Open source software came of age when Microsoft, a long time critic of the open source community and defender of its own closed source way, changed it’s views in 2015 to finally embrace open source software and indeed to support GNU/Linux in many ways. Whilst Microsoft Windows retains the market share for desktop computing, the changed landscape for developers and particularly cloud computing has forced the hand of Microsoft and others to recognise the benefits and market demand for open source software. Indeed open source software today has significant and often unrecognised market share with GNU/Linux overtaking Windows on cloud platforms like Microsoft’s Azure. Linux also powers Android phones and Google Chrome OS making it the most widely used operating system on Earth today. In 2021 it also became the operating system of choice for aerial drones on Mars!
GNU/Linux is freely available, for no purchase fee, to whoever wants it, making it available to everyone. The driving force has been the freedom to view, learn from, to modify the source code, to use the software without limitation, and to do so freely for whatever purpose we wish, and to generally require others who extend the software to do the same. We are free to do as we like with open source software, and through such freedom we often find that usability, reliability, security, and developerability are enhanced. These are often the most important issues for developers and users.
Ubuntu is the most widely used distribution of GNU/Linux. Underpinning it’s philosophy is the traditional African concept of Ubuntu—the relatedness of humanity, coupled with the harmonisation of the concepts of atomism and holism that we are only now starting to appreciate, even as a new understanding for quantum physics. Ubuntu puts the emphasis on humanity, and the connectivity between all of us, together with our environment. We open our doors and welcome our kind, graciously and humbly, wherever we may be, to share what we have, to bring all of us together, to treasure this beautiful world and its beautiful people.
It is this will to share that the Ubuntu computer operating system embodies, building on the foundation that is GNU/Linux, to share for all humanity. Everyone has the permission to freely welcome, to freely share, to freely learn, to freely contribute. And that is Ubuntu.
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