Interesting facts about Ubuntu Linux

Last updated on October 20, 2014 by Dan Nanni

Since the first release nine years ago today, Ubuntu Linux has been powering millions of PCs around the world. Love it or hate it, the Ubuntu project has made a great stride for the overall betterment of Linux, and no one can deny that. As its founder Mark Shuttleworth once put it, Ubuntu is all about total commitment to everyday users, making things "just work" for them.

Celebrating its 9th birthday today, I am going to share interesting facts and history behind Ubuntu Linux.

1. "Ubuntu" is an ancient African word translated to "humanity towards others", which aptly describes the open source community spirit behind Ubuntu project.

2. The Ubuntu symbol in the official logo is called "Circle of Friends", and represents: freedom, collaboration, precision and reliability.

3. The version number of a particular Ubuntu release is actually the release year and month. So for example, the very first Ubuntu release is 4.10 because it was released in October, 2004. The recent Ubuntu 13.10 was released in October, 2013. A new release of Ubuntu becomes available every six months, and every fourth release becomes a long-term-support (LTS) version.

4. The code names of Ubuntu releases come from a combination of an adjective and an animal with the same first letter (e.g., "Saucy Salamander"). Code names are chosen in an alphabetical order, so you can tell which release is newer from code names.

5. Canonical Ltd, the commercial company behind Ubuntu, is famously known as a "virtual company" with no national and geographic boundaries. According to its official source, Canonical has over 600 employees in nearly 200 cities across 30 countries, while the company has offices only at six locations (London, Boston, Montreal, Shanghai, São Paulo, Taipei). Most of the employees are working remotely, communicating via IRC, email or Launchpad.

6. According to W3Techs, Ubuntu is used by 8.2% of all the websites whose operating systems are known. Ubuntu is powering 26% of the websites run by Linux server.

7. As of Ubuntu 13.04 Raring, the total number of Ubuntu packages is over 37,500, and total package size is over 45 GB.

8. Ubuntu One, which was personal cloud storage integrated with Ubuntu, but not has been deprecated, ran on Amazon S3.

9. Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of the Ubuntu Project, is the second self-funded space tourist in the world. The ticket to his space trip in 2002 was $20 million dollars.

10. In the UK where Canonical is headquartered, the word "Ubuntu" was trademarked in connection with a list of goods (stationery, clothing, luggage, etc.). Around the same time, Canonical opened an online shop selling various Ubuntu-branded merchandise.

11. According to DistroWatch, a total of 131 Linux distributions are based on Ubuntu, of which 77 are currently active.

12. According to, Ubuntu Linux is ranked first on Amazon EC2 in terms of the number of EC2 images created by users; 54% of created EC2 images are Ubuntu images.

13. The largest desktop migration to Ubuntu is the upgrade of 85,000 desktop PCs from Microsoft operating system to Ubuntu by La Gendarmerie Nationale's IT team, under the French police force.

14. According to Ubuntu popularity contest, dpkg package is ranked first in terms of the number of people who use the package regularly, and ncurses-base package is number one in terms of the number of people who installed the package.

15. The best selling Ubuntu app of July 2013 was filebot, which is TV/movie renamer and subtitle downloader software. It sold 48 copies during the month.

16. Since late 2008, the Wikipedia infrastructure has been powered by LAMP stack running on Ubuntu servers.

17. Ubuntu Font Family, which is used in the official Ubuntu wordmark, is the 8th most popular font used in the Google Web Font directory.

18. Google's self driving car is powered by a stripped version of Ubuntu.

19. Google is known to be a customer of Ubuntu Advantage, Ubuntu's enterprise services, in managing their Goobuntu desktops, a modified LTS version of Ubuntu.

If you know any interesting fact about Ubuntu, feel free to chime in.

Happy 9th Birthday, Ubuntu!

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