Ubuntu is a community-developed, free, Linux-based operating system. The name, which comes from an African philosophy, means 'Humanity to others', or 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. It is supported by the company, Canonical, is released for free, every 2 years. Ubuntu itself, is based on Debian.
Ubuntu comes by default with many useful programs, including OpenOffice, Bluetooth, Mozilla Firefox, and (new in version 9.10) Ubuntu One, a free online data backup service. Ubuntu also offers users the Ubuntu Software Center, which allows them to easily download many free programs, ranging from solitaire games to Integrated Development Environments. It has an increasing number of device drivers which allow it to run on most computers. While installing Ubuntu has traditionally required burning the program image to a CD-ROM, a program called Wubi allows people to install it from inside their current operating system, just like a normal program.
Ubuntu is written by Canonical Ltd., a company owned by Mark Shuttleworth, a South African entrepreneur. The first version, called Warty Warthog, was released in October 2004. Since then, Canonical has released a new version of Ubuntu every six months. The current version, Precise Pangolin, can be downloaded for free from the Ubuntu website.
It is difficult to measure how many people use Ubuntu, because anyone can freely redistribute copies. However, it has become very popular for low-cost netbook computers.
Ubuntu Specialized Edition
Ubuntu also offers many other variants of it's primary operating system, the most popular being Edubuntu, a version specifically designed for educational use, Lubuntu, a lightwieght version, for low power computers, such as notebooks, Ubuntu Phone, a mobile version designed to run on the Android version of the Linux Kernel, and the other gui versions, like Kubuntu (KDE), and Xubuntu (XFCE)