Ubuntu (humanity towards others) is a GNU/Linux based computer operating system with strong focus on usability and ease of installation. Comprised of various software packages circulated under the open source license or free software, the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) is mainly applicable, which along with the GNU Lesser General Public License declare that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change, develop and improve the software.
South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth is the owner of a UK based company Canonical Ltd which is behind the sponsorship of Ubuntu, the project benefits from the collective talents of community developers on its constituent components and revenue for Canonical is derived from technical support and other allied services.
New versions of Ubuntu are released every six months, Canonical supports Ubuntu through the provision of security fixes, patches to critical bugs and minor updates to programs for 18 months.
Long Term Support (LTS) versions are released every two years and enjoy three years of support on the desktop and five years for the servers. Up till 29 October 2009, the Ubuntu 9.04 had been the latest but was replaced by a fresher version known as the Karmic Koala.
Initially released on 20 October 2004, Ubuntu’s subsequent offerings are unleashed a month following GNOME releases, the Ubuntu operating system makes an exception for free software releases only for some proprietary hardware drivers. And its packages make use of the Delbian’s deb package format, and package management tools (APT & Synaptic).
Ubuntu works closely with Delbian by linking back changes to Delbian and their packages are not binary compatible. Prior to release packages are linked from Delbian Unstable and combined with the Ubuntu specific modifications, and are thoroughly checked to make sure the frozen features inter operate seamlessly.
The Ubuntu Foundation was created to secure the future of Ubuntu by ensuring support and development of future versions. Developer support for 3rd party cloud management was announced by Ubuntu on 12 March 2009, such as for those used at Amazon ECZ.
Some of Ubuntu’s strong points is usability and security with the ubiquity installer which can be installed on the hard disk from within the Live CD. Another emphasis of Ubuntu is accessibility and internationalization with the intention of reaching as many people as possible across the globe, the default character for 5.04 going forward is UTF-8 which enables support of various non-Roman scripts.
The sudo tool is used in the assigning of temp privileges for the administrative tasks, thereby enabling the root account to stay locked to avoid major catastrophic changes to the system at the hands of inexperienced users.