Introduction to Ubuntu

Published: June 11, 2019

Introduction to Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a free and open source Linux distribution, that gets released every six months. There is also a long-term support (LTS) version available. The latest Ubuntu release is Ubuntu 19.04 ("Disco Dingo"). The distribution is largely based on Debian Linux. Ubuntu Linux distribution was first released on October 20, 2004. It is built on Debian's architecture. The package of Ubuntu are based on unstable version of Debian.

Meaning of Ubuntu?

Xhosa, Zulu, Swati, Lala are few of the Nguni languages that are spoken by the Nguni People of South Africa. Moreover, the languages are a part of Bantu languages group. The term "Ubuntu" means humanity and has its origins in Nguni Bantu language family. It represents a South African philosophy which believes in sharing and that helps in connecting all the humanity.

Ubuntu distribution

An Ubuntu distribution is a collection of software applications from various sources that are packaged together. Therefore, make it easy for users to access GNU/Linux. Back in time, using a GNU/Linux and then installing various softwares was a time consuming task. As a result, it wasn't easy for ordinary users to access GNU/Linux. So, majority kept themselves away from the distribution. The biggest challenge was to make the GNU/Linux distributions accessible to the masses. Eventually, various organizations/communities started distributing GNU/Linux with software packages. The basic configuration was done to assist those who were not so technologically proficient.

RedHat, Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, SUSE are few of the popular Linux distributions. Most of the Linux distributions are supplied with similar packages. They only differ when it comes to support, the steps involved in installing and upgrading the software. Like, Debian and other related distribution support .deb extension while, RedHat Linux supports .rpm extension.

Symbiotic relationship between Debian and Ubuntu

There is a symbiotic relationship that exists between Debian and Ubuntu. That is because, Ubuntu tries to incorporate the best of Debian and then modifies it to provide best-in-class experience to its users.

Flavors of Ubuntu

There are seven existing flavors of Ubuntu - Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Mate and Ubuntu Budgie. Each of these flavors differ in their desktop environments. Apart from that, the basic underlying Linux distribution is the same. For instance, Lubuntu comes with LXDE desktop environment installed, whereas Xubuntu has XFCE dekstop environment. So, for people who are still using Hardware that don't support modern operating systems. Reasons could be less RAM available, slow processing speed etc. For them, Lubuntu is the best choice available. It is specifically tailored to consume less resources. So, each of the above Ubuntu flavors have distinct identity.

Variants of Ubuntu

The Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution and operating system comes in three variants - Desktop, Server and Core.

The Desktop edition is aimed at ordinary users who would use Ubuntu distribution on a PC or Laptop. On the other hand, Server edition is for those who deploy Ubuntu for server management and other related activities. Lastly, Ubuntu Core is being deployed on Internet of Things (IOTs). Supported platforms for Ubuntu Core are Raspberry Pi, Intel NUC, Intel IEI Tank, Qualcomm Dragonboard 410C, Samsung Artic etc.


Ubuntu 19.04, which was released on April 18, 2019, is the latest of versions available. GNOME desktop environment was supplied as its default desktop environment. Furthermore, we can install other desktop environments of our choice like LXDE, XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, LXQt, KDE Plasma etc.