Ubuntu celebrates its seventh birthday
Seven years ago, on 20 October 2004, the first announcement of the release of Ubuntu 4.10, code-named "Warty Warthog", was posted to the ubuntu-announce mailing list by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. A small team of professional developers and volunteers who were maintainers on other projects began working in March 2004 on what was to become the first official release of Ubuntu.
Shuttleworth was working with the Debian Project during the 90s but wanted to drive it in a different direction, and, after selling his Thawte digital certificate company in 1999, he had the resources to do so. Shuttleworth founded Canonical in March 2004 and created a fork of Debian Linux which became known as Ubuntu. Adopting the slogan "Linux for human beings", Canonical set out to create an accessible, user-friendly Linux distribution which would have releases every six months and a Long Term Support (LTS) edition released every two years.
The first edition, 4.10, was named "Warty Warthog" due to the short amount of time in which the team behind it developed and delivered a release which, while not fully polished, was functional. Among the selected applications in the first Ubuntu were GNOME 2.8, Firefox 0.9, OpenOffice.org 1.1.2, Gaim instant messenger 1.0, GIMP 2.0 and a Floppy Formatter. Ubuntu has become the most popular Linux distribution; when it was first released it was ranked number 13 on DistroWatch statistics and since then it has remained in the number 1 position. Ubuntu has a large community of users, developers and volunteers who have helped it maintain this position. With its 15th release, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, Canonical and the community have further refined their vision of what a friendly Linux should be. With their eye on the cloud and on running on ARM processors, Canonical plan to develop, improve and build upon what they have achieved so far for their next LTS release, Ubuntu 12.04, dubbed the "Precise Pangolin", due April 2012.
For those interested in what Ubuntu looked like back in 2004, Warty Warthog can still be downloaded, though it is probably best run in a virtual machine these days. The current stable release is Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" from 13 October, while the current Long Term Support version is Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS.
- What's new in Ubuntu 11.10, a feature from The H.
- What's new in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, a feature from The H.