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Linux is an open source operating system. An operating system basically controls how your computer acts. An example of an operating system is the probably familiar Microsoft Windows. Open source means that everyone is allowed to edit it to his or her liking, and distribute it without further license restrictions. While this may not mean much to you, there are people that do edit it. People like the Ubuntu Community.
Linux for Human Beings
"Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". Ubuntu also means "I am what I am because of who we all are". The Ubuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.
<p><img src="http://www.ubuntu.com/include/circle-510.png" title="Ubuntu Circle" alt="A picture of the Circle-of-Friends Ubuntu login screen." style="float: right; margin-left: 0.3em; margin-bottom: 0.3em;" >Ubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. It is developed by a large community and we invite you to participate too!</p><p>The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Philosophy: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.</p><p>These freedoms make Ubuntu fundamentally different from traditional proprietary software: not only are the tools you need available free of charge, you have the right to modify your software until it works the way you want it to.</p>
The team behind Ubuntu makes the following public commitment to its users:
- Ubuntu will always be free of charge, and there is no extra fee for the "enterprise edition", we make our very best work available to everyone on the same Free terms.
- Ubuntu comes with full commercial support from hundreds of companies around the world. Ubuntu is released regularly and predictably; a new release is made every six months. Each release is supported with free security updates and fixes for at least 18 months.
- Ubuntu will include the very best in translations and accessibility infrastructure that the Free Software community has to offer, to make Ubuntu usable by as many people as possible. We collaborate as widely as possible on bug fixing and code sharing.
- Ubuntu is entirely committed to the principles of free software development; we encourage people to use free and open source software, improve it and pass it on.
Ubuntu is suitable for both desktop and server use. The current Ubuntu release supports PC (Intel x86), 64-bit PC (AMD64) and PowerPC (Apple iBook and Powerbook, G4 and G5) architectures.
Ubuntu includes more than 16,000 pieces of software, but the core desktop installation fits on a single CD. Ubuntu covers every standard desktop application from word processing and spreadsheet applications to internet access applications, web server software, email software, programming languages and tools and of course several games.
The extended Ubuntu community includes translators, software developers, teachers, people who love to hand out CDs and help friends try free software, artists, people who write documentation, tips and guides, accountants, even a lawyer or two. Whatever your personal interest or vocation we would value your participation. [:community/participate:Here] is a list of ideas for new participants, or just join an [:community/lists:IRC channel], a [:community/forums:forum] or a [:community/lists:mailing list] and find your niche.
HTML(<p><a href="http://fridge.ubuntu.com/"><img style="float: right; margin-left: 5px;" src="http://www.ubuntu.com/include/the-fridge.jpg" title="Ubuntu Fridge" alt="A picture of the Ubuntu Fridge." vspace="5" /></a><a href="http://fridge.ubuntu.com/">The Fridge</a> is an information hub for the Ubuntu community, bringing together news, grassroots marketing, advocacy, team collaboration, and great original content. Just like the family fridge at home, this is where we - the Ubuntu family - can put our best work on display for everyone to see … along with the requisite jokes, reminders, invitations, news clippings, photos and everything else! </p>) BR
Many companies around the world offer technical support for Ubuntu, you can find a list of some of them in the Ubuntu Marketplace. There are many support options, from free community support to full commercial support with escalation to the core Ubuntu team.