Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It is often described as reminding us that ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. We bring the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers and software. The Ubuntu distribution represents the best of what the world’s software community has shared with the world.
Linux was already established in 2004, but it was fragmented into proprietary and unsupported community editions, and free software was not a part of everyday life for most computer users. That’s when Mark Shuttleworth gathered a small team of Debian developers who together founded Canonical and set out to create an easy-to-use Linux desktop called Ubuntu.
The mission for Ubuntu is both social and economic. First, we deliver the world’s free software, freely, to everybody on the same terms. Whether you are a student in India or a global bank, you can download and use Ubuntu free of charge. Second, we aim to cut the cost of professional services – support, management, maintenance, operations – for people who use Ubuntu at scale, through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical which ultimately fund the improvement of the platform.
Ubuntu was the first operating system to commit to scheduled releases on a predictable cadence, every six months, starting in October 2004. In 2006 we decided that every fourth release, made every two years, would receive long-term support for large-scale deployments. This is the origin of the term LTS for stable, maintained releases.