August 2, 2010

Ubuntu: Brief overview of Linux based Computer Operating System.

What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is a community developed operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. Whether you use it at home, at school or at work Ubuntu contains all the applications you'll ever need, from word processing and email applications, to web server software and programming tools.

Ubuntu is and always will be free of charge. You do not pay any licensing fees. You can download, use and share Ubuntu with your friends, family, school or business for absolutely nothing.

Ubuntu Team issue a new desktop and server release every six months. That means you'll always have the latest and greatest applications that the open source world has to offer.

Ubuntu is designed with security in mind. You get free security updates for at least 18 months on the desktop and server. With the Long Term Support (LTS) version you get three years support on the desktop, and five years on the server. There is no extra fee for the LTS version, we make our very best work available to everyone on the same free terms. Upgrades to new versions of Ubuntu are and always will be free of charge.

Everything you need comes on one CD, providing a complete working environment. Additional software is available online.

The graphical installer enables you to get up and running quickly and easily. A standard installation should take less than 25 minutes.
Once installed your system is immediately ready-to-use. On the desktop you have a full set of productivity, internet, drawing and graphics applications, and games.

On the server you get just what you need to get up and running and nothing you don't.

What does Ubuntu mean?

Ubuntu is an African word meaning 'Humanity to others', or 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.

[header= Brief Overview]
Ubuntu is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution. It is named after the South African ethical ideology Ubuntu ("humanity towards others") and is distributed as free and open source software. Ubuntu provides an up-to-date, stable operating system for the average user, with a strong focus on usability and ease-of-installation. Ubuntu has been selected by readers of as the most popular Linux distribution for the desktop, claiming approximately 30% of Linux desktop installations in both 2006 and 2007.

Ubuntu is composed of multiple software packages typically distributed under either a free software or an open source license. The main license used is the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) which, along with the GNU Lesser General Public License (GNU LGPL), explicitly declare that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change, develop and improve the software. Ubuntu is sponsored by the UK based company Canonical Ltd., owned by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. By keeping Ubuntu free and open source, Canonical is able to utilize the talents of community developers in Ubuntu's constituent components. (Instead of selling Ubuntu for profit, Canonical creates revenue by selling technical support and from creating several services tied to Ubuntu.)

Canonical endorses and provides support for three additional Ubuntu-derived operating systems: Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Ubuntu Server Edition. There are several other derivative operating systems including local language and hardware-specific versions.

Canonical releases new versions of Ubuntu every six months and supports Ubuntu for eighteen months by providing security fixes, patches to critical bugs and minor updates to programs. LTS (Long Term Support) versions, which are released every two years, are supported for three years on the desktop and five years for servers. The current version of Ubuntu, 9.04, was released on April 23, 2009, and the upcoming version, Karmic Koala, is planned to be released on October 29, 2009.
Ubuntu focuses on usability and security. The Ubiquity installer allows Ubuntu to be installed to the hard disk from within the Live CD environment, without the need for restarting the computer prior to installation. Ubuntu also emphasizes accessibility and internationalization to reach as many people as possible. Beginning with 5.04, UTF-8 became the default character encoding, which allows for support of a variety of non-Roman scripts. As a security feature, the sudo tool is used to assign temporary privileges for performing administrative tasks, allowing the root account to remain locked, and preventing inexperienced users from inadvertently making catastrophic system changes or opening security holes.

Ubuntu comes installed with a wide range of software that includes OpenOffice, Firefox, Pidgin, Transmission, GIMP, and several lightweight games (such as Sudoku and chess). Ubuntu allows networking ports to be closed using its firewall, with customized port selection available. GNOME (the current default desktop) offers support for more than 46 languages. Ubuntu can also run many programs designed for Microsoft Windows (such as Microsoft Office), through Wine or using a Virtual Machine (such as VMware Workstation or VirtualBox).
Installation of Ubuntu is generally performed with the Live CD. The Ubuntu OS can be run directly from the CD (albeit with a performance loss), allowing a user to "test-drive" the OS for hardware compatibility and driver support. The CD also contains the Ubiquity installer, which then can guide the user through the permanent installation process. CD images of all current and past versions are available for download at the Ubuntu web site. Installing from the CD requires a minimum of 256 MB RAM.

Users can download a disk image (.iso) of the CD, which can then either be written to a physical medium (CD. DVD), or optionally run directly from a hard drive (via UNetbootin). Ubuntu is even available on the PowerPC platform (enabling users of older Macintosh computers to run Ubuntu natively on their machines), however, it is no longer officially supported.

Canonical offers Ubuntu and Kubuntu installation CDs at no cost, including paid postage for destinations in most countries around the world (via a service called ShipIt).

A Microsoft Windows migration tool, called Migration Assistant (introduced in April 2007), can be used to import bookmarks, desktop background (wallpaper), and various settings from an existing MS Windows installation into a new Ubuntu installation.

Ubuntu and Kubuntu can be booted and run from a USB Flash drive (as long as the BIOS supports booting from USB), with the option of saving settings to the flashdrive. This allows a portable installation that can be run on any PC which is capable of booting from a USB drive. In newer versions of Ubuntu, the USB creator program is available to install Ubuntu on a USB drive (with or without a LiveCD disc).

Wubi, which is included as an option on the Live CD, allows Ubuntu to be installed and run from within a virtual Windows loop device (as a large file that is managed like any other Windows program via the Windows Control Panel). This method requires no partitioning of a Windows user's hard drive. Wubi also makes use of the Migration Assistant to import users' settings. It is only useful for Windows users, it is not meant for permanent Ubuntu installations and incurs a slight performance loss.
Several official and unofficial Ubuntu variants exist. These Ubuntu variants install a set of packages that differ from the original Ubuntu distribution.

Official variants store packages and updates in the same repositories as Ubuntu, so that the same software is available for each of them and is generally compatible between the official variants. The Ubuntu derivatives that are fully supported by Canonical are-

  • Kubuntu, a desktop distribution using KDE rather than GNOME

  • Edubuntu, a GNOME-based subproject and add-on for Ubuntu, designed for school environments and home users.

  • Ubuntu Server Edition
The following derivatives are recognised by Canonical, use Ubuntu as their foundation and are said to contribute significantly towards the Ubuntu project:

  • Xubuntu, a "lightweight" distribution based on the Xfce desktop environment instead of GNOME, designed to run better on low-specification computers

  • Ubuntu Studio, studio version geared to multimedia production

  • Mythbuntu, a multimedia platform based on MythTV
There are a set of operating systems derived from Ubuntu that are recognised or sponsored by Canonical. These are created and maintained by Canonical and the Ubuntu community and their quality assurance and governance is managed by Ubuntu.

  • Xubuntu

  • Ubuntu Studio

  • Ubuntu MID Edition, an Ubuntu edition that targets Mobile Internet Devices.

  • Ubuntu Netbook Remix, designed for netbooks and other ultra-portables

  • Gobuntu, an Ubuntu desktop consisting entirely of free software without software, drivers or firmware with restrictive licenses

  • Ubuntu JeOS (pronounced as "juice"), 'Just enough Operating System' for virtual appliances.
Unofficial variants, derivatives, localizations and customizations are not controlled or guided by Canonical and are generally fork customizations that have been created for specific goals.

There are also a growing number of related derivative distributions, such as Linux Mint, gOS, OpenGEU, Super OS, CrunchBang Linux, gNewSense, and Portable Ubuntu for Windows

Linux slipstream/remastering utilities

  • Remastersys (Debian/Ubuntu)

  • Ubuntu Customization Kit (Ubuntu)

  • Reconstructor (Ubuntu)

  • Builder (Ubuntu)

  • ulc-livecd-editor (Ubuntu)

  • Revisor (Fedora)

  • Pungi (Fedora)

  • Disc Remastering Utility, a utility by Dell (Ubuntu)

  • MySLAX Creator An old Windows program to create customized versions of SLAX

  • Linux Live A set of shell scripts which allows an user to create your own Live Linux from an already installed Linux distribution.

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