About Us

Open Source

What is Open Source?

The open source software development model is radically different from traditional software, which is often developed and maintained by a single corporation. Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community. Generally the software is distributed free with the source code. Not all open source software is free, however, and advocates often qualify the term by saying, “free, as in freedom”.

How can it be free?

It’s open source. Shared code, shared efforts, shared principles: no cost. And everybody’s doing it – some of today’s best software is based on open source technologies like IBM, Google, Firefox and Wikipedia.

Ubuntu operating system

Ubuntu – which means humanity toward others – is an entirely open source operating system built around the Linux kernel and will always be free. The Ubuntu community is rooted in the ideals embodied in the Ubuntu Philosophy:

  • Every computer user should have the freedom to download, run, copy, distribute, study, share, change and improve their software for any purpose, without paying licensing fees.
  • Every computer user should be able to use their software in the language of their choice.
  • Every computer user should be given every opportunity to use software, even if they work under a disability.

Ubuntu is one of the most most popular desktop distributions of Linux and is released twice a year, with regular Long Term Support (LTS) releases that are supported for five years.

Free software

The Ubuntu project is entirely committed to the principles of free software development; people are encouraged to use free software, improve it, and pass it on. Examples of popular software based on open source are Mozilla Firefox browser, Apache web server, PERL scripting language and the PNG graphics file format. Some of our favourite software includes R and RStudio for statistics, Bluefish for web development and Inkscape for vector drawing and artwork.

Ubuntu and Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth, South African entrepreneur and self–funded space tourist, pays for the development of Ubuntu through his company Canonical Limited and provides leadership for the operating system. Shuttleworth’s dedication to social innovation started in 2001, when he formed the Shuttleworth Foundation to fund educational, free and open source software projects.