the financial rewards, or drudge work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  Lexington, MA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Lexington, MA

    I have been working at Canonical full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    A lot of smart people, potential for interesting work and technology for the right person in the right place. As long as you're enthused and energized it can be very rewarding. The company suits top notch hackers with diverse skills and unbounded enthusiasm.

    Cons

    Packaging OSes has a lot of drudge work around it. A lot of positions in Canonical are quite tedious. The more interesting work is around the company's effort to redefine itself as a products company. However, those efforts seem very scatter-gun.

    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Good life balance, but low technique content.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  Taipei (Taiwan)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Taipei (Taiwan)

    I have been working at Canonical full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    * Good life balance, famous company behind Ubuntu.
    * Can do interesting user space development.

    Cons

    * doing boring routine jobs when you are in the oem(mainstream) team.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    no promotion path.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Canonical full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Quirky
    Start up culture
    Lost of very smart people to collaborate with.
    Ability to create your own path if you are focussed and determined.
    Awesome work location in City
    Free fruit, Drinks and Friday Nights on the roof terrace 11th floor are fun.

    Cons

    Quirky
    Startup culture
    No benefits - it used to pay slightly higher than industry norm to cover this but not the case anymore

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1)Recruitment feels like an everlasting process despite agreed headcount, every time a person leaves there is a lengthy process to re-recruit agreed positions. if the position is agreed at the beginning of the year, let managers get on and do the job without the red tape.
    2) More regular management updates - about company performance.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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