Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others'. It also means 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.
Ubuntu is part social and part economic: free software, available free of charge to everybody on the same terms, and funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.
The first version of Ubuntu was based on the GNOME desktop. All of the editions of Ubuntu share common infrastructure and software, making Ubuntu a unique platform that scales from consumer electronics to the desktop, and into the cloud for enterprise computing. Developers can work on their desktop of choice, and smoothly deliver code to cloud servers running the stripped-down Ubuntu Server Edition.
In recent years, special emphasis has been placed on netbooks for lightweight, connected, mobile computing, and on the cloud as a new architecture for data centres. Ubuntu is a pioneer in both fields, with Ubuntu Netbook Edition and Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud setting the standard for easy deployment and management. Ubuntu is hugely popular on Amazon's EC2 and Rackspace's Cloud, and is pre-installed on computers from Dell, Lenovo and other global vendors.