Ubuntu is a version of linux based upon Debian, and developed by Canonical. The Zulu word "ubuntu" translates as "humanity to others", describing the Ubuntu philosophy.
Standard versions are released at frequent intervals and are supported for 2 years. Long term support (lts) versions are released every 3 years and supported for 5 years.
Ubuntu is a computer operating system based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and is distributed as free and open source software with additional proprietary software available.
Canonical releases new versions of Ubuntu every six months and supports Ubuntu for eighteen months by providing security fixes, patches to critical bugs and minor updates to programs. LTS (Long Term Support) versions, which are released every two years, are supported for three years on the desktop and five years for servers.
The operating system is composed of many software packages, of which the vast majority are distributed under a free software license (also known as open source). The main license used is the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) which explicitly declares that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study, change, develop and improve the software.
Ubuntu is sponsored by the UK-based company Canonical Ltd., owned by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. By keeping Ubuntu free and open source, Canonical is able to utilize the talents of community developers in Ubuntu's constituent components. Instead of selling Ubuntu for profit, Canonical creates revenue by selling technical support and from creating several services tied to Ubuntu.
Canonical endorses and provides support for three additional Ubuntu-derived operating systems: Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Ubuntu Server Edition. There are several other derivative operating systems including local language and hardware-specific versions.