Ubuntu (Linux distribution)

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This article is about Ubuntu Linux. For other uses of the term Ubuntu, please see Ubuntu (disambiguation).
Ubuntu logo.png
Ubuntu screenshot.png
Website www.ubuntu.com
Developed by Canonical Ltd
Software type Operating System
Latest release 10.10, October 10th 2010
Source model Open Source
Licence GPL
OS Family GNU/Linux
Kernel Type Monolithic (Linux)
Default UI Gnome

Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux Distribution created by Canonical Ltd. It is based on the ideas of the Ubuntu philosophy ("humanity towards others"). Its slogan is "Linux for human beings", reflecting its focus on ease of use. The latest release is 10.10, codenamed "Maverick Meerkat". Currently in development is version 11.04, codenamed "Natty Narwhal". Ubuntu is one of the most widely-discussed and possibly widely-used Linux distributions, and has received much praise and awards for being an easy to use Operating System. It has also been heavily criticized for some of the practices used in it's development process, which some state is an attempt to become a "mainstream OS". [1]

Development cycle

A new version of Ubuntu is released every six months, in April and October. The version number is made up of the year and the month that it was released. For example, Ubuntu 7.10 means that it was released in October (from the "10") 2007 (from the "07"). Each release also has a two-word "codename", which is used both during and after the development process, since many users tend to prefer names rather than numbers. The codename usually consists of an adjective and an animal name. Example, Ubuntu 10.10's codename is "Karmic Koala", and many in the Ubuntu/Linux community simply refer to it as "Karmic" or "Ubuntu Karmic". [2]After a release, development of the next release begins very quickly, to keep up with the 6 month release cycle. Each development cycle has Alpha releases, a Beta release and a Release Candidate before the final release.

The Ubuntu developers take a snapshot of the Debian Unstable repositories. They then focus on ensuring that all of these packages work, and upload newer version of packages when necessary. The release dates are designed so that updated versions of the X Window System and GNOME can be included.

History and releases

4.04 Warty Warthog was the first release of Ubuntu. At this time, the most popular Linux distributions were SUSE, Red Hat and Mandrake (now named Mandriva). Ubuntu began as a fork of Debian Unstable. The difference was that there would be regularly releases every six months, and releases would be based on a snapshot of Debian Unstable, allowing Ubuntu releases to be heavily tested before release. This was in contrast to Debian, where the only heavily-tested release is the Stable version, which is criticized for being out of date.

Version Codename Release date Supported until Notes
4.10 Warty Warthog 2004-10-20 2006-04-30 Included Linux kernel 2.6.7, XFree86 and GNOME 2.0.8. LiveCD available for x86 only, and Installation CD available for Intel x86, AMD64 and PowerPC.
5.04 Hoary Hedgehog 2005-04-08 2006-10-31 LiveCDs for all supported architectures. Graphical package manager and upgrade tool. Support for suspending and hibernating laptops
5.10 Breezy Badger 2005-10-13 2007-04-13 Linux Kernel with many updated drivers from third parties, GNOME 2.12.1, Graphical boot process with progress bar (USplash).


Dapper Drake 2006-06-01 Desktops 2009-06, Servers 2011-06 Ubuntu now installable to USB devices, such as removable hard drives and flash memory, using the text-mode installer.
6.10 Edgy Eft 2006-04 2008-10 Firefox 2.0 and OpenOffice 2.0.4 included.
7.04 Feisty Fawn 2007-10-18 2009-04 Linux 2.6.20, Windows migration tool introduced.
7.10 Gutsy Gibbon 2007-10-18 2009-04 Compiz-fusion introduced


Hardy Heron 2008-04-24 Desktops 2011-04, Servers 2013-04 GNOME upgrade to 2.26.1, Included Firefox 3 Beta 5.
8.10 Intrepid Ibex 2008-10-30 2010-04 Make Bootable USB Startup Disc introduced
9.04 Jaunty Jackalope 2009-04 2010-10 Linux 2.6.28, Support of the Ext4 file system added, OpenOffice 3.0
9.10 Karmic Koala 2009-10-29 2011-04 Ubuntu One (cloud computing client) added. Empathy replaces Pidgin as the default Instant Messaging program.
10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx 2010-04-29 2011-10 Linux 2.6.32, GNOME 2.3, Online Social Networking integration.
10.10 Maverick Meerkat 2010-10-10 2012-04 Ubuntu software center is re-designed and improved. Improved installer, with option to install proprietary codecs and software updates during the initial installation.
11.04 Natty Narwhal Not yet released GNOME will be upgraded to version 3.0. Unity will replace Gnome-Panel as the default window manager. Ubuntu plans to implement Wayland instead of X as the default graphical server.

User interface

Ubuntu uses the GNOME desktop environment. It includes graphical applications for most tasks, although it does still have a fully operational command line. The default look is the "Human" theme, which uses a caramel color in the active windows and menu items. Support for KDE is also available through installing the "kubuntu-desktop" package, or the Kubuntu distribution. Xubuntu does similarly for those who want to use the lightweight xfce window manager.


Ubuntu was originally distributed in two versions: a LiveCD and a text-based installation CD, and users were not able to install Ubuntu to the hard disk drive from the LiveCD. Now, however, Ubuntu releases have a graphical installer on the LiveCD, named Ubiquity, meaning that users can try the system before installing it, all on the same CD. There is also an option of a server CD, designed so that no graphical desktop is installed.

Canonical also run a system named "Shipit"; they ship CDs of the latest (and latest LTS) release completely free of charge to users. They are the only major Linux distribution to do this.