System requirements

The desktop version of Ubuntu currently supports the Intel x86 and AMD64 architectures. Unofficial support is available for the PowerPC, IA-64 (Itanium) and PlayStation 3 architectures (note however that Sony officially removed support for OtherOS on the PS3 with firmware 3.21, released on April 1, 2010), as well as ARM mobile processors (see HTC HD2). A supported GPU is required to enable desktop visual effects.

Current Minimum Requirements               Server            Desktop
Processor (x86) with the i686 instruction set              300 MHz         1 GHz
Memory           128 MB           512 MB
Hard Drive (free space)       1 GB      5 GB
Monitor Resolution            640×480             1024×768


Ubuntu Desktop 10.10 Live CD

Installation of Ubuntu is generally performed with the Live CD. The Ubuntu OS can be run directly from the CD (albeit with a significant performance loss), allowing a user to "test-drive" the OS for hardware compatibility and driver support. The CD also contains the Ubiquity installer, which then can guide the user through the permanent installation process. CD images of all current and past versions are available for download at the Ubuntu web site. Installing from the CD requires a minimum of 256 MB of RAM.

Users can download a disk image (.iso) of the CD, which can then either be written to a physical medium (CD or DVD), or optionally run directly from a hard drive (via UNetbootin or GRUB). Ubuntu is also available on ARM, PowerPC, SPARC, and IA-64 platforms, although none are officially supported.

Canonical offers Ubuntu and Kubuntu LIVE installation CDs at no cost, including paid postage for destinations in most countries around the world (via a service called ShipIt). Various third-party programs such as remastersys and Reconstructor are available to create customised copies of the Ubuntu Live CDs.
A Microsoft Windows migration tool, called Migration Assistant (introduced in April 2007), can be used to import bookmarks, desktop background (wallpaper), and various settings from an existing MS Windows installation into a new Ubuntu installation.

Ubuntu and Kubuntu can be booted and run from a USB Flash drive (as long as the BIOS supports booting from USB), with the option of saving settings to the flashdrive. This allows a portable installation that can be run on any PC which is capable of booting from a USB drive. In newer versions of Ubuntu, the USB creator program is available to install Ubuntu on a USB drive (with or without a LiveCD disc).

Wubi, which is included as an option on the Live CD, allows Ubuntu to be installed and run from within a virtual Windows loop device (as a large image file that is managed like any other Windows program via the Windows Control Panel). This method requires no partitioning of a Windows user's hard drive. Wubi also makes use of the Migration Assistant to import users' settings. It is only useful for Windows users and it also incurs a slight performance loss.

Package classification and support

Ubuntu divides all software into four domains to reflect differences in licensing and the degree of support available.  Some unsupported applications receive updates from community members, but not from Canonical Ltd.

    Free software        Non-free software
Supported  Main  Restricted
Unsupported  Universe  Multiverse

Free software includes only software that has met the Ubuntu licensing requirements, which roughly correspond to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Exceptions, however, include firmware and fonts, in the Main category, because although they are not allowed to be modified, their distribution is otherwise unencumbered.
Non-free software is usually unsupported (Multiverse), but some exceptions (Restricted) are made for important non-free software. Supported non-free software includes device drivers that can be used to run Ubuntu on some current hardware, such as binary-only graphics card drivers. The level of support in the Restricted category is more limited than that of Main, because the developers may not have access to the source code. It is intended that Main and Restricted should contain all software needed for a general-use GNU/Linux system. Alternative programs for the same tasks and programs for specialized applications are placed in the Universe and Multiverse categories.

In addition to the above, in which the software does not receive new features after an initial release, Ubuntu Backports is an officially recognized repository for backporting newer software from later versions of Ubuntu. The repository is not comprehensive; it consists primarily of user-requested packages, which are approved if they meet quality guidelines. Backports receives no support at all from Canonical, and is entirely community-maintained.

The -updates repository provides updates to stable releases of Ubuntu and are generally installed through update-manager. Each release is given its own -updates repository (e.g. intrepid-updates). The repository is supported by Canonical Ltd. for packages in main and restricted, and by the community for packages in universe and multiverse. All updates to the repository must meet certain requirements and go through the -proposed repository before being made available to the public. Updates will continue to be available until the end of life for the release.

In addition to the -updates repository, the unstable -proposed repository contains uploads which must be confirmed before being copied into -updates. All updates must go through this process to ensure that the patch does truly fix the bug and there is no risk of regression. Updates in -proposed are confirmed by either Canonical or members of the community.

Canonical's partner repository lets vendors of proprietary software deliver their products to Ubuntu users at no cost through the same familiar tools for installing and upgrading software. The software in the partner repository is officially supported with security and other important updates by its respective vendors. Canonical supports the packaging of the software for Ubuntu and provides guidance to vendors. The partner repository is disabled by default and can be enabled by the user. Some popular products distributed via the partner repository as of August 2010 are Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Skype and Sun Java.

Availability of third-party software

Ubuntu has a certification system for third party software. Some third-party software that does not limit distribution is included in Ubuntu's multiverse component. The package ubuntu-restricted-extras additionally contains software that may be legally restricted, including support for MP3 and DVD playback, Microsoft TrueType core fonts, Sun's Java runtime environment, Adobe's Flash Player plugin, many common audio/video codecs, and unrar, an unarchiver for files compressed in the RAR file format.

Additionally, several third party application suites are available for purchase through the Canonical web-based store, including software for DVD playback and media codecs.


Version Code name Release date Supported until
Desktop Server
4.10 Warty Warthog 2004-10-20 2006-04-30
5.04 Hoary Hedgehog 2005-04-08 2006-10-31
5.10 Breezy Badger 2005-10-13 2007-04-13
6.06 LTS Dapper Drake 2006-06-01 2009-07-14 2011-06
6.10 Edgy Eft 2006-10-26 2008-04-25
7.04 Feisty Fawn 2007-04-19 2008-10-19
7.10 Gutsy Gibbon 2007-10-18 2009-04-18
8.04 LTS Hardy Heron 2008-04-24 2011-04 2013-04
8.10 Intrepid Ibex 2008-10-30 2010-04-30
9.04 Jaunty Jackalope 2009-04-23 2010-10-23
9.10 Karmic Koala 2009-10-29 2011-04
10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx 2010-04-29 2013-04 2015-04
10.10 Maverick Meerkat 2010-10-10 2012-04
11.04 Natty Narwhal 2011-04-28 2012-10
Colour Meaning
Red Release no longer supported
Green Release still supported
Blue Future release
Each Ubuntu release has a version number that consists of the year and month number of the release. For example, the first release was Ubuntu 4.10 as it was released on October 20, 2004. Version numbers for future versions are provisional; if the release is delayed the version number changes accordingly.
Ubuntu releases are also given alliterative code names, using an adjective and an animal (e.g., "Dapper Drake" and "Intrepid Ibex"). With the exception of the first three releases, code names are in alphabetical order, allowing a quick determination of which release is newer. "We might skip a few letters, and we'll have to wrap eventually." says MarkShuttleworth while describing about the naming scheme. Commonly, Ubuntu releases are referred to using only the adjective portion of the code name.

Releases are timed to be approximately one month after GNOME releases (which in turn are about one month after releases of X.org). Consequently, every Ubuntu release comes with an updated version of both GNOME and X.

Upgrades between releases have to be done from one release to the next release (e.g. Ubuntu 10.04 to Ubuntu 10.10) or from one LTS release to the next LTS release (e.g. Ubuntu 8.04 LTS to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS).

The current release is 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, released on October 10, 2010 (10/10/10). This is a departure from the traditional schedule of releasing at the end of October to get "the perfect 10", and a playful reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, since, in binary, 101010 is equal to the number 42, the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life the Universe and Everything" within the series.
Ubuntu 11.04 planned for April 28, 2011 is code named "Natty Narwhal".


Kubuntu is an official variant of the Ubuntu distribution which uses the KDE Plasma Workspaces. Official Ubuntu editions, which are created and maintained by Canonical and the Ubuntu community and receive full support from Canonical, its partners and the Community, are the following :
  • Ubuntu Desktop Edition, designed for desktop and laptop PCs.
  • Ubuntu Netbook Edition, (formerly Ubuntu Netbook Remix) designed for netbooks and other ultra-portables.
  • Ubuntu Server Edition, made for use in servers.

There are many Ubuntu variants (or derivates) based on the official Ubuntu editions. These Ubuntu variants install a set of packages that differ from the official Ubuntu distributions.
The variants recognized by Canonical as contributing significantly towards the Ubuntu project are the following :
  • Edubuntu, a GNOME-based subproject and add-on for Ubuntu, designed for school environments and home users.
  • Kubuntu, a desktop distribution using the KDE Plasma Workspaces desktop environment rather than GNOME.
  • Mythbuntu, designed for creating a home theater PC with MythTV and uses the Xfce desktop environment.
  • Ubuntu Studio, a distribution made for professional video and audio editing, comes with higher-end free editing software and is a DVD .iso image unlike the live CD the other Ubuntu distributions use.
  • Xubuntu, a distribution based on the Xfce desktop environment instead of GNOME, designed to run more efficiently on low-specification computers.

Mythbuntu, Ubuntu Studio and Xubuntu are not commercially supported by Canonical. Other variants are created and maintained by individuals and organizations outside of Canonical and they are self governed projects that work more or less closely with the Ubuntu community. Some of the variants, such as Lubuntu, a lightweight variant using LXDE, have the explicit goal of earning official endorsement from Canonical.

(source : wikipedia.org)

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