Shuttleford said Canonical has held off selecting the Edge's silicon because "we want to have a very good read on what the next-gen will be. We want to see real world benchmarks and give our backers a say in that sort of macro decision."

The phone is a grass roots effort in the same vein as Ubuntu itself, and though it can be hard to discern the right path among thousands of voices, Shuttleford seems a stalwart of the crowdfunding and crowdsourcing process.

And while it may look like an outlier or even a rebel, from its specs to its funding, he called the Edge "non-threatening" to phone makers. Canonical might even end up releasing the device under another brand's name, if it ends up working with a design manufacturer and "if that's what our backers want."

Ubuntu UI
Ubuntu's version of the UI

Ubuntu unfolds

Edge is grabbing the headlines today, but Canonical is plotting putting Ubuntu on four other devices - two mid-range and two high-end - for release next year. The devices will be for the mass market, meaning more conservative specifications, and conversations with potential phone maker partners are already underway.

The platform is still young, but Shuttleworth said it will be "interesting to see how [Ubuntu] translates" as computing evolves to areas like augmented reality and as it becomes "a platform for framing what's possible." When asked if he could see Ubuntu powering wearable tech, he offered a hearty "sure."

The future, from the founder's perspective, is appropriately wide open. But the company has the next 30 days to worry about first.

"If it succeeds, it's fantastic, and then it will be a lot of work," Shuttleworth said of the Indiegogo campaign. "If it doesn't work, I hope that what we'll have done is raise awareness of the crowdfunding mechanism to drive innovation.

"If [the Edge] is greenlighted, we'll tap into a much bigger brain trust than myself or the others at Canonical. We'll have broken the speed of sound, broken out of the atmosphere, but won't yet be in orbit."