Ubuntu is built on Debian's architecture and infrastructure, to provide Linux server, desktop, phone, tablet and TV operating systems.Ubuntu releases updated versions predictably every six months,and each release receives free support for nine months (eighteen months prior to 13.04)with security fixes, high-impact bug fixes and conservative, substantially beneficial low-risk bug fixes. The first release was in October 2004.
It was decided that every fourth release, issued on a two-year basis, would receive long-term support (LTS).Long-term support includes updates for new hardware, security patches and updates to the 'Ubuntu stack' (cloud computing infrastructure).The first LTS releases were supported for three years on the desktop and five years on the server; since Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, desktop support for LTS releases was increased to five years as well.LTS releases get regular point releases with support for new hardware and integration of all the updates published in that series to date.
Ubuntu packages are based on packages from Debian's unstable branch. Both distributions use Debian's deb package format and package management tools (APT and Ubuntu Software Center). Debian and Ubuntu packages are not necessarily binary compatible with each other, however; packages may need to be rebuilt from source to be used in Ubuntu. Many Ubuntu developers are also maintainers of key packages within Debian. Ubuntu cooperates with Debian by pushing changes back to Debian,although there has been criticism that this does not happen often enough. Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian, has expressed concern about Ubuntu packages potentially diverging too far from Debian to remain compatible. Before release, packages are imported from Debian Unstable continuously and merged with Ubuntu-specific modifications. One month before release, imports are frozen, and packagers then work to ensure that the frozen features interoperate well together.
Ubuntu is currently funded by Canonical Ltd. On 8 July 2005, Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Ltd., announced the creation of the Ubuntu Foundation and provided an initial funding of US$10 million. The purpose of the foundation is to ensure the support and development for all future versions of Ubuntu. Mark Shuttleworth describes the foundation as an "emergency fund"; which in such a case, Canonical's involvement ends.
Ubuntu running on the Nexus S, a smartphone that ran Android prior to Ubuntu
The system requirements vary among Ubuntu products. For the Ubuntu desktop release 14.04, a PC with at least 768 MB of RAM and 5 GB of disk space is recommended. For less powerful computers, there are other Ubuntu distributions such as Lubuntu and Xubuntu. As of version 12.04, Ubuntu supports the ARM architecture.Ubuntu is also available on PowerPC, and SPARC platforms, although these platforms are not officially supported.
Live images are the typical way for users to assess and subsequently install Ubuntu. These can be downloaded as a disk image (.iso) and subsequently burnt to a DVD and booted, or run via UNetbootin directly from a USB drive (making, respectively, a live DVD or live USB medium). Running Ubuntu in this way is typically slower than running it from a hard drive, but does not alter the computer unless specifically instructed by the user. If the user chooses to boot the live image rather than execute an installer at boot time, there is still the option to then use an installer called Ubiquity to install Ubuntu once booted into the live environment. Disk images of all current and past versions are available for download at the Ubuntu web site.Various third-party programs such as remastersys and Reconstructor are available to create customized copies of the Ubuntu Live DVDs (or CDs). "Minimal CDs" are available (for server use) that fit on a CD.
Additionally, USB flash drive installations can be used to boot Ubuntu and Kubuntu in a way that allows permanent saving of user settings and portability of the USB-installed system between physical machines (however, the computers' BIOS must support booting from USB). In newer versions of Ubuntu, the Ubuntu Live USB creator can be used to install Ubuntu on a USB drive (with or without a live CD or DVD). Creating a bootable USB drive with persistence is as simple as dragging a slider to determine how much space to reserve for persistence; for this, Ubuntu employs casper.
The desktop edition can also be installed using the Netboot image (a.k.a. netbook tarball) which uses the debian-installer and allows certain specialist installations of Ubuntu: setting up automated deployments, upgrading from older installations without network access, LVM and/or RAID partitioning, installs on systems with less than about 256 MB of RAM (although low-memory systems may not be able to run a full desktop environment reasonably).
Package classification and support
Ubuntu divides most software into four domains to reflect differences in licensing and the degree of support available.Some unsupported applications receive updates from community members, but not from Canonical Ltd.
Free software Non-free software Supported Main Restricted Unsupported Universe Multiverse
Free software includes software that has met the Ubuntu licensing requirements,which roughly correspond to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Exceptions, however, include firmware and fonts, in the Main category, because although they are not allowed to be modified, their distribution is otherwise unencumbered.
Non-free software is usually unsupported (Multiverse), but some exceptions (Restricted) are made for important non-free software. Supported non-free software includes device drivers that can be used to run Ubuntu on some current hardware, such as binary-only graphics card drivers. The level of support in the Restricted category is more limited than that of Main, because the developers may not have access to the source code. It is intended that Main and Restricted should contain all software needed for a complete desktop environment. Alternative programs for the same tasks and programs for specialized applications are placed in the Universe and Multiverse categories.
In addition to the above, in which the software does not receive new features after an initial release, Ubuntu Backports is an officially recognized repository for backporting newer software from later versions of Ubuntu. The repository is not comprehensive; it consists primarily of user-requested packages, which are approved if they meet quality guidelines. Backports receives no support at all from Canonical, and is entirely community-maintained.
The -updates repository provides stable release updates (SRU) of Ubuntu and are generally installed through update-manager. Each release is given its own -updates repository (e.g. intrepid-updates). The repository is supported by Canonical Ltd. for packages in main and restricted, and by the community for packages in universe and multiverse. All updates to the repository must meet certain requirements and go through the -proposed repository before being made available to the public.Updates are scheduled to be available until the end of life for the release.
In addition to the -updates repository, the unstable -proposed repository contains uploads which must be confirmed before being copied into -updates. All updates must go through this process to ensure that the patch does truly fix the bug and there is no risk of regression. Updates in -proposed are confirmed by either Canonical or members of the community.
Canonical's partner repository lets vendors of proprietary software deliver their products to Ubuntu users at no cost through the same familiar tools for installing and upgrading software. The software in the partner repository is officially supported with security and other important updates by its respective vendors. Canonical supports the packaging of the software for Ubuntu and provides guidance to vendors. The partner repository is disabled by default and can be enabled by the user. Some popular products distributed via the partner repository as of 28 April 2013 are Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader and Skype.
See also: GetDeb
Ubuntu has a certification system for third-party software.Some third-party software that does not limit distribution is included in Ubuntu's multiverse component. The package ubuntu-restricted-extras additionally contains software that may be legally restricted, including support for MP3 and DVD playback, Microsoft TrueType core fonts, Sun's Java runtime environment, Adobe's Flash Player plugin, many common audio/video codecs, and unrar, an unarchiver for files compressed in the RAR file format.
Additionally, third party application suites are available for purchase through Ubuntu Software Center,including many high-quality games such as Braid and Oil Rush, software for DVD playback and media codecs.
Steam is also available for Ubuntu with a wide range of indie games, such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent, as well as some AAA titles, such as Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2.
For more details on all Ubuntu releases including older ones not covered here, see List of Ubuntu releases.
Version Code name Release date Supported until 12.04 LTS
Precise Pangolin :- 2012-04-26 ,2017-04, 12.10
Quantal Quetzal :- 2012-10-18,2014-05-16,13.04
Raring Ringtail :- 2013-04-25,2014-01-27,13.10
Saucy Salamander :- 2013-10-17,2014-07-17,14.04 LTS
Trusty Tahr :- 2014-04-17,2019-04,14.10
Utopic Unicorn :- 2014-10-23,2015-07-23,15.04
Vivid Vervet :- 2015-04-23, 2016-01,15.10
Wily Werewolf :- 2015-10-22, 2016-07,16.04 LTS
Xenial Xerus :- 2016-04-21.N/A
Older version, still supported
Each Ubuntu release has a version number that consists of the year and month number of the release. For example, the first release was Ubuntu 4.10 as it was released on 20 October 2004. Version numbers for future versions are provisional; if the release is delayed the version number changes accordingly.
Ubuntu releases are also given alliterative code names, using an adjective and an animal (e.g., "Trusty Tahr" and "Precise Pangolin"). With the exception of the first two releases, code names are in alphabetical order, allowing a quick determination of which release is newer. "We might skip a few letters, and we'll have to wrap eventually." says Mark Shuttleworth while describing the naming scheme.Commonly, Ubuntu releases are referred to using only the adjective portion of the code name; for example, the 14.04 LTS release is commonly known as "Trusty".
Releases are timed to be approximately one month after GNOME releases (which in turn are about one month after releases of X.org). As a result, every Ubuntu release was introduced with an updated version of both GNOME and X. After each release, the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) is held, at which the Ubuntu community sets the development direction for the next cycle.[
Upgrades between releases have to be done from one release to the next release (e.g. Ubuntu 13.10 to Ubuntu 14.04) or from one LTS release to the next LTS release (e.g. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS).
Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat), was released on 10 October 2010 (10–10–10). This departed from the traditional schedule of releasing at the end of October in order to get "the perfect 10", and makes a playful reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, since, in binary, 101010 equals decimal 42, the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything" within the series.
As of Ubuntu 10.10, a Chinese version of Ubuntu Desktop called "Ubuntu Chinese Edition", had been released alongside the various other editions. However, in 2013, Canonical reached an agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China to make Ubuntu the new basis of the Kylin operating system starting with Raring Ringtail (version 13.04). The first version of Ubuntu Kylin was released on 25 April 2013.
Ubuntu has a server edition that uses the same APT repositories as the Ubuntu Desktop Edition. The differences between them are the absence of an X Window environment in a default installation of the server edition (although one can easily be installed including Unity, GNOME, KDE or Xfce) and the installation process. The server edition uses a screen mode character-based interface for the installation, instead of a graphical installation process.
Ubuntu 10.04 Server Edition can also run on VMware ESX Server, Oracle's VirtualBox and VM, Citrix Systems XenServer hypervisors, Microsoft Hyper-V, QEMU, Kernel-based Virtual Machine, or any other IBM PC compatible emulator or virtualizer. Ubuntu 10.04 turns on AppArmor (security module for the Linux kernel) by default on key software packages, and the firewall is extended to common services used by the operating system.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Server Edition supports three major architectures: IA-32, x86-64 and ARM. Minimum RAM memory requirements are 128 MB.
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Server Edition includes MySQL 5.5, OpenJDK 7, Samba 4.1, PHP 5.5, Python 2.7.
For more details on this topic, see Ubuntu Touch.
In early 2015, Intel launched the Intel Compute Stick small form factor computer available reloaded with Ubuntu or Windows operating systems.