Ubuntu (operating system)
Overview
 
Ubuntu is a computer operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

 based on the Debian
Debian
Debian is a computer operating system composed of software packages released as free and open source software primarily under the GNU General Public License along with other free software licenses. Debian GNU/Linux, which includes the GNU OS tools and Linux kernel, is a popular and influential...

 Linux distribution
Linux distribution
A Linux distribution is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Such distributions are operating systems including a large collection of software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, media players, and database applications...

 and distributed as free and open source software
Free and open source software
Free and open-source software or free/libre/open-source software is software that is liberally licensed to grant users the right to use, study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code...

. It is named after the Southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

n philosophy of Ubuntu ("humanity towards others"). Ubuntu is designed primarily for use on personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

s, although a server
Server (computing)
In the context of client-server architecture, a server is a computer program running to serve the requests of other programs, the "clients". Thus, the "server" performs some computational task on behalf of "clients"...

 edition also exists.

Ubuntu is sponsored by the UK-based company Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd. is a private company founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu Linux and related projects. Canonical is registered in London and employs staff around the world...

, owned by South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Richard Shuttleworth is a South African entrepreneur who was the second self-funded space tourist. Shuttleworth founded Canonical Ltd. and as of 2010, provides leadership for the Ubuntu operating system...

. Canonical generates revenue by selling technical support
Technical support
Technical support or tech support refers to a range of services by which enterprises provide assistance to users of technology products such as mobile phones, televisions, computers, software products or other electronic or mechanical goods...

 and services related to Ubuntu, while the operating system itself is entirely free of charge.
Encyclopedia
Ubuntu is a computer operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

 based on the Debian
Debian
Debian is a computer operating system composed of software packages released as free and open source software primarily under the GNU General Public License along with other free software licenses. Debian GNU/Linux, which includes the GNU OS tools and Linux kernel, is a popular and influential...

 Linux distribution
Linux distribution
A Linux distribution is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Such distributions are operating systems including a large collection of software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, media players, and database applications...

 and distributed as free and open source software
Free and open source software
Free and open-source software or free/libre/open-source software is software that is liberally licensed to grant users the right to use, study, change, and improve its design through the availability of its source code...

. It is named after the Southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

n philosophy of Ubuntu ("humanity towards others"). Ubuntu is designed primarily for use on personal computer
Personal computer
A personal computer is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator...

s, although a server
Server (computing)
In the context of client-server architecture, a server is a computer program running to serve the requests of other programs, the "clients". Thus, the "server" performs some computational task on behalf of "clients"...

 edition also exists.

Ubuntu is sponsored by the UK-based company Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd. is a private company founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu Linux and related projects. Canonical is registered in London and employs staff around the world...

, owned by South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Richard Shuttleworth is a South African entrepreneur who was the second self-funded space tourist. Shuttleworth founded Canonical Ltd. and as of 2010, provides leadership for the Ubuntu operating system...

. Canonical generates revenue by selling technical support
Technical support
Technical support or tech support refers to a range of services by which enterprises provide assistance to users of technology products such as mobile phones, televisions, computers, software products or other electronic or mechanical goods...

 and services related to Ubuntu, while the operating system itself is entirely free of charge. The Ubuntu project is entirely committed to the principles of free software development; people are encouraged to use free software, improve it, and pass it on.

History and development process

Ubuntu is a fork
Fork (software development)
In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a legal copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct piece of software...

 of the Debian
Debian
Debian is a computer operating system composed of software packages released as free and open source software primarily under the GNU General Public License along with other free software licenses. Debian GNU/Linux, which includes the GNU OS tools and Linux kernel, is a popular and influential...

 project's codebase
Codebase
The term codebase, or code base, is used in software development to mean the whole collection of source code used to build a particular application or component. Typically, the codebase includes only human-written source code files, and not, e.g., source code files generated by other tools or...

. The original aim of the Ubuntu team was to create an easy-to-use Linux desktop with new releases scheduled on a predictable six-month basis, resulting in a more frequently updated system.

Ubuntu's first release was on 20 October 2004. Since then, Canonical has released new versions of Ubuntu every six months with commitment to support each release for eighteen months by providing security fixes, patches
Patch (computing)
A patch is a piece of software designed to fix problems with, or update a computer program or its supporting data. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs, and improving the usability or performance...

 to critical bugs and minor updates to programs. It was decided that every fourth release, issued on a two-year basis, would receive long-term support (LTS). LTS releases were traditionally supported for three years on the desktop and five years on the server. However with the upcoming release of Ubuntu LTS 12.04, desktop support is to be extended to a period of five years (April 2017) for LTS releases. Support was extended to better accommodate business and corporate IT users of Ubuntu who operate on longer release cycles and are more conscious of the costs associated with frequent software upgrades.

The latest LTS release is Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), released on 29 April 2010, while the latest normal release is Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot), released on 13 October 2011.

Ubuntu packages are based on packages from Debian's unstable branch: both distributions use Debian's deb
Deb (file format)
deb is the extension of the Debian software package format and the most often used name for such binary packages. Like the "Deb" part of the term Debian, it originates from the name of Debra, erstwhile girlfriend and now ex-wife of Debian's founder Ian Murdock.Debian packages are also used in...

 package
Software package (installation)
In package management systems, which are commonly used with Linux-based operating systems, a package is a specific piece of software which the system can install and uninstall....

 format and package management tools (APT
Advanced Packaging Tool
The Advanced Packaging Tool, or APT, is a free user interface that works with core libraries to handle the installation and removal of software on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and its variants...

 and Synaptic
Synaptic Package Manager
Synaptic is a computer program which is a GTK+ graphical user interface front-end to the Advanced Packaging Tool for the Debian package management system. Synaptic is usually used on systems based on deb packages but can also be used on systems based on RPM packages...

). Debian and Ubuntu packages are not necessarily binary compatible with each other, however, and sometimes .deb packages may need to be rebuilt from source
Source code
In computer science, source code is text written using the format and syntax of the programming language that it is being written in. Such a language is specially designed to facilitate the work of computer programmers, who specify the actions to be performed by a computer mostly by writing source...

 to be used in Ubuntu. Many Ubuntu developers are also maintainers of key packages within Debian. Ubuntu cooperates with Debian by pushing changes back to Debian, although there has been criticism that this does not happen often enough. In the past, Ian Murdock
Ian Murdock
Ian Murdock is the founder of the Debian distribution and Progeny Linux Systems, a commercial Linux company.- Life and career :Murdock was born in Konstanz, Germany....

, the founder of Debian, has expressed concern about Ubuntu packages potentially diverging too far from Debian to remain compatible. Before release, packages are imported from Debian Unstable
Unstable (Debian)
In the Debian jargon, unstable is the development distribution of Debian. It is codenamed sid...

 continuously and merged with Ubuntu-specific modifications. A month before release, imports are frozen, and packagers then work to ensure that the frozen features interoperate well together.

Ubuntu is currently funded by Canonical Ltd. On 8 July 2005, Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Richard Shuttleworth is a South African entrepreneur who was the second self-funded space tourist. Shuttleworth founded Canonical Ltd. and as of 2010, provides leadership for the Ubuntu operating system...

 and Canonical Ltd. announced the creation of the Ubuntu Foundation
Ubuntu Foundation
The Ubuntu Foundation is a purpose trust founded by Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Ltd. to ensure the long-term maintenance of the Ubuntu Linux distribution independently of the commercial activities of Canonical Ltd...

 and provided an initial funding of US$10 million. The purpose of the foundation is to ensure the support and development
Software development
Software development is the development of a software product...

 for all future versions of Ubuntu. Mark Shuttleworth describes the foundation as an "emergency fund" (in case Canonical's involvement ends).

On 12 March 2009, Ubuntu announced developer support for 3rd party cloud
Cloud computing
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network ....

 management platforms, such as for those used at Amazon EC2.

Features

Ubuntu is composed of many software packages, the vast majority of which are distributed under a free software license. The only exceptions are some proprietary
Proprietary software
Proprietary software is computer software licensed under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. The licensee is given the right to use the software under certain conditions, while restricted from other uses, such as modification, further distribution, or reverse engineering.Complementary...

 hardware drivers. The main license used is the GNU General Public License
GNU General Public License
The GNU General Public License is the most widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU Project....

 (GNU GPL) which, along with the GNU Lesser General Public License
GNU Lesser General Public License
The GNU Lesser General Public License or LGPL is a free software license published by the Free Software Foundation . It was designed as a compromise between the strong-copyleft GNU General Public License or GPL and permissive licenses such as the BSD licenses and the MIT License...

 (GNU LGPL), explicitly declares that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change, develop and improve the software. On the other hand, there is also proprietary software available that can run on Ubuntu. Ubuntu focuses on usability
Usability
Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object. The object of use can be a software application, website, book, tool, machine, process, or anything a human interacts with. A usability study may be conducted as a primary job function by a usability analyst or as a secondary job...

, security and stability. The Ubiquity installer allows Ubuntu to be installed to the hard disk from within the Live CD
Live CD
A live CD, live DVD, or live disc is a CD or DVD containing a bootable computer operating system. Live CDs are unique in that they have the ability to run a complete, modern operating system on a computer lacking mutable secondary storage, such as a hard disk drive...

 environment, without the need for restarting the computer prior to installation. Ubuntu also emphasizes accessibility
Accessibility
Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" and benefit from some system or entity...

 and internationalization
Internationalization
In economics, internationalization has been viewed as a process of increasing involvement of enterprises in international markets, although there is no agreed definition of internationalization or international entrepreneurship...

 to reach as many people as possible. Beginning with 5.04, UTF-8
UTF-8
UTF-8 is a multibyte character encoding for Unicode. Like UTF-16 and UTF-32, UTF-8 can represent every character in the Unicode character set. Unlike them, it is backward-compatible with ASCII and avoids the complications of endianness and byte order marks...

 became the default character encoding
Character encoding
A character encoding system consists of a code that pairs each character from a given repertoire with something else, such as a sequence of natural numbers, octets or electrical pulses, in order to facilitate the transmission of data through telecommunication networks or storage of text in...

, which allows for support of a variety of non-Roman scripts. As a security feature, the sudo
Sudo
sudo is a program for Unix-like computer operating systems that allows users to run programs with the security privileges of another user...

 tool is used to assign temporary privileges for performing administrative tasks, allowing the root account to remain locked, and preventing inexperienced users from inadvertently making catastrophic system changes or opening security holes. PolicyKit
PolicyKit
PolicyKit is an operating system component for controlling system-wide privileges in Unix-like operating systems. It provides an organized way for non-privileged processes to communicate with privileged ones. In contrast to systems such as sudo, it does not grant root permission to an entire...

 is also being widely implemented into the desktop to further harden
Security focused operating system
This is an alphabetical list of operating systems with a sharp security focus. Their order does not imply rank.In our context, "Security-focused" means that the project is devoted to increasing the security as a major goal...

 the system through the principle of least privilege
Principle of least privilege
In information security, computer science, and other fields, the principle of least privilege, also known as the principle of minimal privilege or just least privilege, requires that in a particular abstraction layer of a computing environment, every module must be able to access only the...

.

Ubuntu Desktop includes a graphical desktop environment
Desktop environment
In graphical computing, a desktop environment commonly refers to a style of graphical user interface derived from the desktop metaphor that is seen on most modern personal computers. These GUIs help the user in easily accessing, configuring, and modifying many important and frequently accessed...

. In versions prior to 11.04 the default GUI was GNOME Panel but it was dropped in favor of Unity, a graphical interface Canonical first developed for the Ubuntu Netbook Edition.

Ubuntu comes installed with a wide range of software that includes LibreOffice
LibreOffice
LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite developed by The Document Foundation as a fork of OpenOffice.org. It is largely compatible with other major office suites, including Microsoft Office, and available on a variety of platforms...

 (OpenOffice
OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org, commonly known as OOo or OpenOffice, is an open-source application suite whose main components are for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. OpenOffice is available for a number of different computer operating systems, is distributed as free software...

 in versions prior to 11.04), Firefox
Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source web browser descended from the Mozilla Application Suite and managed by Mozilla Corporation. , Firefox is the second most widely used browser, with approximately 25% of worldwide usage share of web browsers...

, Mozilla Thunderbird
Mozilla Thunderbird
Mozilla Thunderbird is a free, open source, cross-platform e-mail and news client developed by the Mozilla Foundation. The project strategy is modeled after Mozilla Firefox, a project aimed at creating a web browser...

 (Evolution in versions prior to 11.10), Empathy
Empathy (software)
Empathy is an instant messaging client which supports text, voice, video, file transfers, and inter-application communication over various IM protocols....

 (Pidgin
Pidgin (software)
Pidgin is an open-source multi-platform instant messaging client, based on a library named libpurple. Libpurple has support for many commonly used instant messaging protocols, allowing the user to log into various services from one application.The number of Pidgin users was estimated to be over 3...

 in versions before 9.10), Transmission, GIMP
GIMP
GIMP is a free software raster graphics editor. It is primarily employed as an image retouching and editing tool and is freely available in versions tailored for most popular operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, and Linux.In addition to detailed image retouching and...

 (in versions prior to 10.04), and several lightweight games (such as Sudoku
Sudoku
is a logic-based, combinatorial number-placement puzzle. The objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 sub-grids that compose the grid contains all of the digits from 1 to 9...

 and chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

). Additional software that is not installed by default can be downloaded and installed using the Ubuntu Software Center
Ubuntu Software Center
Ubuntu Software Center is a computer program for browsing, installing and removing software on the Ubuntu operating system. Based upon the GNOME application, gnome-app-install, which is similar in function and appearance, it serves as a GTK+ graphical user interface front-end to the Advanced...

 or the package manager
Package management system
In software, a package management system, also called package manager, is a collection of software tools to automate the process of installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing software packages for a computer's operating system in a consistent manner...

 Synaptic, which come pre-installed in versions prior to 11.10. Ubuntu allows networking ports
TCP and UDP port
In computer networking, a port is an application-specific or process-specific software construct serving as a communications endpoint in a computer's host operating system. A port is associated with an IP address of the host, as well as the type of protocol used for communication...

 to be closed using its firewall
Firewall (computing)
A firewall is a device or set of devices designed to permit or deny network transmissions based upon a set of rules and is frequently used to protect networks from unauthorized access while permitting legitimate communications to pass....

, with customized port selection available. End-users can install Gufw (GUI for Uncomplicated Firewall) and keep it enabled. GNOME
GNOME
GNOME is a desktop environment and graphical user interface that runs on top of a computer operating system. It is composed entirely of free and open source software...

 (the former default desktop) offers support for more than 46 languages. Ubuntu can also run many programs designed for Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 (such as Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is a non-free commercial office suite of inter-related desktop applications, servers and services for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, introduced by Microsoft in August 1, 1989. Initially a marketing term for a bundled set of applications, the first version of...

), through Wine
Wine (software)
Wine is a free software application that aims to allow computer programs written for Microsoft Windows to run on Unix-like operating systems. Wine also provides a software library, known as Winelib, against which developers can compile Windows applications to help port them to Unix-like...

 or using a Virtual Machine (such as VMware Workstation
VMware Workstation
VMware Workstation is a virtual machine software suite for x86 and x86-64 computers from VMware, a division of EMC Corporation, which allows users to set up multiple x86 and x86-64 virtual machines and use one or more of these virtual machines simultaneously with the hosting operating system...

 or VirtualBox
VirtualBox
Oracle VM VirtualBox is an x86 virtualization software package, originally created by software company Innotek GmbH, purchased by Sun Microsystems, and now developed by Oracle Corporation as part of its family of virtualization products...

).

Ubuntu, unlike Debian, compiles their packages using gcc
GNU Compiler Collection
The GNU Compiler Collection is a compiler system produced by the GNU Project supporting various programming languages. GCC is a key component of the GNU toolchain...

 features such as PIE
Position-independent code
In computing, position-independent code or position-independent executable is machine instruction code that executes properly regardless of where in memory it resides...

 and Buffer overflow protection to harden their software. These extra features greatly increase security at the performance expense of 1% in 32 bit and 0.01% in 64 bit
X86-64
x86-64 is an extension of the x86 instruction set. It supports vastly larger virtual and physical address spaces than are possible on x86, thereby allowing programmers to conveniently work with much larger data sets. x86-64 also provides 64-bit general purpose registers and numerous other...

.

System requirements

The desktop version of Ubuntu currently supports the x86 32 bit and 64 bit
X86-64
x86-64 is an extension of the x86 instruction set. It supports vastly larger virtual and physical address spaces than are possible on x86, thereby allowing programmers to conveniently work with much larger data sets. x86-64 also provides 64-bit general purpose registers and numerous other...

 architectures. Unofficial support is available for the PowerPC
PowerPC
PowerPC is a RISC architecture created by the 1991 Apple–IBM–Motorola alliance, known as AIM...

, IA-64 (Itanium)
Itanium
Itanium is a family of 64-bit Intel microprocessors that implement the Intel Itanium architecture . Intel markets the processors for enterprise servers and high-performance computing systems...

 and PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 architectures (note however that Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

 officially removed support for OtherOS on the PS3 with firmware 3.21, released on 1 April 2010), as well as ARM mobile processors (see HTC HD2
HTC HD2
The HTC HD2 , is a smartphone belonging to the HTC Touch family, manufactured by HTC and running the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. The phone was designed and manufactured by HTC, and was released in Europe in November 2009, and in December 2009 in Hong Kong...

). A supported GPU
Graphics processing unit
A graphics processing unit or GPU is a specialized circuit designed to rapidly manipulate and alter memory in such a way so as to accelerate the building of images in a frame buffer intended for output to a display...

 is required to enable desktop visual effects
Compositing window manager
A compositing window manager is a type of window manager. A window manager is software that draws a graphical user interface on a computer display – it positions windows, draws additional elements on windows , and controls how windows interact with each other, and with the rest of the desktop...

, including the Unity shell. In case such a GPU is not available the GUI falls back to a 2D version of Unity.
Current Minimum Requirements Server
Server (computing)
In the context of client-server architecture, a server is a computer program running to serve the requests of other programs, the "clients". Thus, the "server" performs some computational task on behalf of "clients"...

Desktop
Desktop environment
In graphical computing, a desktop environment commonly refers to a style of graphical user interface derived from the desktop metaphor that is seen on most modern personal computers. These GUIs help the user in easily accessing, configuring, and modifying many important and frequently accessed...

Processor
Central processing unit
The central processing unit is the portion of a computer system that carries out the instructions of a computer program, to perform the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. The CPU plays a role somewhat analogous to the brain in the computer. The term has been in...

 (x86
IA-32
IA-32 , also known as x86-32, i386 or x86, is the CISC instruction-set architecture of Intel's most commercially successful microprocessors, and was first implemented in the Intel 80386 as a 32-bit extension of x86 architecture...

) with the i686 instruction set
300 MHz 700 MHz
Memory (RAM)
Ram
-Animals:*Ram, an uncastrated male sheep*Ram cichlid, a species of freshwater fish endemic to Colombia and Venezuela-Military:*Battering ram*Ramming, a military tactic in which one vehicle runs into another...

128 MiB
Mebibyte
The mebibyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The binary prefix mebi means 220, therefore 1 mebibyte is . The unit symbol for the mebibyte is MiB. The unit was established by the International Electrotechnical Commission in 2000 and has been accepted for use by all major...

384 MiB
Hard Drive (free space) GB
Gigabyte
The gigabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage. The prefix giga means 109 in the International System of Units , therefore 1 gigabyte is...

5 GB
Monitor Resolution
Display resolution
The display resolution of a digital television or display device is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. It can be an ambiguous term especially as the displayed resolution is controlled by all different factors in cathode ray tube , flat panel or projection...

640×480 1024×768


Tests reveal that among the four major desktop environments, a default installation of Ubuntu has the lowest possible memory utilization when used with LXDE
LXDE
LXDE is a free and open source desktop environment for Unix and other POSIX compliant platforms, such as Linux or BSD. The goal of the project is to provide a desktop environment that is fast and energy efficient...

 0.5, with Xfce
Xfce
Xfce is a free software desktop environment for Unix and other Unix-like platforms, such as Linux, Solaris, and BSD – though recent compatibility issues have arisen with regard to BSD Unix platforms...

 4.6 ranking second and GNOME
GNOME
GNOME is a desktop environment and graphical user interface that runs on top of a computer operating system. It is composed entirely of free and open source software...

 2.29 third, while the desktop with the highest RAM usage is KDE
KDE Software Compilation
The KDE Software Compilation is a desktop environment and an associated range of KDE Applications produced by KDE. Prior to version 4.4, released in February 2010, the Software Compilation was known as KDE, which used to stand for K Desktop Environment until November 2009...

 4.4.

Installation

Installation of Ubuntu is generally performed with the Live CD
Live CD
A live CD, live DVD, or live disc is a CD or DVD containing a bootable computer operating system. Live CDs are unique in that they have the ability to run a complete, modern operating system on a computer lacking mutable secondary storage, such as a hard disk drive...

 or can be installed via a Live USB
Live USB
A live USB is a USB flash drive or a USB external hard disk drive containing a full operating system that can be booted. Live USBs are closely related to live CDs, but sometimes have the ability to persistently save settings and permanently install software packages back onto the USB device...

 drive. The Ubuntu OS can be run directly from the CD (sometimes with a significant performance loss), allowing a user to "test-drive" the OS for hardware compatibility and driver support. The CD also contains the Ubiquity installer
Ubiquity (software)
Ubiquity is a simple Linux installer for Ubuntu and its derivatives. It runs on LiveCD and has a Qt frontend and a GTK+ frontend. Ubiquity was first introduced in Ubuntu 6.06 .-Features:* Internationalization support...

, which can then guide the user through the permanent installation process. CD images of all current and past versions are available for download at the Ubuntu web site. Installing from the CD requires a minimum of 256 MiB
MIB
MIB may refer to any of several concepts:* Master of International Business, a postgraduate business degree* Melayu Islam Beraja, the adopted national philosophy of Brunei* Motion induced blindness, a visual illusion in peripheral vision...

 of RAM.

Users can download a disk image (.iso) of the CD, which can then either be written to a physical medium (CD or DVD), or optionally run directly from a hard drive (via UNetbootin
UNetbootin
UNetbootin is a cross-platform utility that can create live USB systems and can load a variety of system utilities or install various Linux distributions and other operating systems without a CD.- USB Install :...

 or GRUB). Ubuntu is also available on ARM
ARM architecture
ARM is a 32-bit reduced instruction set computer instruction set architecture developed by ARM Holdings. It was named the Advanced RISC Machine, and before that, the Acorn RISC Machine. The ARM architecture is the most widely used 32-bit ISA in numbers produced...

, PowerPC
PowerPC
PowerPC is a RISC architecture created by the 1991 Apple–IBM–Motorola alliance, known as AIM...

, SPARC
SPARC
SPARC is a RISC instruction set architecture developed by Sun Microsystems and introduced in mid-1987....

, and IA-64 platforms, although none are officially supported.

Canonical offered Ubuntu and Kubuntu Live installation CDs of the latest distribution of the operating system at no cost (though discontinued as of April 2011), including paid postage for destinations in most countries around the world (via a service called ShipIt). Various third-party programs such as remastersys
Remastersys
remastersys is a free and open source programfor Debian, Ubuntu-based, or derivative software systems that can:* Create a customized Live CD/DVD of Debian and its derivatives....

 and Reconstructor
Reconstructor
Reconstructor is a program that allows anyone to customize an ISO image of Ubuntu or its variants .-Features:*Ability to add software to the new compilation *Ability to enable all the repositories and add custom ones...

 are available to create customised copies of the Ubuntu Live CDs.

A Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 migration tool, called Migration Assistant (introduced in April 2007), can be used to import bookmarks, desktop background
Computer wallpaper
Wallpaper is an image used as a background of a graphical user interface on a computer screen or mobile communications device. On a computer it is usually for the desktop, while for a mobile phone it is usually the background for the 'home' or 'idle' screen...

 (wallpaper), and various settings from an existing MS Windows installation into a new Ubuntu installation.

Ubuntu and Kubuntu can be booted and run from a USB Flash drive
USB flash drive
A flash drive is a data storage device that consists of flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus interface. flash drives are typically removable and rewritable, and physically much smaller than a floppy disk. Most weigh less than 30 g...

 (as long as the BIOS
BIOS
In IBM PC compatible computers, the basic input/output system , also known as the System BIOS or ROM BIOS , is a de facto standard defining a firmware interface....

 supports booting from USB), with the option of saving settings to the flashdrive. This allows a portable installation that can be run on any PC which is capable of booting from a USB drive. In newer versions of Ubuntu, the USB creator
Ubuntu Live USB creator
Ubuntu Live USB creator is an official tool to create Live USBs of Ubuntu from the Live CD or from an ISO image. The tool is by default included in all releases after Ubuntu 8.04, and can be installed on Ubuntu 8.04. A KDE frontend was released for Ubuntu 8.10, and is currently included by default...

 program is available to install Ubuntu on a USB drive
Live USB
A live USB is a USB flash drive or a USB external hard disk drive containing a full operating system that can be booted. Live USBs are closely related to live CDs, but sometimes have the ability to persistently save settings and permanently install software packages back onto the USB device...

 (with or without a LiveCD disc).

Wubi, which is included as an option on the Live CD, allows Ubuntu to be installed and run from within a virtual Windows loop device
Loop device
In Unix-like operating systems, a loop device, vnd , or lofi is a pseudo-device that makes a file accessible as a block device....

 (as a large image file that is managed like any other Windows program via the Windows Control Panel
Control Panel (Windows)
The Control Panel is a part of the Microsoft Windows graphical user interface which allows users to view and manipulate basic system settings and controls via applets, such as adding hardware, adding and removing software, controlling user accounts, and changing accessibility options...

). This method requires no partitioning of a Windows user's hard drive. Wubi also makes use of the Migration Assistant to import users' settings. It also incurs a slight performance loss.

Package classification and support

Ubuntu divides all software into four domains to reflect differences in licensing and the degree of support available. Some unsupported applications receive updates from community members, but not from Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd. is a private company founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu Linux and related projects. Canonical is registered in London and employs staff around the world...


Free software Non-free software
Supported Main Restricted
Unsupported Universe Multiverse


Free software includes only software that has met the Ubuntu licensing requirements, which roughly correspond to the Debian Free Software Guidelines
Debian Free Software Guidelines
The Debian Free Software Guidelines is a set of guidelines that the Debian Project uses to determine whether a software license is a free software license, which in turn is used to determine whether a piece of software can be included in Debian...

. Exceptions, however, include firmware
Firmware
In electronic systems and computing, firmware is a term often used to denote the fixed, usually rather small, programs and/or data structures that internally control various electronic devices...

 and fonts
Computer font
A computer font is an electronic data file containing a set of glyphs, characters, or symbols such as dingbats. Although the term font first referred to a set of metal type sorts in one style and size, since the 1990s it is generally used to refer to a scalable set of digital shapes that may be...

, in the Main category, because although they are not allowed to be modified, their distribution is otherwise unencumbered.

Non-free software is usually unsupported (Multiverse), but some exceptions (Restricted) are made for important non-free software. Supported non-free software includes device drivers that can be used to run Ubuntu on some current hardware, such as binary-only graphics card drivers
Device driver
In computing, a device driver or software driver is a computer program allowing higher-level computer programs to interact with a hardware device....

. The level of support in the Restricted category is more limited than that of Main, because the developers may not have access to the source code
Source code
In computer science, source code is text written using the format and syntax of the programming language that it is being written in. Such a language is specially designed to facilitate the work of computer programmers, who specify the actions to be performed by a computer mostly by writing source...

. It is intended that Main and Restricted should contain all software needed for a complete desktop environment. Alternative programs for the same tasks and programs for specialized applications are placed in the Universe and Multiverse categories.

In addition to the above, in which the software does not receive new features after an initial release, Ubuntu Backports is an officially recognized repository for backporting newer software from later versions of Ubuntu. The repository is not comprehensive; it consists primarily of user-requested packages, which are approved if they meet quality guidelines. Backports receives no support at all from Canonical, and is entirely community-maintained.

The -updates repository provides stable release updates (SRU) of Ubuntu and are generally installed through update-manager. Each release is given its own -updates repository (e.g. intrepid-updates). The repository is supported by Canonical Ltd. for packages in main and restricted, and by the community for packages in universe and multiverse. All updates to the repository must meet certain requirements and go through the -proposed repository before being made available to the public. Updates will continue to be available until the end of life for the release.

In addition to the -updates repository, the unstable -proposed repository contains uploads which must be confirmed before being copied into -updates. All updates must go through this process to ensure that the patch does truly fix the bug and there is no risk of regression
Software regression
A software regression is a software bug which makes a feature stop functioning as intended after a certain event...

. Updates in -proposed are confirmed by either Canonical or members of the community.

Canonical's partner repository lets vendors of proprietary software deliver their products to Ubuntu users at no cost through the same familiar tools for installing and upgrading software. The software in the partner repository is officially supported with security and other important updates by its respective vendors. Canonical supports the packaging of the software for Ubuntu and provides guidance to vendors. The partner repository is disabled by default and can be enabled by the user. Some popular products distributed via the partner repository are Adobe Flash Player
Adobe Flash Player
The Adobe Flash Player is software for viewing multimedia, Rich Internet Applications and streaming video and audio, on a computer web browser or on supported mobile devices. Flash Player runs SWF files that can be created by the Adobe Flash authoring tool, by Adobe Flex or by a number of other...

, Adobe Reader
Adobe Acrobat
Adobe Acrobat is a family of application software developed by Adobe Systems to view, create, manipulate, print and manage files in Portable Document Format . All members of the family, except Adobe Reader , are commercial software, while the latter is available as freeware and can be downloaded...

, Skype
Skype
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chat over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system...

 and Sun Java.

Availability of third-party software

Ubuntu has a certification system for third party software. Some third-party software that does not limit distribution is included in Ubuntu's multiverse component. The package ubuntu-restricted-extras
Ubuntu-restricted-extras
ubuntu-restricted-extras is a software package for the computer operating system Ubuntu that allows the user to install essential software which is not already included due to legal or copyright reasons.It is a meta-package that installs:...

additionally contains software that may be legally restricted, including support for MP3
MP3
MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression...

 and DVD
DVD-Video
DVD-Video is a consumer video format used to store digital video on DVD discs, and is currently the dominant consumer video format in Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia. Discs using the DVD-Video specification require a DVD drive and a MPEG-2 decoder...

 playback, Microsoft TrueType core fonts, Sun's
Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems, Inc. was a company that sold :computers, computer components, :computer software, and :information technology services. Sun was founded on February 24, 1982...

 Java runtime environment
Java Virtual Machine
A Java virtual machine is a virtual machine capable of executing Java bytecode. It is the code execution component of the Java software platform. Sun Microsystems stated that there are over 4.5 billion JVM-enabled devices.-Overview:...

, Adobe's
Adobe Systems
Adobe Systems Incorporated is an American computer software company founded in 1982 and headquartered in San Jose, California, United States...

 Flash Player
Adobe Flash Player
The Adobe Flash Player is software for viewing multimedia, Rich Internet Applications and streaming video and audio, on a computer web browser or on supported mobile devices. Flash Player runs SWF files that can be created by the Adobe Flash authoring tool, by Adobe Flex or by a number of other...

 plugin, many common audio/video codec
Codec
A codec is a device or computer program capable of encoding or decoding a digital data stream or signal. The word codec is a portmanteau of "compressor-decompressor" or, more commonly, "coder-decoder"...

s, and unrar, an unarchiver for files compressed
Data compression
In computer science and information theory, data compression, source coding or bit-rate reduction is the process of encoding information using fewer bits than the original representation would use....

 in the RAR file format
RAR (file format)
RAR stands for Roshal ARchive. It is a proprietary archive file format that supports data compression, error recovery, and file spanning...

.

Additionally, third party application suites are available for purchase through the Canonical
Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd. is a private company founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu Linux and related projects. Canonical is registered in London and employs staff around the world...

 web-based store, including software for DVD playback and media codecs.

Releases

Version Code name Release date Supported until
Desktop Server
4.10 Warty Warthog 2004-10-20 2006-04-30
5.04 Hoary Hedgehog 2005-04-08 2006-10-31
5.10 Breezy Badger 2005-10-13 2007-04-13
6.06 LTS Dapper Drake 2006-06-01 2009-07-14 2011-06-01
6.10 Edgy Eft 2006-10-26 2008-04-25
7.04 Feisty Fawn 2007-04-19 2008-10-19
7.10 Gutsy Gibbon 2007-10-18 2009-04-18
8.04 LTS Hardy Heron 2008-04-24 2011-05-12 2013-04
8.10 Intrepid Ibex 2008-10-30 2010-04-30
9.04 Jaunty Jackalope 2009-04-23 2010-10-23
9.10 Karmic Koala 2009-10-29 2011-04-30
10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx 2010-04-29 2013-04 2015-04
10.10 Maverick Meerkat 2010-10-10 2012-04
11.04 Natty Narwhal 2011-04-28 2012-10
11.10 Oneiric Ocelot 2011-10-13 2013-04
12.04 LTS Precise Pangolin 2012-04-26 2017-04 2017-04
Colour Meaning
Red Release no longer supported
Green Release still supported
Blue Future Release


Each Ubuntu release has a version number that consists of the year and month number of the release. For example, the first release was Ubuntu 4.10 as it was released on 20 October 2004. Version numbers for future versions are provisional; if the release is delayed the version number changes accordingly.

Ubuntu releases are also given alliterative
Alliteration
In language, alliteration refers to the repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of Three or more words or phrases. Alliteration has historically developed largely through poetry, in which it more narrowly refers to the repetition of a consonant in any syllables that, according to...

 code name
Code name
A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. Code names are often used for military purposes, or in espionage...

s, using an adjective and an animal (e.g., "Dapper Drake" and "Intrepid Ibex"). With the exception of the first three releases, code names are in consecutive alphabetical order, allowing a quick determination of which release is newer. "We might skip a few letters, and we'll have to wrap eventually." says Mark Shuttleworth while describing the naming scheme. Commonly, Ubuntu releases are referred to using only the adjective portion of the code name.

Releases are timed to be approximately one month after GNOME releases (which in turn are about one month after releases of X.org
X.Org
X.Org refers to several things related to the X Window System:* X.Org, the organisation in charge of X standards from 1999 * The X.Org Foundation, a community-based foundation which took over X stewardship in 2004...

). Consequently, every Ubuntu release comes with an updated version of both GNOME and X.

Upgrades between releases have to be done from one release to the next release (e.g. Ubuntu 10.04 to Ubuntu 10.10) or from one LTS release to the next LTS release (e.g. Ubuntu 8.04 LTS to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS).

Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat), was released on 10 October 2010 (10/10/10). This is a departure from the traditional schedule of releasing at the end of October to get "the perfect 10", and a playful reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy series created by Douglas Adams. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, it was later adapted to other formats, and over several years it gradually became an international multi-media phenomenon...

, since, in binary
Binary numeral system
The binary numeral system, or base-2 number system, represents numeric values using two symbols, 0 and 1. More specifically, the usual base-2 system is a positional notation with a radix of 2...

, 101010 is equal to the number 42, the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything" within the series.

Ubuntu 11.04 was released on 28 April 2011, and is code named "Natty Narwhal". The desktop interface of this release significantly differs from the previous releases because Unity was introduced as the default GUI. It is possible to switch into "classic" GUI (GNOME Shell) but this feature was initially buggy. The new GUI has received strong criticism from some users as too different from and less capable than GNOME, while other users have found they prefer the new approach and the minimalism compared to the older desktop paradigm.

Variants

Official Ubuntu editions, which are created and maintained by Canonical and the Ubuntu community and receive full support from Canonical, its partners and the Community, are the following:
  • Ubuntu Desktop, designed for desktop and laptop PCs. (Formerly there was also Ubuntu Netbook Edition, designed for netbooks and other ultra-portables with screens up to 10", but it was discontinued as its user interface and functionality was integrated into the desktop edition.) The desktop edition can be also installed using the alternate install CD which uses the debian-installer and allows performing certain specialist installations of Ubuntu: setting up automated deployments, upgrading from older installations without network access, LVM and/or RAID partitioning, installs on systems with less than about 256 MiB of RAM (although note that low-memory systems may not be able to run a full desktop environment reasonably).

  • Ubuntu Server, made for use in servers. The server install CD allows the user to install Ubuntu permanently on a computer for use as a server. It will not install a graphical user interface.

There are many Ubuntu variants (or derivatives) based on the official Ubuntu editions. These Ubuntu variants install a set of packages that differ from the official Ubuntu distributions.

The variants recognized by Canonical as contributing significantly towards the Ubuntu project are the following:
  • Edubuntu
    Edubuntu
    Edubuntu, also previously known as Ubuntu Education Edition, is an official derivative of the Ubuntu operating system designed for use in classrooms inside schools, homes and communities....

    , a GNOME-based subproject and add-on for Ubuntu, designed for school environments and home users.
  • Kubuntu
    Kubuntu
    Kubuntu is an official derivative of the Ubuntu operating system using the KDE Plasma Desktop instead of the Unity graphical environment. It is part of the Ubuntu project and uses the same underlying system. It is possible to install both the KDE Plasma Desktop as well as the Unity desktop on...

    , a desktop distribution using the KDE Plasma Workspaces desktop environment rather than GNOME
    GNOME
    GNOME is a desktop environment and graphical user interface that runs on top of a computer operating system. It is composed entirely of free and open source software...

    .
  • Lubuntu
    Lubuntu
    Lubuntu is a lightweight Linux operating system based on Ubuntu but using the LXDE desktop environment in place of Ubuntu's Unity shell and GNOME desktop...

    , a lightweight distribution using the LXDE
    LXDE
    LXDE is a free and open source desktop environment for Unix and other POSIX compliant platforms, such as Linux or BSD. The goal of the project is to provide a desktop environment that is fast and energy efficient...

     desktop environment.
  • Mythbuntu
    Mythbuntu
    Mythbuntu is a media center operating system . It is based on Ubuntu and integrates the MythTV Media center software as its main function, and does not install with all of the programs included with Ubuntu....

    , designed for creating a home theater PC with MythTV
    MythTV
    MythTV is a free and open source home entertainment application with a simplified "10-foot user interface" design for the living-room TV, and turns a computer with the necessary hardware into a network streaming digital video recorder, a digital multimedia home entertainment system, or home theater...

     and uses the Xfce
    Xfce
    Xfce is a free software desktop environment for Unix and other Unix-like platforms, such as Linux, Solaris, and BSD – though recent compatibility issues have arisen with regard to BSD Unix platforms...

     desktop environment.
  • Ubuntu Studio
    Ubuntu Studio
    Ubuntu Studio is an officially recognized derivative of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, which is explicitly geared to general multimedia production. The original version, based on Ubuntu 7.04, was released on May 10, 2007.-Real-time kernel:...

    , a distribution made for professional video and audio editing, comes with higher-end free editing software and is a DVD .iso image unlike the Live CD the other Ubuntu distributions use.
  • Xubuntu
    Xubuntu
    Xubuntu is a Canonical Ltd. recognized, community maintained derivative of the Ubuntu operating system, using the Xfce desktop environment.The name Xubuntu is a portmanteau of Xfce and Ubuntu...

    , a distribution based on the Xfce
    Xfce
    Xfce is a free software desktop environment for Unix and other Unix-like platforms, such as Linux, Solaris, and BSD – though recent compatibility issues have arisen with regard to BSD Unix platforms...

     desktop environment instead of GNOME, designed to run more efficiently on low-specification computers.


Mythbuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu and Gobuntu are not commercially supported by Canonical.

Other variants are created and maintained by individuals and organizations outside of Canonical and they are self governed projects that work more or less closely with the Ubuntu community.

Ubuntu Server Edition

Ubuntu also offers its operating system in a server edition. The current version is Ubuntu 10.04 Long Term Support (LTS) release, which will receive continued updates until April 2015. These include updates to support new features of the latest computing hardware, security patches and updates to the 'Ubuntu stack' (cloud computing infrastructure).
Ubuntu 10.04 Server Edition will also run on VMware ESX Server
VMware ESX Server
VMware ESX is an enterprise-level computer virtualization product offered by VMware, Inc. ESX is a component of VMware's larger offering, VMware Infrastructure, and adds management and reliability services to the core server product...

, Oracle's VirtualBox
VirtualBox
Oracle VM VirtualBox is an x86 virtualization software package, originally created by software company Innotek GmbH, purchased by Sun Microsystems, and now developed by Oracle Corporation as part of its family of virtualization products...

 and VM, Citrix Systems XenServer hypervisors, as well as Kernel-based Virtual Machine
Kernel-based Virtual Machine
Kernel-based Virtual Machine is a virtualization infrastructure for the Linux kernel. KVM supports native virtualization on processors with hardware virtualization extensions....

. Ubuntu uses AppArmor
AppArmor
AppArmor is a security module for the Linux kernel, released under the GNU General Public License. AppArmor allows the system administrator to associate with each program a security profile that restricts the capabilities of that program. It supplements the traditional Unix discretionary access...

 security module for the Linux kernel
Linux kernel
The Linux kernel is an operating system kernel used by the Linux family of Unix-like operating systems. It is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software....

 which is turned on by default on key software packages, and the firewall is extended to common services used by the operating system. The home and Private directories are also encrypted. The 10.04 server version includes MySQL 5.1, Tomcat 6, OpenJDK 6, Samba 3.4, Nagios 3, PHP 5.3, Python 2.6. Many of its services only take 30 minutes to configure.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition supports two major architectures: Intel x86 and AMD64. The server edition provides features such file/print services, web hosting, email hosting, etc. There are a few differences between the Ubuntu Server Edition and the Ubuntu Desktop Edition although both use the same apt repositories. The main difference between the two editions is the lack of a default installation of a X window environment in the server edition, although GUIs can be installed like GNOME/Unity (Ubuntu 11.04), KDE (Kubuntu 11.04), XFCE, (Xubuntu 11.04), as well as more resource-economical GUIs such as Fluxbox, Openbox and Blackbox. Kernel versions also differ. The server edition uses a screen mode character based interface for the installation, instead of a graphical installation process. The server CD also has the option of installing Ubuntu enterprise cloud.

Ubuntu Server is also distributed free of charge. Users can choose to pay for consulting and technical support. Annual support contract with 9x5 business hour support is about $750 per server, and a contract covering 24x7 over a year costs $1,200.

Cloud computing

Ubuntu Server Edition offers technology and resources to make a private or public cloud
Cloud computing
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network ....

. Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) provides virtualization capability, applications and flexibility to help deploy a cloud within an organization. It consists of the open core
Open core
Open core is a business model where an open source product is also made available commercially with non-open-source additions...

 Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus (computing)
Eucalyptus is a software platform for the implementation of private cloud computing on computer clusters. There is an open-core enterprise edition and an open-source edition. Currently, it exports a user-facing interface that is compatible with the Amazon EC2 and S3 services but the platform is...

, libvirt
Libvirt
libvirt is an open source API, daemon and management tool for managing platform virtualization. It can be used to manage Linux KVM, Xen, VMware ESX and other virtualization technologies...

, KVM
Kernel-based Virtual Machine
Kernel-based Virtual Machine is a virtualization infrastructure for the Linux kernel. KVM supports native virtualization on processors with hardware virtualization extensions....

 or Xen
Xen
Xen is a virtual-machine monitor providing services that allow multiple computer operating systems to execute on the same computer hardware concurrently....

 virtualization technology.

Ubuntu 11.04 adds support for OpenStack
OpenStack
OpenStack is an IaaS cloud computing project by Rackspace Cloud and NASA. Currently more than 120 companies have joined the project among which are Citrix Systems, Dell, AMD, Intel, Canonical, SUSE Linux, HP, and Cisco...

, and Eucalyptus to OpenStack migration tools will be released by Canonical in Ubuntu Server 11.10.

Development

The Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) is a gathering of software developers which occurs prior to the release of a new public version of Ubuntu.

At the beginning of a new development cycle, Ubuntu developers from around the world gather to help shape and scope the next release of Ubuntu. The summit is open to the public, but it is not a conference, exhibition or other audience-oriented event. Rather, it is an opportunity for Ubuntu developers, who usually collaborate online, to work together in person on specific tasks.

Installed base

Chris Kenyon, vice president for OEM at Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd.
Canonical Ltd. is a private company founded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu Linux and related projects. Canonical is registered in London and employs staff around the world...

, indicates that because of a lack of registration, any numbers provided for Ubuntu distributions should be treated as estimates. Nevertheless, a number of estimates and the results of surveys have been provided. In January 2009, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 reported that Ubuntu had over ten million users. In June 2009 ZDNet
ZDNet
ZDNet is a business technology news website published by CBS Interactive, along with TechRepublic and SmartPlanet. The brand was founded on April 1, 1991 as a general interest technology portal from Ziff Davis and evolved into an enterprise IT-focused online publication owned by CNET...

 reported, "Worldwide, there are 13 million active Ubuntu users with use growing faster than any other distribution.", though Kenyon provided a more conservative estimate of 12 million users in April 2010. In fall 2011 Canonical estimated that Ubuntu holds a global usage of more than 20 million users. According to an independent survey by W3Techs.com Ubuntu is fourth most popular on web servers and rapidly increasing in popularity as web server, according to queries by BuiltWith.

Known large scale deployments

The public sector has also made use of Ubuntu. The Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

 deployed more than 180,000 Ubuntu GNU/Linux based classroom desktops, and has encouraged every student in the country to use Ubuntu-powered computer workstations. In the beginning of 2008, having successfully deployed 13,000 Fedora Linux
Fedora (operating system)
Fedora is a RPM-based, general purpose collection of software, including an operating system based on the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat...

 systems in schools in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, ASI, an independent Linux consultant company, was contracted to provide 10,000 Ubuntu systems for schools. The French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 police, having already started using open source software in 2005 by replacing Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is a non-free commercial office suite of inter-related desktop applications, servers and services for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, introduced by Microsoft in August 1, 1989. Initially a marketing term for a bundled set of applications, the first version of...

 with OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org, commonly known as OOo or OpenOffice, is an open-source application suite whose main components are for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. OpenOffice is available for a number of different computer operating systems, is distributed as free software...

, decided to transition to Ubuntu from Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...

 after the release of Windows Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

 in 2006. By March 2009, the Gendarmerie Nationale had already switched 5000 workstations to Ubuntu. Based on the success of that transition, it planned to switch 15,000 more over by the end of 2009 and to have switched all 90,000 workstations over by 2015. Lt. Colonel Guimard announced that the move was very easy and allowed for a 70% saving on the IT budget without having to reduce its capabilities.

According to Softpedia
Softpedia
Softpedia is an Internet web site that indexes information and provides software downloads. The site also covers major technology, science, health, and entertainment news from both external and in-house sources and provides software and game reviews. , it is one of the top 500 websites according to...

, Ubuntu 10.04 was adopted by the Indian Justice system in 2011.

Reception by critics

Ubuntu was awarded the Reader Award for best Linux distribution at the 2005 LinuxWorld Conference and Expo
LinuxWorld Conference and Expo
OpenSource World is a conference and trade show that focuses on open source and Linux solutions in the information technology sector.The show is owned and managed by IDG World Expo, a business unit of International Data Group...

 in London, received favorable reviews in online and print publications, and has won InfoWorld
InfoWorld
InfoWorld is an information technology online media and events business operating under the umbrella of InfoWorld Media Group, a division of IDG...

's 2007 Bossie Award for Best Open Source Client OS. In early 2008 PC World
PC World (magazine)
PC World is a global computer magazine published monthly by IDG. It offers advice on various aspects of PCs and related items, the Internet, and other personal-technology products and services...

named Ubuntu the "best all-around Linux distribution available today", though it criticized the lack of an integrated desktop effects manager.

In an August 2007 survey of 38,500 visitors on DesktopLinux.com, Ubuntu was the most popular distribution with 30.3% of respondents claiming to use it. Based on page impressions on DistroWatch
DistroWatch
DistroWatch is a website which provides news, popularity rankings, and other general information about various Linux distributions as well as other free software/open source Unix-like operating systems such as OpenSolaris, MINIX and BSD. It now contains information on several hundred distributions...

, up to April 2011 Ubuntu was ranked as the most popular distribution. Later that year it fell to second place in popularity, after Linux Mint
Linux Mint
Linux Mint is a Linux-based computer operating system best known for its usability and ease of installation, particularly for users with no previous GNU/Linux experience...

 which is mostly based on Ubuntu.

In 2008, Jamie Hyneman
Jamie Hyneman
James Franklin "Jamie" Hyneman is an American special effects expert, best known for being the co-host of the television series MythBusters. He is also the owner of M5 Industries, the special effects workshop where MythBusters is filmed...

, co-host of the American television series Mythbusters
MythBusters
MythBusters is a science entertainment TV program created and produced by Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. The series is screened by numerous international broadcasters, including Discovery Channel Australia, Discovery Channel Latin America, Discovery Channel Canada, Quest...

, advocated Linux (specifically giving the example of Ubuntu) as an alternative operating system, citing software bloat
Software bloat
Software bloat is a process whereby successive versions of a computer program include an increasing proportion of unnecessary features that are not used by end users, or generally use more system resources than necessary, while offering little or no benefit to its users.-Causes:Software developers...

 as a major hurdle in Microsoft Windows. Other celebrity users of Ubuntu include science fiction writer and open content proponent Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow
Cory Efram Doctorow is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books...

.

Local Communities (LoCos)

In an effort to reach out to users who are less technical, and to foster a sense of community around the distribution, Local Communities, better known as "LoCos", have been established throughout the world. Originally, each country had one LoCo Team. However, in some areas, most notably the United States, each state or province may establish a team. A LoCo Council approves teams based upon their efforts to aid in either the development or the promotion of Ubuntu.

Vendor support

A number of vendors offer computers with Ubuntu pre-installed, including Hasee, Dell
Dell
Dell, Inc. is an American multinational information technology corporation based in 1 Dell Way, Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells and supports computers and related products and services. Bearing the name of its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest...

, Tesco
Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

, OP3, Gliese IT, System76, Ohava Computers, Lotus Computers, Sharp Corporation
Sharp Corporation
is a Japanese multinational corporation that designs and manufactures electronic products. Headquartered in Abeno-ku, Osaka, Japan, Sharp employs more than 55,580 people worldwide as of June 2011. The company was founded in September 1912 and takes its name from one of its founder's first...

 and the South African company Bravium Computers. Dell and System76 customers are able to choose between 30-day, three-month, and yearly Ubuntu support plans through Canonical. Dell computers (running Ubuntu 10.04) include extra support for ATI
Ati
As a word, Ati may refer to:* Ati, a town in Chad* Ati, a Negrito ethnic group in the Philippines* Ati-Atihan Festival, an annual celebration held in the Philippines* Ati, a queen of the fabled Land of Punt in Africa...

 Video Graphics, Dell Wireless, Fingerprint Readers, HDMI
HDMI
HDMI is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data. It is a digital alternative to consumer analog standards, such as radio frequency coaxial cable, composite video, S-Video, SCART, component video, D-Terminal, or VGA...

, Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a proprietary open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks with high levels of security...

, DVD
DVD-Video
DVD-Video is a consumer video format used to store digital video on DVD discs, and is currently the dominant consumer video format in Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia. Discs using the DVD-Video specification require a DVD drive and a MPEG-2 decoder...

 playback (using LinDVD
LinDVD
LinDVD from Corel is a commercial proprietary software for Linux for the playback of DVDs and other multimedia files. The latest version now supports ultra-mobile PCs and mobile internet devices , as well as a streaming media and a wider range of standard and high-definition video and audio...

), and MP3
MP3
MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression...

/WMA
Windows Media Audio
Windows Media Audio is an audio data compression technology developed by Microsoft. The name can be used to refer to its audio file format or its audio codecs. It is a proprietary technology that forms part of the Windows Media framework. WMA consists of four distinct codecs...

/WMV
Windows Media Video
'Windows Media Video is a video compression format for several proprietary codecs developed by Microsoft. The original video format, known as WMV, was originally designed for Internet streaming applications, as a competitor to RealVideo. The other formats, such as WMV Screen and WMV Image, cater...

. Asus
ASUS
ASUSTeK Computer Incorporated is a multinational computer technology and consumer electronics product manufacturer headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. Its product range includes motherboards, desktops, laptops, monitors, tablet PCs, servers and mobile phones...

 is also selling some Asus Eee PC
ASUS Eee PC
The Asus Eee PC is a subnotebook/netbook computer line from ASUSTeK Computer Incorporated, and a part of the Asus Eee product family. At the time of its introduction in late 2007, it was noted for its combination of a light weight, Linux operating system, solid-state drive , and relatively low cost...

s with Ubuntu pre-installed, namely the 1001PXD, 1011PX and 1015PX models, announcing that "many more" Eee PC models running Ubuntu will be available in 2011. Vodafone
Vodafone
Vodafone Group Plc is a global telecommunications company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest mobile telecommunications company measured by revenues and the world's second-largest measured by subscribers , with around 341 million proportionate subscribers as of...

 has made available a notebook for the South-African market called "Webbook".

See also

  • Computer technology for developing areas
    Computer technology for developing areas
    Computer technology for developing areas is the donation of technology to developing areas by individuals and organizations . However, donating technology without first coordinating its use, maintenance and final disposal can lead to misuse and potential problems.-Opportunity:Developing countries...

  • Free culture movement
    Free Culture movement
    The free culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content by using the Internet and other forms of media....

  • Linux User Group
    Linux User Group
    A Linux User Group or Linux Users' Group or GNU/Linux User Group is a private, generally non-profit or not-for-profit organization that provides support and/or education for Linux users, particularly for inexperienced users...

  • List of Linux distributions
  • List of Ubuntu-based distributions
  • Open-source software
    Open-source software
    Open-source software is computer software that is available in source code form: the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software.Open...

  • Ubuntu Certified Professional
    Ubuntu Certified Professional
    Ubuntu Certified Professional , which was first introduced in May 2006, is a computer based examination about the Ubuntu operating system.It is administered by the LPI foundation....


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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