To answer this question would take a very long answer, and it would be a lot of information to put in. I’ve been able to summarize it to this. I hope that it helps in answering your question.
Ubuntu has its roots in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. It was initially planned as a simple fork from the main distribution.
Debian tends to be more conservative in how often it releases new versions. The new fork was set to be a snapshot released every six months. It was originally released under the name "no-name-yet.com." This domain now redirects to the main Ubuntu website.
The six month release schedule held, but the simple snapshot idea did not. Unlike other Debian-based forks (e.g., Xandros, Linspire, and Libranet), the new version remains freely available and uses predominantly free software (some of the hardware drivers are proprietary).
It has, however, grown beyond its Debian roots and become a distribution in its own right. Whereas one used to be able to mix and match software from the two, now one must be more careful about compatibility.
No-name-yet.com eventually became Ubuntu, and the first publically released version (4.10) was released in October of 2004. It quickly became very popular among Linux users for its ease of use and advanced hardware support. It remains the most popular version of Linux at Distrowatch.
Development of the distribution is currently funded by Canonical Ltd, a company owned and run by Mark Shuttleworth. In July of 2005, Canonical created the Ubuntu Foundation with an initial endowment of $10 million (USD). The purpose of the foundation is to support development and to keep the operating system free of charge should anything happen to Shuttleworth or the parent company, Canonical.
The Official Ubuntu Book: Introducing Ubuntu
This chapter introduces the Ubuntu project, its distribution, its development processes, and some of the history that made it all possible.
- A Wild Ride
- Free Software, Open Source, and GNU/Linux
- A Brief History of Ubuntu
- What Is Ubuntu?
- Ubuntu Promises and Goals
- Canonical and the Ubuntu Foundation
- Ubuntu Subprojects, Derivatives, and Spin offs
THIS CHAPTER INTRODUCES THE UBUNTU PROJECT, its distribution, its development processes, and some of the history that made it all possible. If you are looking to jump right in and get started with Ubuntu, turn right away to Chapter 2, Installing Ubuntu. If you are interested in first learning about where Ubuntu comes from and where it is going, this chapter will provide a good introduction.
A Wild Ride
In April 2004 Mark Shuttleworth brought together a dozen developers from the Debian, GNOME, and GNU Arch projects to brainstorm. Shuttleworth asked the developers if a better type of operating system (OS) was possible. Their answer was "Yes." He asked them what it would look like.
He asked them to describe the community that would build such an OS. That group worked with Mark to come up with answers to these questions, and then they decided to try to make the answers a reality. The group named itself the Warthogs and gave itself a six-month deadline to build a proof-of-concept OS. They nicknamed their first release the Warty Warthog with the reasonable assumption that their first product would have its warts. Then they got down to business. Read On
Below are some references that I found can shed some more light in answering, but I said in the beginning, this would take a lot of information to answer.
There is a document titled Debian and Ubuntu, in PDF format, which can be downloaded from Here
What is Ubuntu Linux?
History of Ubuntu: Revisited & Updated
The Ubuntu story
Source:The Official Ubuntu Book: Introducing Ubuntu