Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
It's a funny thing: If you ask any number of IT professionals to describe the Linux operating system, they almost always spout out rather quickly that it is non-proprietary and open source. While that is technically true, most distributions have licensing agreements that closely parallel those of their proprietary counterparts -- you can only do this and this, are expressly prohibited from doing this, and so on.
Enter Ubuntu. Named after an African word for "humanity to others," it is a completely free distribution (based on Debian) fully developed by the Linux community. While this may be said for other Linux distributions, the real difference is in the ability (or right) that Ubuntu grants you to alter the software in any way that you want. To quote the developers, "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."
Among the other public commitments the Ubuntu team makes, the team promises that the operating system will always be free, and there will be a new release every six months (each release is supported for 18 months).
Curious about how the distribution compares to others I have been using of late (SUSE, Red Hat, etc.), I started poking around with it, and was very impressed by what I found.