Ubuntu is an operating system for computers. It is published by Canonical and is based on the software provided by the project “Debian / GNU Linux.” Also, Canonical offers commercial support to corporate customers and uses the free and versatile documentation and support of the community in the form of forums, mailing lists, and wikis.

The term Ubuntu

The word Ubuntu comes from an African language and means “humanity towards others.” It is “the belief in something universal that connects all mankind.” This concept is the foundation for collaboration in the Ubuntu community. We want or need to work together efficiently.

Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as follows:

“Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. It speaks of the very essence of being human. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, ‘Yu, u nobunto’; ‘Hey so-and-so hasubuntu.’ Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, ‘My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.’ We belong in a bundle of life.” – Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness.

The Ubuntu name was chosen for a Linux distribution because we believe that it meets the basic ideas of sharing and cooperating perfectly, which are so important for the open source movement. In the world of free software, we work together voluntarily to create software that benefits everyone. We improve the works of others we have received freely and share our extensions on the same basis with others.

The Ubuntu Behavioral Rules

Every co-operation needs behavioral rules. The Ubuntu behavior rules should ensure a productive and happy relationship.

Ubuntu principles

Our work on Ubuntu is supported by an understanding of the freedom of software, which we hope will spread and bring the benefits of software application to all parts of the world.

Free and open source software

Ubuntu is a collaborative project designed to create an operating system and a full range of application programs, using free and open source software. The core of the understanding of freedom of software at Ubuntu are these central beliefs:

  • Any user of a computer should be able to use, copy, distribute, or understand a program for any purpose, understand, modify and improve without paying royalties.
  • Every user of a computer should have the possibility to use his programs in a language of his choice.
  • Every user of a computer should have all the options to use their programs, even in the case of a disability.
  • Our beliefs are incorporated into the programs we have written and incorporated into our distribution. Thus, the license terms of the programs we distribute are measured against these beliefs using the Ubuntu Software License Guidelines.

When you install Ubuntu, almost all programs already meet these requirements, and we work to make sure that any program you need is available under license terms that grant you these freedoms. Currently, there are specific exceptions for some drivers that are only available in binary form without the Ubuntu installed on some machines. We have put them in the restricted area of our system, where they can be easily removed if you do not need them.

Free software

We do not charge anything for Ubuntu and it stays the same. Above all, “free software” means the freedom of those who use or further develop it. These freedoms allow the Ubuntu community to grow and share their common experience and knowledge to improve Ubuntu and adapt it for use in new countries and industries.

The most important freedoms of free software are described as:

  • The freedom to use the program for any purpose.
  • The freedom to understand how the program works and how to adapt it to its needs.
  • The freedom to spread copies so that you can help your neighbor.
  • The freedom to improve the program and make the improvements available to the public so that the whole community can benefit from it.
  • The social movement for free software has been around for more than two decades. This movement has produced millions of code lines, documentation and a dynamic community, to which Ubuntu is proudly adding. More about this is available at gnu.org.

Open Source Software

Open source software is a term that was coined in 1998 to eliminate the ambiguity of the English word free. The Open Source Initiative describes open source software. Open source software is constantly growing success and broad perception.

Ubuntu is a popular source of software. While some free and source-based software has different objectives, we consider free and open source software as neither mutually exclusive nor incompatible. Ubuntu has a lot of members who are either part of the “free software” bandwagon or the “open source software”, and many who identify with both.