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Is Ubuntu the way forward for Linux?

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sprung from nothing to become the most popular desktop distribution of Linux. There are good reasons for Ubuntu's success. Ubuntu is firmly rooted in the Linux developer and user communities, based on Debian, the classic Linux community distribution, and employs some of the key Debian developers. Ubuntu is clean and uncomplicated which makes it attractive to entry level users, without sacrificing the traditional Debian virtues of stability, flexibility and configurability, which has made it an enticing proposition for developers.

The logical next step for Canonical, the holding company for Ubuntu, has been to capitalise on this popularity by making advances into commercial markets, offering industrial strength training and support to Linux users, and establishing partnerships with Dell and Sun to provide pre-installed Ubuntu systems.

Out of Africa

Ubuntu grew out of founder Mark Shuttleworth's ambition to promote education and the use of free software in his native South Africa. Shuttleworth founded Thawte Consulting, the internet certificate authority, when he was still a student, and sold it to VeriSign in December 1999, for approximately $575 million (£287.5 million). In April 2002 he became "the first African in space", which he described as being "the most challenging and exciting project any geek could wish for". He was a member of the crew of Soyuz TM-34, which was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan and docked with the International Space Station two days later.

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