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Logo-ubuntu no(r)-black orange-hex.svg
Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla Desktop.png
Ubuntu 20.10 "Groovy Gorilla"
Company / developer Canonical Ltd.
OS family Linux
Working state Current
Source model Open-source, some proprietary drivers
Initial release 20 October 2004 (17 years ago) (2004-10-20)
Latest stable release Ubuntu 20.10 / 22 October 2020 (18 months ago) (2020-10-22)
Marketing target Cloud computing, IoT, personal computers, servers
Available language(s) More than 55 languages by LoCos
Update method Software Updater
Package manager GNOME Software, APT, dpkg, Snappy, flatpak
Supported platforms IA-32, x86-64, ARM and more (i.e. at least all traditional computers/devices)
Kernel type Monolithic
Userland GNU
Default user interface GNOME
License Free software

Ubuntu is a free operating system that uses the Linux kernel. The word "ubuntu" is an African word meaning "humanity to others". It is pronounced "oo-boon-too".

It is one of the most popular Linux distributions and it is based on Debian Linux computer operating system. The goal with Ubuntu is to make it easy to use and install onto a computer. Ubuntu can be used on all types of personal computers (and even devices such as robots) including in Windows 10. Ubuntu is downloaded as a DVD, which is free to download on the Ubuntu website. It can be installed or tested by running the DVD.

Ubuntu is released every six months, with long-term support (LTS) releases every two years. The latest release is 20.10 ("Groovy Gorilla"), while the most recent long-term support release (what most users may want to choose) is 20.04 LTS ("Focal Fossa"), which is supported until 2028.

Started in 2004, Ubuntu has been developed by Canonical Ltd., a company owned by a rich South African man named Mark Shuttleworth.

Packages and software support

Ubuntu Touch (no longer supported) running on the Nexus 5 smartphone

Ubuntu splits all software into four different categories to show differences in licensing and the amount of support available. They are:

free software non-free software
supported Main Restricted
unsupported Universe Multiverse

Free software here includes only software that meets the Ubuntu licensing requirements, which almost are the same as the Debian Free Software Guidelines. There is one difference for the Main category, however – it has firmware and fonts which cannot be changed, but are included if Ubuntu will not work right.

Non-free software is usually unsupported (Multiverse), but some exceptions (Restricted) are given for very important non-free software. Supported non-free software include device drivers that are needed to run Ubuntu on current hardware. The level of support in the Restricted category is less than that of Main, since the developers may not be able to get to the source code. It is wanted that Main and Restricted should contain all the software needed for a general-use Linux system.

Besides the official repositories is Ubuntu Backports, which is an officially known project to backport newer software from later versions of Ubuntu. The repository is not comprehensive (meaning that it has parts missing from it); it is mostly made up of user-requested packages, which are accepted if they meet quality guidelines.


Two new releases of Ubuntu are released each year, normally in April and October.

The number of the Ubuntu release is 'X.YY', with 'X' being the year of release (minus 2000) and 'Y' being the month of release. For example, Ubuntu 4.10 was released in October (the tenth month of the year), 2004. The name of the release (for example, Breezy Badger) is an adjective (a describing word) followed by the name of an animal.

Version Release date Name More information
4.10 20 October 2004 Warty Warthog First version
5.04 8 April 2005 Hoary Hedgehog First "Kubuntu" created
5.10 13 October 2005 Breezy Badger First "Edubuntu"
6.06 1 June 2006 Dapper Drake LTS-version, First "Xubuntu" created
6.06.1 August 2006 Dapper Drake Point One LTS-version, 1st update
6.06.2 January 2008 Dapper Drake Point Two LTS-version, 2nd update
6.10 26 October 2006 Edgy Eft experimental version
7.04 19 April 2007 Feisty Fawn
7.10 18 October 2007 Gutsy Gibbon First "Gobuntu" created
8.04 24 April 2008 Hardy Heron LTS-version
8.04.1 June 2008 Hardy Heron Point One LTS-version, 1st update
8.10 27 October 2008 Intrepid Ibex
9.04 23 April 2009 Jaunty Jackalope
9.10 29 October 2009 Karmic Koala
10.04 29 April 2010 Lucid Lynx LTS-version
10.10 10 October 2010 Maverick Meerkat
11.04 28 April 2011 Natty Narwhal
11.10 13 October 2011 Oneiric Ocelot
12.04 26 April 2012 Precise Pangolin LTS-version
12.10 18 October 2012 Quantal Quetzel
13.04 25 April 2013 Raring Ringtail
13.10 17 October 2013 Saucy Salamander Server release
14.04 17 April 2014 Trusty Tahr LTS-version
14.10 20 October 2014 Utopic Unicorn
15.04 23 April 2015 Vivid Vervet
15.10 22 October 2015 Wily Werewolf
16.04 21 April 2016 Xenial Xerus LTS-version
16.10 13 October 2016 Yakkety Yak
17.04 13 April 2017 Zesty Zapus
17.10 19 October 2017 Artful Aardvark
18.04 26 April 2018 Bionic Beaver LTS-version
18.10 18 October 2018 Cosmic Cuttlefish
19.04 18 April 2019 Disco Dingo
19.10 17 October 2019 Eoan Ermine
20.04 23 April 2020 Focal Fossa LTS-version
20.10 22 October 2020 Groovy Gorilla

LTS indicates Long Term Support.

Very old (i.e. 32-bit i386) processors have been supported up to Ubuntu 18.04, but users "will not be allowed to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.10 as dropping support for that architecture is being evaluated".


Ubuntu's official software package repository includes, for example, UNetbootin.


Kubuntu is an official variant of the Ubuntu distribution which uses KDE rather than GNOME.

Ubuntu is available in many different variants, e.g. because there are several options for which desktop environment to use.

The official sister distributions which are fully supported by Canonical are:

  • Ubuntu Kylin, an official derivative aimed at the Chinese market
  • Kubuntu, a desktop distribution using KDE rather than GNOME
  • Ubuntu Server Edition, which is mainly used on servers to provide services. This version only comes with a command line interface, but a graphical user interface can be installed.
  • Xubuntu, a "lightweight" distribution based on the Xfce desktop environment instead of GNOME, designed to run better on low-specification computers
  • Lubuntu, a desktop using the LXDE desktop environment
  • Ubuntu Budgie, a desktop using the Budgie desktop environment
  • Ubuntu MATE, a desktop using the MATE desktop environment
  • Ubuntu Studio, a multimedia-creation form of Ubuntu
  • Edubuntu, a distribution designed for classrooms using Unity

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