From Warty Warthog to Oneiric Ocelot- Seven Years of Ubuntu [Editorial]
By on October 22nd, 2011

Ubuntu Linux turned seven recently, and so did an ideology that has brought Ubuntu Linux this far. The simple South-African word Ubuntu that started out as a philosophy is also an operating system today.

The credit for the name Ubuntu goes to Mark Shuttleworth, who is a South-African entrepreneur operating out of England. He started Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. Today, Canonical is known for a multitude of products-Ubuntu,  Upstart,  Storm,  Bazaar  and  Quickly. Perhaps, it is best known for giving the world of Linux distros its Disney-queen.

ubuntu-logoAfter creating Ubuntu, he wanted to lay a strong foundation around the Ubuntu ecosystem. He wanted to make it sustainable and that is where, the Ubuntu operating system actually started following the Ubuntu philosophy. In October 2004, Mark Shuttleworth started a trust- The Ubuntu Foundation to ensure long-term support for the Linux distro Ubuntu. The trust went inactive after a few years, but it still exists today. In fact, Ubuntu has formed better wings to address the sustainability issue. However, what Ubuntu really means, was immortalized in this  interview of Nelson Mandella.

A Debian Fork Gets Better

Ubuntu is really a Debian fork. However, that is only for starters. There are many other things going on along with the Debian fork, like Gnome. Ubuntu is really a combination of many projects if you want to think of it that way. However, what makes Ubuntu awesome is its contribution. Therefore, Ubuntu not just forks projects and works behind closed doors, it contributes back to those projects and makes those contributions very easy to find and relate. In fact, they are so serious about this, that Canonical is working on a version control system of its own, called  bazaar  that will help them maintain Ubuntu.

Some people argued initially that Ubuntu was hurting the Debian project by stealing away talent pool from it. However, they realized sooner that it only complemented Debian and the growth was mutually beneficial for both these projects. The common packaging system adds to the ease of mutual contribution that these sister projects enjoy.

Why the “Naught Nomenclature”?

Ubuntu distros have some funny names. It follows a pattern of “Adjective Animal” and this pattern seems to have arrived from this joke shared on a ferry in Australia,

lifeless: how long before we make a first release?

sabdfl: it would need to be punchy. six months max.

lifeless: six months! thats not a lot of time for polish.

sabdfl: so we’ll have to nickname it the warty warthog release.

That was the name of the first Ubuntu distro and that is where it all started. The first of the Ubuntu mailing lists was named “warthog” and that gave name to the first of the Ubuntu IRC channels.

The first Ubuntu

Ubuntu Warthy Warthog was the first Ubuntu and we can take a walk down the memory lane with this video of Warty.

The announcement statement of Warty Warthog said,

The warm-hearted Warthogs of the Warty Team are proud to present the very first release of Ubuntu!

Ubuntu is a new Linux distribution that brings together the extraordinary breadth of Debian with a fast and easy install, regular releases (every six months), a tight selection of excellent packages installed by default and a commitment to security updates with 18 months of security and technical support for every release.

You get a distribution that is:

  • absolutely committed to free software, every end-user application on the CD is free software
  • 100% free of charge, and the Ubuntu team is committed to keeping Ubuntu free of charge
  • security updates for the distribution at no charge for 18 months for any release
  • updated to the latest desktop and kernel and infrastructure every six months with a new release
  • supports x86, amd64 and ppc processors, with additional ports under way

I still remember when Karmic Koala came out and Ubuntu completed five long years of delivering a great operating system.

What makes Ubuntu Great? The Community of course!

Ubuntu has a wonderful community and this is what makes Ubuntu so lively and exciting. The support for international languages gives Ubuntu a wider audience and a global reach. Free upgrades and free apps are things that just blend into Ubuntu. Ubuntu has something in store for every kind of user- whether you want to run a server, you are interested only in home usage over a PC or you own a netbook. Overall, it is a great solution for your PC operating system and software needs. But this is what makes Ubuntu the product so great. However, the Ubuntu community that works day and night to deliver this killer product is equally awesome!

 What Comes Next?

Ubuntu has plans for the next release, which will be a major release to be supported for a long term. This release needs to fix some long-standing bugs before coming out next year.

The release plans as being discussed are:

October  13th 	   Toolchain Uploaded
November  3rd 	   Developer Summit
December  1st 	   Alpha 1
February  2nd 	   Alpha 2
March     1st 	   Beta 1
March    29th 	   Beta 2
April    19th 	   ReleaseCandidate
April 26th Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

What can we do?

Ubuntu recently graduated to the 15th version- 11.10 codenamed Oneiric Ocelot and has over 20 million users worldwide. You should give  Ubuntu a try  . Optionally, an online demo will give you a quick taste of Ubuntu 11.10.

Author: Chinmoy Kanjilal Google Profile for Chinmoy Kanjilal
Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. He rants occasionally at You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.

Chinmoy Kanjilal has written and can be contacted at

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