Ubuntu is the most popular and beginner-friendly open-source Linux distribution. There are thousands of Linux distros but Ubuntu stands out among all of them. The reason is its simplicity, high customization, and feature-richness.
Since the first release of Ubuntu 4.10 in 2004, Ubuntu has evolved and changed the meaning of Linux. This is because, before Ubuntu, Linux was considered a nightmare to install and use. But as Ubuntu arrived, it eased the method as simple as Windows installation with additional features and customization. That’s the reason people love Ubuntu the most (including me). Hence, in this article, I’m gonna touch upon some fascinating Ubuntu facts that you may not know. So, let’s get to know about our favorite Linux distribution.
10 Amazing Facts About Ubuntu
1. Meaning Of Ubuntu
Ubuntu is now a buzzword that almost everyone familiar with the concept of open source has heard or knows about. But do you know what it means? Why is Ubuntu called Ubuntu? Well, Ubuntu is an ancient African word, or rather a philosophy, that means “humanity towards others” or “a sense of benefits to all of us who treat people well.”
In reality, the name signifies the mission and vision of Ubuntu that it aims to achieve. Also, the Ubuntu logo represents the same with three people supporting and forming a community by holding each other’s arms together.
2. Canonical: A Private Company Behind Ubuntu
Most of the Linux distribution projects are run and maintained by an active community of volunteered developers like Arch Linux or Debian. But Ubuntu is a distro that is driven and commercially-backed by a large company named Canonical.
Canonical is the company responsible for releasing a new version every six months. They offer security updates and support for 5 years which is further extendable for the enterprise. This is the reason why Ubuntu is able to provide regular support and updates to deliver a stable and feature-rich operating system.
3. Mark Shuttleworth — Person Behind Curtain
The mind behind the creation of such a beautiful operating system is Mark Shuttleworth. He is a South African and British entrepreneur who founded (and current CEO) the Canonical Ltd., the company that funds, develops, and maintains Ubuntu and other open-source projects.
But before creating Ubuntu, Mark was a Debian maintainer of Apache. While in college, he signed up with Debian to contribute and build a package. Later, he forked Debian to begin his own project which now we all know as Ubuntu.
4. Mark Shuttleworth — First African In Space
Apart from the software revolution, Mark also loves to explore the world. This is why, in 2002, he ended up in space becoming the first African and second self-funded space tourist. At the International Space Station (ISS), he spent eight days participating in experiments related to AIDS and genome research.
5. Ubuntu Development Cycle
The regular development of the operating system is an important aspect that keeps the OS up-to-date with the latest technologies. Hence, being a standard release distro, Ubuntu follows its six-month new version release cycle. Each release has an official name based on “Ubuntu X.Y” format, representing X as the year (minus 2000) and Y as a month.
For instance, the latest Ubuntu 20.04 represents 20 as the year (2020 minus 2000) and 04 as the month (April). The release name can easily help to predict the version and its release time. Also, after every two years, the April release is known as the long-term support version; v20.04 is the latest LTS succeeding over the previous Ubuntu 18.04.
6. Ubuntu Development Codenames
The codename has now become a tradition for all operating systems to highlight the spirit of a new version in one or two words. Among codename competitions, Ubuntu follows quite an interesting scheme to name every version.
Ubuntu codename consists of an adjective and an animal with the same first letter such as Warty Warthog (Ubuntu 4.10), Hoary Hedgehog (Ubuntu 5.04), Breezy Badger (Ubuntu 5.10). The wallpaper theme is also designed based on the animal chosen for a codename.
During the initial Ubuntu release, the codename was not decided to follow alphabetical order but later it surely became the norm. If you want to know the historical reason for the Ubuntu codename scheme, read here.
7. Ubuntu Has Seven Official Flavors
Ubuntu has officially recognized its seven derivatives that directly use the Ubuntu core repository. The variants, known as Ubuntu flavors, come with slight tweaks and changes in the desktop environment and packages to provide a unique way to experience Ubuntu.
Here is the list of Ubuntu flavors with their unique elements:
- Kubuntu — KDE Plasma, QT toolkit
- Lubuntu — LXDE, lightweight, LXQT
- Xubuntu — XFCE, lightweight, elegant
- Ubuntu Budgie — Budgie, simple
- Ubuntu MATE — MATE, classic
- Ubuntu Studio — Multimedia, audio, video, graphics
- Ubuntu Kylin — Chinese speaker
However, there are also more than fifty Linux distributions that are based on Ubuntu like Linux Mint, one of the best competitors for a beginner-friendly distro. These forked distros ship their own packages and updates while Ubuntu flavors are backed by the full Ubuntu archive for packages and updates.
8. Unity — Ubuntu’s Own User Interface
Since the beginning, Ubuntu shipped with the GNOME desktop environment. But amid the long relationship between GNOME and Ubuntu, Canonical also developed its own Unity graphical shell to replace the GNOME shell. Unlike GNOME with applications, Unity is purely a user interface with components such as a menu bar, launcher, session bar, a heads-up display, indicators, and Dash.
Unfortunately, in 2017, Shuttleworth announced the discontinuation of the work on Unity and totally switched back to GNOME 3 desktop. As of now, the UBports team has forked out the Unity 8 repository renaming to “Lomiri” to continue the maintenance and development. Due to the persistent demand and love for Unity, there are also other Linux distros that fully ship with Unity 8, for instance, UMix.
9. Ubuntu Mobile Version
Ubuntu is not an operating system that runs only on desktop, but it is widely available for the cloud, server, IoT, and containers. Additionally, Ubuntu also has a touch-friendly mobile version OS, Ubuntu touch, for touchscreen devices like smartphones or tablets. Ubuntu touch was originally designed and developed by Canonical for Ubuntu phones.
However, similar to Unity 8, Ubuntu touch was also dropped by Canonical in 2017 and was later adopted by the same savior, UBports community. UBports now maintains both Unity and Ubuntu touch to bring back the Ubuntu experience on touch devices. This is a result of UBport’s hard work that Ubuntu touch now supports several smartphones such as PinePhone, Librem 5.
10. Ubuntu ShipIt Service
Last but not least, Ubuntu fact that I found most interesting is about the old ISO. Back during the first release, people could get an Ubuntu installation CD mailed to their homes for free. Well, I was not fortunate enough to use their ShipIt feature, but some of you must have used it in the past.
ShipIt service played an essential role in making Ubuntu a prevalent choice among youngsters in those early days. However, these days they don’t offer ShipIt, and you have to download the ISO from their website.
Ending the list of Ubuntu facts, I hope you loved to know about the unknown things of Ubuntu and its creator. If you also know some facts that others don’t, you can share in the comment section below.