I keep reading in the news about this "Ubuntu by Canonical" thing, and it seems to me that this isn't entirely accurate. I have, for instance, spent about fifteen thousand hours working for Ubuntu, but I've never – not even for an hour – been employed by Canonical, though I would like to some day. Seems like a good company with good values. Actually, except for some very special cases, I've never accepted any payment for any work I've ever done in this community. Because I do still consider this a community project with a strong sponsor and not a company surrounded by fanboys.

Has this changed? If so, when did that happen? To my eyes, Canonical supports Ubuntu and Ubuntu supports Canonical, but Ubuntu is not a "by Canonical" product.

Am I wrong about this now, or am I still in the black?

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    Is this a question or a rant?
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Dec 27, 2012 at 20:29

2 Answers 2


If you go to The Ubuntu Story page, you will find this:


Version 4.10, codenamed the 'Warty Warthog', the first official Ubuntu release, was launched in October 2004. Global interest in Ubuntu was dramatic from the outset. The year following the Warty Warthog release saw huge growth in the Ubuntu community as thousands of free software enthusiasts and experts joined.

The governance of Ubuntu is somewhat independent of Canonical, with volunteer leaders from around the world taking responsibility for many of the critical elements of the project. It remains a key tenet of the Ubuntu Project that Ubuntu is a shared work between Canonical, other companies, and the thousands of volunteers who bring their expertise to bear on making it a world-class platform for the whole world to use.

So you can see that who powers Ubuntu is Canonical and it have ever been, but Canonical is for the Open-Source and the Collaborative Work, it's because of that you have never been hired by Canonical, but contributed to the development of Ubuntu. As you said Ubuntu is a community work, but it has one company that is responsable for it, Canonical, that works like a gatekeeper of the Ubuntu development.

We are not fanboys surronding Canonical, we are enthusiasts surrounding Ubuntu, Canonical supports Ubuntu, but does not take it's development to closed doors, it just regulates the path of the development, takes care of legal issues and decides some major issues about the OS. I don't see Ubuntu separately from Canonical, they are one thing, Canonical is all about Ubuntu.

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    You say Ubuntu 'does not take it's development to closed doors', but Mark Shuttleworth's recent blog post appears to directly contradict that. Further, this bug illustrated pretty clearly that this is very much an authoritarian project, with legitimate concerns dismissively referred to as 'FUD', a pejorative term. Dec 25, 2012 at 19:11
  • Shuttleworth is taking Ubuntu core issues to resolve himself and his staff, although he does concern about our opinion, I will ise a metaphor: If Ubuntu is orange and we say 'orange no, we want green right now' He will listen us, but he wants to show the world a stable operational system, that one starts learning it and won't be presented with radical changes in the day after. So he will turn orange to yellow first and then to green. Dec 26, 2012 at 11:41
  • Other vision of this matter is that despite he is taking core development for his own, Ubuntu is open source, we can edit, fix and see everything in its code. And many software that are of great importance for the OS, such as Nautilus, is not developed by Canonical. Dec 26, 2012 at 11:44

On the Ubuntu-Canonical relationship, please think of it this way:

Ubuntu = Canonical + Community.

For certain parts of Ubuntu, Canonical will be the biggest contributor/influencer, and for other parts the Community (that is not Canonical) will be. It's a partnership where each party brings certain strengths and contributions (somewhat like a marriage).

The problem with the news that one sees out there about Ubuntu is that it is almost always wrong. That is our bug to fix if we want to make Ubuntu spread. (This is being worked on by yours truly.)


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