Announcing Launch of ($10m) Ubuntu Foundation

Benj. Mako Hill mako at
Fri Jul 8 05:14:07 CDT 2005

Below is the press release sent off to the wires announcing the
creation of a new foundation by Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical to
help support Ubuntu and employ core Ubuntu developers over the long
term and to help distinguish the commercial support and certification
programs of Canonical from the truly community-based nature of much of
Ubuntu's work.

There are some other big announcements buried in there as well like
the introduction of longer-term supported releases. :) 

I hope you join me in thinking this is fantastic news for the Ubuntu
community on a number of different levels.



08 July 2005

Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Ltd, founders of the popular Ubuntu
Linux-based operating system, have today announced the creation of The
Ubuntu Foundation with an initial funding commitment of US$10m.

The Ubuntu Foundation will employ core Ubuntu community members to
ensure that Ubuntu ( will remain fully supported for an
extended period of time, and continue to produce new releases of the
distribution. As a first step, the Foundation announces that Ubuntu
version 6.04, due for release in April 2006, will be supported for
three years on the desktop and five years on the server.

The Foundation was established on July 1st 2005 with an initial
funding commitment of US$10 million, to ensure the continuity of the
Ubuntu project and create a legal vehicle that represents the
community structures of the project.

"It's important for us to distinguish the philanthropic and
non-commercial work that is at the heart of the Ubuntu project, from
the commercial support and certification programs that are the focus
of Canonical Ltd." said Mark Shuttleworth, who is founder of the
project and is making the initial $10m commitment to the
Foundation. "The core team members employed by the Ubuntu Foundation
will ensure that we can meet public commitments to keep Ubuntu
entirely free of charge, as well as meeting commitments of support for
extended periods. I'm very excited at the progress that has been made
in bringing free software to the global marketplace, and pleased to
continue my support for the project in this way."

Ubuntu has quickly become a leading distribution in the free software
world, taking the #1 place in DistroWatch popularity rankings over all
timescales which are published. The distribution focuses on usability,
security and stability on desktops and servers, and on making free
software widely available for individuals and organisations who are
ready to switch from proprietary platforms, such as Microsoft Windows.

Ubuntu has also become the basis of many other derivative
distributions, particularly those backed by govenments for widespread
deployment. The government of Andalucia, Spain recently announced that
its own version of Linux would be based on Ubuntu, and deployed in all
educational operations.


One driving factor behind the creation of the Foundation was the need
to ensure that an Ubuntu release can be deployed on servers, which
demand much slower release and upgrade cycles. "In order to support
the use of free software on database and other servers, we will be
offering security support for the Ubuntu base and major server
components for a full five years", said Matt Zimmerman, CTO of the
Ubuntu project.

As Ubuntu and free software in general become more mainstream, it has
become costly for companies and large organisations to keep track of
the rapid pace of development. In the desktop environment the problem
is more manageable, and steady improvements in the usability of
desktop office and productivity applications have been welcomed. In
the datacenter, however, where Linux and free software are considered
mature, deployments have a preference for fewer releases with long
lifecycles. Ubuntu version 6.04, to be released in April 2006, will be
aimed at meeting those requirements with a full five year commitment
to provide security and other critical updates for servers. This also
meets the needs of OEM distribution providers and ISVs, who have
expressed strong interest in supporting free software environments but
who prefer to be able to plan for releases and support them for longer
periods of time.

The extended service support for Ubuntu version 6.04 will remain free
of charge, under the same terms as the support currently provided to
every release of Ubuntu. The extended service support program will
only apply to designated releases of Ubuntu. Other releases, which
will still be made on the current six-month cycle, will continue to
receive the current commitment of 18 months free security and critical
updates support.


A primary goal of the Ubuntu Foundation is to ensure that a high
quality distribution of free and open source software is available
free of charge, throughout the world. "Free software is produced by
expert volunteers who make their time and work freely available - our
goal is to ensure that anybody in the world can make the best use of
that work, at no charge." said Benjamin Mako Hill, Ubuntu Community
Relations. Both Canonical and the Ubuntu Foundation have made public
commitments that Ubuntu will always be freely available, without the
need for royalties or licence payments of any kind. "We include only
free and unencumbered applications, ensuring that users have the
ability to share and modify their software."


The establishment of the Ubuntu Foundation enhances the commercial
commitment already made to the Ubuntu project by Canonical, Ltd.
"Demand for the commercial services offered by Canonical to users of
Ubuntu continues to grow. We welcome the very large number of
companies that have announced support for Ubuntu both regionally and
globally, and expect to continue to create additional partnership,
certification and support programs in coming months," stated Jane
Silber, head of marketing at Canonical.

The extended life support program for Ubuntu version 6.04 is in line
with Canonical's efforts to broaden the OEM base for Ubuntu. "The
distribution has been selected by several hardware manufacturers for
sale with PCs and laptops, and the availability of a long term
supported release of Ubuntu that's independent of the commercial
success of Canonical meets the needs of specific manufacturers in the
hardware marketplace", continued Silber.

The Ubuntu Community Council will act as the advisory board of the
Foundation. Current members of that Council are Benjamin Mako Hill,
Colin Watson, James Troup and Mark Shuttleworth (Chairman).


The Ubuntu Foundation
  Benjamin Mako Hill
  +1 206-409-7191
  mako at

Canonical Ltd.
  Jane Silber
  +44 20 7052 9843
  jane.silber at

Benjamin Mako Hill
mako at | mako at

More information about the ubuntu-announce mailing list