Ubuntu () is a free and open-source Linux distribution based on Debian. Ubuntu is officially released in three editions: Desktop computer, Server, and Core (for internet of things devices and ). All the editions can run on the computer alone, or e.g. in Windows. Ubuntu is a popular operating system for cloud computing, with support for OpenStack.
Ubuntu is released every six months, with long-term support (LTS) releases every two years. The latest release is 19.04 ("Disco Dingo"), and the most recent long-term support release is 18.04 LTS ("Bionic Beaver"), which is supported until 2023 under public support and until 2028 as a paid option.
Ubuntu is developed by Canonical and the community under a Meritocracy governance model. Canonical provides security updates and support for each Ubuntu release, starting from the release date and until the release reaches its designated end-of-life (EOL) date. Canonical generates revenue through the sale of premium services related to Ubuntu.
Current long-term support (LTS) releases are supported for five years, and are released every two years. LTS releases get regular point releases with support for new hardware and integration of all the updates published in that series to date.
Ubuntu packages are based on packages from Debian's unstable branch. Both distributions use Debian's deb package format and package management tools (e.g. APT and Ubuntu Software). Debian and Ubuntu packages are not necessarily binary compatible with each other, however, so packages may need to be rebuilt from Source code 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. Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian, had expressed concern about Ubuntu packages potentially diverging too far from Debian to remain compatible. Before release, packages are imported from Debian unstable continuously and merged with Ubuntu-specific modifications. One month before release, imports are Feature freeze, 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 and Canonical announced the creation of the Ubuntu Foundation and provided an initial funding of US$10 million. The purpose of the foundation is to ensure the support and development for all future versions of Ubuntu. Mark Shuttleworth describes the foundation goal as to ensure the continuity of the Ubuntu project.
On 12 March 2009, Ubuntu announced developer support for third-party Cloud computing management platforms, such as those used at Amazon EC2.
GNOME 3 has been the default GUI for Ubuntu Desktop since Ubuntu 17.10, while Unity is still the default in older versions, including all current LTS versions except 18.04 LTS. However, a community-driven fork of Unity 8, called Yunit, has been created to continue the development of Unity. Shuttleworth wrote on 8 April 2017, "We will invest in Ubuntu GNOME with the intent of delivering a fantastic all-GNOME desktop. We're helping the Ubuntu GNOME team, not creating something different or competitive with that effort. While I am passionate about the design ideas in Unity, and hope GNOME may be more open to them now, I think we should respect the GNOME design leadership by delivering GNOME the way GNOME wants it delivered. Our role in that, as usual, will be to make sure that upgrades, integration, security, performance and the full experience are fantastic." Shuttleworth also mentioned that Canonical will cease development for Ubuntu Phone, Tablet, and convergence.
Ubuntu operates under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and all of the application software installed by default is free software. In addition, Ubuntu installs some hardware drivers that are available only in binary format, but such packages are clearly marked in the restricted component.
Most network ports are closed by default to prevent hacking. A built-in firewall allows end-users who install network servers to control access. A GUI (GUI for Uncomplicated Firewall) is available to configure it. Ubuntu compiles its packages using GCC features such as PIE and buffer overflow protection to harden its software. These extra features greatly increase security at the performance expense of 1% in 32-bit and 0.01% in 64-bit.
are the typical way for users to assess and subsequently install Ubuntu. These can be downloaded as a disk image (ISO image) and subsequently burnt to a DVD and booted, or run via UNetbootin directly from a USB drive (making, respectively, a live DVD or live USB medium). Running Ubuntu in this way is slower than running it from a hard drive, but does not alter the computer unless specifically instructed by the user. If the user chooses to boot the live image rather than execute an installer at boot time, there is still the option to then use an installer called Ubiquity to install Ubuntu once booted into the live environment. of all current and past versions are available for download at the Ubuntu web site. Various third-party programs such as remastersys and Reconstructor are available to create customized copies of the Ubuntu Live DVDs (or CDs). "Minimal CDs" are available (for server use) that fit on a CD.
Additionally, USB flash drive installations can be used to boot Ubuntu and Kubuntu in a way that allows permanent saving of user settings and portability of the USB-installed system between physical machines (however, the computers' BIOS must support booting from USB). In newer versions of Ubuntu, the Ubuntu Live USB creator can be used to install Ubuntu on a USB drive (with or without a live CD or DVD). Creating a bootable USB drive with persistence is as simple as dragging a slider to determine how much space to reserve for persistence; for this, Ubuntu employs casper.
The desktop edition can also be installed using the Netboot image (a.k.a. netboot tarball) which uses the debian-installer and allows certain specialist installations of Ubuntu: setting up automated deployments, upgrading from older installations without network access, LVM or RAID partitioning, installs on systems with less than about 256 MB of RAM (although low-memory systems may not be able to run a full desktop environment reasonably).
Free software includes software that has met the Ubuntu licensing requirements, which roughly correspond to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Exceptions, however, include firmware, in the Main category, because although Binary blob, their distribution is still permitted.
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 Device driver. 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. 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 Feature freeze after an initial release, Ubuntu Backports is an officially recognized repository for 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 are scheduled 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. 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 Acrobat, Skype and Wine are also able to be installed to run Windows software if the user desires.
Additionally, third-party application suites are available for purchase through Ubuntu Software, including many games such as Braid and Oil Rush, software for DVD playback and media codecs.
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 alliteration , using an adjective and an animal (e.g. "Xenial Xerus"). With the exception of the first two releases, code names are in alphabetical order, allowing a quick determination of which release is newer, at least until restarting the cycle with the release of Artful Aardvark in October 2017. Commonly, Ubuntu releases are referred to using only the adjective portion of the code name; for example, the 18.04 LTS release is commonly known as "Bionic".
Releases are timed to be approximately one month after GNOME releases (which in turn are about one month after releases of X.org). As a result, every Ubuntu release was introduced with an updated version of both GNOME and X. After major releases, the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) is held, at which the Ubuntu community sets the development direction for the next cycle. The latest such event, was held 5–7 May 2015, after Ubuntu 15.04 and planning 15.10.
Upgrades from one LTS release to the next LTS release (e.g. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and then to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS) are supported, while upgrades from non-LTS have only supported upgrade to the next release, regardless of its LTS status (e.g. Ubuntu 15.10 to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS).
Some versions have optional extended security maintenance (ESM) support available, including 14.04 "Trusty" (and 18.04) that are otherwise out of public support, adding support for that version up to 2021.
Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat), was released on 10 October 2010 (10–10–10). This departed from the traditional schedule of releasing at the end of October in order to get "the perfect 10", and makes a playful reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, since, in binary, 101010 equals decimal 42, the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything" within the series.
|Kubuntu||An official derivative of Ubuntu Linux using KDE instead of the GNOME or Unity interfaces used by default in Ubuntu.|
|Lubuntu||Lubuntu is a project that is an official derivative of the Ubuntu operating system that is "lighter, less resource hungry and more energy-efficient", using the LXQt desktop environment (used LXDE before 18.10).|
|Ubuntu Budgie||An official derivative of Ubuntu using Budgie.|
|Ubuntu Kylin||An official derivative aimed at the Chinese market.|
|Ubuntu MATE||An official derivative of Ubuntu using MATE, a desktop environment forked from the now-defunct GNOME 2 code base, with an emphasis on the desktop metaphor.|
|Ubuntu Server||Ubuntu has a server edition that uses the same APT repositories as the Ubuntu Desktop Edition. The differences between them are the absence of an X Window environment in a default installation of the server edition (although one can easily be installed, including Unity, GNOME, KDE or Xfce), and some alterations to the installation process. The server edition uses a screen-mode, character-based interface for the installation, instead of a graphical installation process. This enables installation on machines with a serial or "dumb terminal" interface without graphics support.
Since version 10.10, the server edition (like the desktop version) supports hardware virtualization and can be run in a virtual machine, either inside a host operating system or in a hypervisor, such as VMware ESXi, Oracle, Citrix Systems XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, QEMU, a Kernel-based Virtual Machine, or any other IBM PC compatible emulator or virtualizer. Ubuntu 7.10 and later turn on the AppArmor security module for the Linux kernel by default on key software packages, and the firewall is extended to common services used by the operating system.
It has up-to-date versions of key server software pre-installed, including: Tomcat (v8), PostgreSQL (v9.5), Docker v(1.10), Puppet (v3.8.5), Qemu (v2.5), Libvirt (v1.3.1), LXC (v2.0), and MySQL (v5.6).
|Ubuntu Studio||Based on Ubuntu, providing open-source applications for multimedia creation aimed at the audio, video and graphic editors.|
|Xubuntu||An official derivative of Ubuntu using Xfce. Xubuntu is intended for use on less-powerful computers or those who seek a highly efficient desktop environment on faster systems, and uses mostly GTK+ applications.|
|Edubuntu||A complete Linux based operating system targeted for primary and secondary education. It is freely available with community based support. The Edubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Edubuntu Manifesto: that software, especially for education, should be available free of charge and that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities. No longer under active development.|
|Gobuntu||Gobuntu was an official derivative of the Ubuntu operating system, aiming to provide a distribution consisting entirely of free software. It was officially announced by Mark Shuttleworth on 10 July 2007, and daily builds of Gobuntu 7.10 began to be publicly released. The project ended around the release of 8.04 and has since merged into mainline Ubuntu as a "free software" option.|
|Mythbuntu||Based on Ubuntu and MythTV, providing applications for recording TV and acting as a media centre. On 4 November 2016, the development team announced the end of Mythbuntu as a separate distribution, citing insufficient developers.|
|Ubuntu for Android||Designed for use with Android phones. Ubuntu for Android website No longer under active development.|
|Ubuntu GNOME||Formerly an official Ubuntu variant, but since 17.10, which uses Gnome Shell as its default desktop and GDM as its display manager, this has been merged into mainline releases.|
|Ubuntu JeOS||"Just Enough OS" – was described as "an efficient variant ... configured specifically for virtual appliances". Since the release of Ubuntu 8.10 it has been included as an option as part of the standard Ubuntu Server Edition.|
|Ubuntu Mobile||An embedded operating system designed for use on . The operating system will use Hildon from maemo as its graphical frontend. Ubuntu Touch is a successor to Ubuntu Mobile.|
|Ubuntu Netbook Edition||Netbook Edition was an official derivative of Ubuntu designed for using the Intel Atom processor. Starting from Ubuntu 11.04, Ubuntu Netbook Edition has been merged into the desktop edition.|
|Ubuntu Touch||Designed for use with touchscreen devices.|
|Ubuntu TV||Designed for use with Smart TV. Ubuntu TV website|
Ubuntu 11.04 added support for OpenStack, with Eucalyptus to OpenStack migration tools added by Canonical in Ubuntu Server 11.10. Ubuntu 11.10 added focus on OpenStack as the Ubuntu's preferred IaaS offering though Eucalyptus is also supported. Another major focus is Canonical Juju for provisioning, deploying, hosting, managing, and orchestrating enterprise data center infrastructure services, by, with, and for the Ubuntu Server.
W3Techs Web Technology Surveys estimated in September 2016 that:
W3Techs analyzes the top 10 million websites only. It considers Linux a subcategory of Unix and estimated in the same month that 66.7% of the analyzed websites use Unix, under that broad definition.
Wikimedia Foundation data (based on user agent) for September 2013 shows that Ubuntu generated the most page requests to Wikimedia sites, including Wikipedia, among recognizable Linux distributions.
The city of Munich, Germany, forked Kubuntu 10.04 LTS and created LiMux for use on the city's computers. After originally planning to migrate 12,000 desktop computers to LiMux, it was announced in December 2013 that the project had completed successfully with the migration of 14,800 out of 15,500 desktop computers, but still keeping about 5000 Windows clients for unported applications. In February 2017 the majority coalition decided, against heavy protest from the opposition, to evaluate the migration back to Windows, after Microsoft had decided to move its company headquarters to Munich. Governing Mayor Dieter Reiter cited lack of compatibility with systems outside of the administrative sector, such as requiring a governmental mail server to send e-mails to his personal smartphone, as reasons for the return, but has been criticised for evaluating administrative IT based on private and business standards.
In March 2012, the government of Iceland launched a project to get all public institutions using free and open-source software. Already, several government agencies and schools have adopted Ubuntu. The government cited cost savings as a big factor for the decision, and also stated that open-source software avoids vendor lock-in. A 12-month project was launched to migrate the biggest public institutions in Iceland to using open-source software, and help ease the migration for others. US president Barack Obama's successful campaign for re-election in 2012 used Ubuntu in its IT department. In August 2014, the city of Turin, Italy, announced its migration from Windows XP to Ubuntu for the 8,300 desktop computers used by the municipality, becoming the first city in Italy to adopt Ubuntu.
In 2008, Jamie Hyneman, co-host of the American television series MythBusters, advocated Linux (giving the example of Ubuntu) as a solution to software bloat. Other celebrity users of Ubuntu include science fiction writer Cory Doctorow
In January 2014, the UK's authority for computer security, CESG, reported that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS was "the only operating system that passes as many as 9 out of 12 requirements without any significant risks".
From October 2012, it sent the user's queries through a secure HTTPS connection from the home lens to productsearch.ubuntu.com, which then polled Amazon.com to find relevant products; Amazon then sent product images directly to the user's computer through HTTP. If the user clicked on one of these results and then bought something, Canonical received a small commission on the sale.
In 2012, many reviewers criticized it: as the home lens is the normal means to search for content on the local machine, reviewers were concerned about the disclosure of queries that were intended to be local, creating a privacy problem. As the feature is active by default instead of opt-in, many users could be unaware of it.
Some users chose to turn it off or to remove the feature using a patch. An April 2014 article by Scott Gilbertson stated that the online search components of Ubuntu could be turned off with a couple of clicks in version 14.04.
The Unity desktop environment was discontinued in Ubuntu 17.10, in favour of GNOME, which has no support for Unity lenses. An Amazon shopping icon still appears in the Ubuntu Dock by default, but merely opens the default web browser with Canonical's referral link.
Dell sells computers (initially Inspiron 14R and 15R laptops) pre-loaded with Ubuntu in India and China, with 850 and 350 retail outlets respectively. Starting in 2013, Alienware began offering its X51 model gaming desktop pre-installed with Ubuntu at a lower price than if it were pre-installed with Windows.
While Linux already works in IBM's mainframe system (zLinux), IBM in collaboration with Canonical (and SUSE; "Linux Foundation will form a new Open Mainframe Project") announced Ubuntu support for their z/Architecture (IBM claims their latest system, IBM zEnterprise System, version z13 is the most powerful computer in the world; it is the largest computer by transistor count) for the first time, at the time of their "biggest code drop" ("LinuxOne") in Linux history.