What Does Ubuntu Mean?

Ubuntu is an open-source operating system (OS) based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.


Ubuntu incorporates all the features of a Unix OS with an added customizable GUI, which makes it popular in universities and research organizations. Ubuntu is primarily designed to be used on personal computers, although a server editions does also exist.

Ubuntu is an African word that literally means “humanity to others.”

Techopedia Explains Ubuntu

Ubuntu was first released in 2004. The project is sponored by Canonical Ltd., a U.K.-based company that generates revenue by selling support and services to complement Ubuntu. Canonical releases a new version of Ubuntu every six months and provides support in the form of patches and security releases for 18 months thereafter.

Ubuntu consists of many software packages, which are licensed under GNU General Public License. This allows users to copy, change, develop and redistribute their own version of the program.

Ubuntu comes with a wide range of software programs, including FireFox and LibreOffice. There is also proprietary software that can be run on Ubuntu.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.