Linux: Ubuntu Sets Bar for the Rest
When it’s time to purchase a new computer most people believe they only have two options in terms of operating systems: Microsoft Windows and Apple’s OS X. But a third option exists in the Linux operating system. Linux has been around since 1971, when a handful of engineers at Bell Laboratories first conceived the idea. More than 40 years later there are dozens of different flavors of Linux, also known as “distros”, led by Linux Ubuntu.
Linux Ubuntu is the creation of entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical Ltd. His South African company provides not only the Linux Ubuntu operating system but also commercial support for the OS and custom software written for a variety of applications.
The word “Ubuntu” is an ancient African word meaning “humanity to others“. Shuttleworth chose the name to express his view that software ought to be equally free and accessible to all while supported through a combination of his company and a volunteer community of global software developers.
Linux Ubuntu comes in three versions from Canonical: Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, and Ubuntu Cloud Infrastructure. The desktop version is what the average user would deploy on a laptop, notebook, or typical desktop computer. The server edition is for Internet and intra-net servers while the cloud version is intended to be deployed by the ever-growing cloud computing industry.
Perhaps the most notable thing about Linux Ubuntu for 2012 is the fact that version 12.04 abandoned the longtime desktop paradigm in favor of a new GUI experience. Version 12.04 makes use of two new desktop options known as Unity and Gnome Shell. While both options are completely different from anything most computer users have seen before, they are arguably more efficient and more intuitive than the typical menu and folder system of days gone by.
Since Linux Ubuntu was first released in 2004 it has led the entire Linux community in terms of developing a usable desktop operating system. Canonical maintains a six-month release cycle with Long Term Support versions coming out every couple of years. Other variations of Linux Ubuntu exist including Kubuntu, Edbuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, and Ubuntu Studio.