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is a free computer operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux. Its name comes from the Zulu word "ubuntu", loosely translated as "humanity", describing the ubuntu philosophy: "I am who I am because of those around me," a positive aspect of community. Ubuntu's goals include providing an up-to-date, stable operating system for the average user, with a strong focus on usability and ease of installation. Ubuntu has been rated as the most popular Linux distribution for the desktop, claiming approximately 30% of desktop Linux installations in a survey by desktoplinux.com.

Ubuntu is free and open source software, meaning it is free to download and use without monetary charge and is free to be modified and improved upon. Ubuntu is sponsored by the UK-based company Canonical Ltd, owned by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. Instead of selling Ubuntu for profit, Canonical creates revenue by selling technical support. By keeping Ubuntu free and open source, Canonical is able to obtain and leverage the talents of outside developers in projects such as Linux, Debian, GNU, X.org, etc., without developing the entire operating system themselves.

Canonical endorses and provides support for four Ubuntu-based distributions: Kubuntu and Xubuntu, which use KDE and Xfce, respectively, as a desktop environment, replacing the default GNOME system used by Ubuntu; Edubuntu, a subproject and add-on for Ubuntu, designed for school environments and home use; and Ubuntu JeOS (pronounced "Juice"), a stripped-down version of Ubuntu, optimized for virtual appliances.

Canonical releases new versions of Ubuntu every six months and supports Ubuntu for eighteen months by submitting security fixes, patches to critical bugs and including minor updates to programs. LTS (Long Term Support) releases, which occur every two years,[6] are supported for three years on the desktop and five years for servers. The current version of Ubuntu, Intrepid Ibex, was released on October 30, 2008. [1]

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