Ubuntu was initially forked from the Debian project’s code base. The aim was to release a new version of Ubuntu every six months, resulting in a more frequently updated system. Ubuntu’s first release was on October 20, 2004. The name Ubuntu, pronounced IPA: in English, comes from the Zulu word “ubuntu”, translated as “humanity to others”, describing the ubuntu philosophy: “I am what I am because of who we all are”, a positive aspect of community.
New releases of Ubuntu coincide a month after GNOME releases. In contrast to previous general-purpose forks of Debian — such as MEPIS, Xandros, Linspire, Progeny and Libranet, many of which relied on proprietary and closed source add-ons as part of their business model — Ubuntu has stayed closer to Debian’s philosophy and uses free (libre) software, making an exception only for some proprietary hardware drivers.
Ubuntu packages are based on packages from Debian’s unstable branch: both distributions use Debian’s deb package format and package management tools, APT and Synaptic, although Debian and Ubuntu packages are not necessarily binary compatible with each other, and may need to be rebuilt from source. Ubuntu cooperates with Debian — to some extent pushing changes back to Debian, although there has been criticism that this doesn’t happen often enough. Many Ubuntu developers are also maintainers of key packages within Debian. However, Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian, expressed concern about Ubuntu packages diverging too far from Debian Sarge to remain compatible.
Before release, packages are imported from Debian Unstable continuously and merged with Ubuntu-specific modifications. A month before release, imports are frozen, and soon after a feature freeze is instated, which allows for packagers to work on ensuring that the current software works well, rather than supporting the moving target that is Unstable.
Ubuntu is currently funded by Canonical Ltd. On July 8, 2005, Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Ltd 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 as an emergency fund in case Canonical’s involvement ends.
The Ubuntu logo and typography has remained the same since that first release. The hand-drawn, lowercase OpenType font used is called Ubuntu-Title and was created by Andy Fitzsimon. The font is distributed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and use with logos derived from the Ubuntu logo is encouraged. The font is available as a package for Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 8.04, released on April 24, 2008, is the current Long Term Support (LTS) release. Canonical has released previous LTS versions every two years, and has committed to releasing the next LTS version in 2010, two years after 8.04. Meanwhile, the current standard-support period release, Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex), was released on October 30, 2008.
On March 12, 2009, Ubuntu announced full developer support on 3rd party cloud management platforms to deploy and manage cloud applications on cloud infrastructures such as Amazon EC2.
Ubuntu. (2009, April 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:14, April 7, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ubuntu&oldid=282126298