Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

I would like to know where to find the source code of Ubuntu 12.04. I'd like to see how far it is "open source".

share|improve this question
And it's completely open-source. No need to be skeptical about it... –  asymptotically Jul 24 '12 at 14:09
All source is open for all of the source code files. –  Anwar Shah Aug 9 '12 at 8:53

4 Answers 4

up vote 28 down vote accepted
  1. Linux Kernel Source Code:

    apt-get source linux-source-3.2.0

    Where can I find the source code for the Ubuntu Kernel?

  2. Ubuntu Source Code:

    Ubuntu archive

  3. Specific Software Source Code:

    sudo apt-get build-dep $package

    where package is the program/package's source code you want to adopt.

    then type:

    apt-get source $package

    to get the source for that package.

    For instance:

    sudo apt-get build-dep abiword
    apt-get source abiword
share|improve this answer

You can download the complete source code ISOs from the Ubuntu download servers

share|improve this answer

Software in linux distributions is organized into packages. Each package either contains user facing software like Firefox, or libraries like libasound2 which is required by firefox. If you install Firefox, the apt system will figure out what prerequisite packages exist, will download and install them. Now, these packages are generally distributed as binary files that have already been compiled for a given processor architecture, but the exact source used to compile that version of a package is available via apt-get source firefox.

The vast majority of things in Ubuntu's repositories of packages are open source. But Ubuntu does have a list of approved proprietary software. While this software doesn't satisfy the freedom goals of Ubuntu, they are greatly desired by the community, and provide a lot of value. Examples of this are Skype or Sun Java (now removed). These packages are not listed on the Ubuntu packages site.

share|improve this answer
very good rundown of the sw context –  zipizap Jul 24 '12 at 16:12

The source code for every package in the main and universe archives is in Launchpad, or you can get it by enabling Sources in the Software Properties dialog, and then doing apt-get source $packagename in a terminal, after refreshing the package information.

Source code for packages in the partner repositories is not generally available, as they are mostly not open source applications. This is true for some items available in the Software Center as well.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.