What is Ubuntu? ‘“ The Free Operating System
Ubuntu is a Linux based operating system that was released as free and open source software in October 2004. Ubuntu is an African word, which means ‘humanity to others’. Developers of the operating system aim to bring the spirit of humanity to the world of computers.
Primarily, Ubuntu is designed to be used by desktop computers. However, there are also editions launched that supports netbooks and laptops. As of present time, it is estimated that there are approximately twelve million users of Ubuntu all across the globe. Number of users is expected to grow more in the coming years.
Ubuntu is owned by a South African named Mark Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth came out with the idea of developing a free operating system because as of 2004, free software is still not part of everyday life of most computer users. With this in mind, Mark formed a small group of developers. Then they set out to produce an easy-to-use Linux desktop, the Ubuntu.
Mark Shuttleworth’s vision is humanitarian ‘“ free software for all. His team developed a system that is free of charge to anyone who wishes to use it. However, people might be thinking on how Shuttleworth is able to support their project without asking for a fee for their software. The whole Ubuntu team is supported by a UK-based company known as Canonical Ltd. The company manages to earn income from selling technical support and services tied to Ubuntu.
Even as free software, Ubuntu has many features just as any non-free operating system do. Since Ubuntu is distributed as free software, it is also bundled with free software packages under free software licenses. However, packages do not include hardware drivers from proprietary companies. The Ubuntu’s main license specifically declares that users are free to use, copy, disseminate, study, make changes, develop and improve the free software.
When a user installs Ubuntu, free software such as OpenOffice (a free office suite similar to Microsoft Office), Firefox, Transmission, GIMP (a free image editing software similar to Adobe Photoshop) and Empathy are all included. The free software also includes free games like Sudoku and Chess, which are both lightweight games.
For other software not included in the installation disk, the Ubuntu Software Center will download and install them for you. Users may also use the Synaptic, a package manager to do this task, which is preinstalled with the operating system. Ubuntu is a versatile free operating system. It enables to run programs designed for Microsoft Windows like the Microsoft Office suite.
Ubuntu’s vision is definitely aimed to provide every computer user the chance to own a free operating system. Their goal is to keep Ubuntu free of charge and the company promised to keep it free forever. Users will have no reason why they would not choose Ubuntu. The free software is fully functional and can keep up with the functionalities of every paid operating system. Whatever functions paid operating systems can do the free software Ubuntu can do. As of now, the company is still working to develop the free software to keep up with the fast changing trends in computer systems.