Ubuntu is free operating system. Ubuntu is developed by Canonical Ltd., a UK-based company owned by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. The vision for Ubuntu is part social and part economic: free software, available free of charge to everybody on the same terms, and funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.
Canonical generates revenue through the sale of technical support and services related to Ubuntu. According to Canonical, the Ubuntu project is committed to the principles of open source development; people are encouraged to use free software, improve it, and distribute it. That's why Mark Shuttleworth gathered a small team of developers from one of the most established Linux projects – Debian - and set out to create an easy-to-use Linux desktop, Ubuntu.
Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others'. It also means 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.
According to online surveys, Ubuntu is the most popular Linux-based operating system on desktop/laptop personal computers, and most Ubuntu coverage focuses on its use in that market. However, it is also popular on servers and for cloud computing.
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.
Upgrades between releases have to be done from one release to the next release (e.g. Ubuntu 10.04 to Ubuntu 10.10) or from one LTS release to the next LTS release (e.g. Ubuntu 8.04 LTS to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS).
The Ubuntu team broke new ground in committing to a program of scheduled releases on a predictable six-month basis. It was decided that every fourth release, issued on a two-year basis, would receive long-term support (LTS). LTS releases are typically used for large-scale deployments. Current LST version of Ubuntu is 12.04.