Brief review of the history of Ubuntu. Part 1

Ubuntu turns 19

In April of this year, one of the most popular distributions began to take shape, which turned 20 this past October 19. Although the date has passed it is a good time to do a brief review of the history of Ubuntu

Personally, I started using Ubuntu two years after its launch and I am still using a derivative, so I lived and covered the different milestones in its evolution as a user and blogger.

Ubuntu turned 19 years old

Like many other open source projects, Ubuntu lives the contradiction of being at the same time a community project controlled by a strong leader. Its history is strongly marked by the personality of its founder, Mark Shuttleworth

Who is Mark Shuttleworth?

Before founding Ubuntu, Shuttleworth (born in South Africa in 1973) attended the University of Cape Town where he specialized in business sciences, finance and information systems. It was there where he connected with various free software projects. and made small collaborations in the development of the Apache server and the Debian Linux distribution. In fact, he was the first to upload Apache packages to the Debian repositories.

In the early days of the Internet he founded a startup called Thawte that acted as a certification authority and security services on the Internet.. Thanks to its products based almost entirely on free and open source software, Thawte became the second largest certification authority on the Internet, the first being the giant Verisign.

The importance of the Shuttleworth company was such that Verisign acquired it for an unknown amount but estimated to be several hundred million dollars.

With some of that money he did what any of us would do, take a vacation. But, he did not go to the Caribbean or Marbella, he learned Russian and trained for nine months to be able to participate in that country's space program. The training allowed him to integrate the Soyuz TM-34 mission. On this mission he spent eight days on the International Space Station conducting experiments that had to do with AIDS and genome research.

When he returned in 2000 he still had money left. Part of it was to create a philanthropic foundation named after him to finance, promote and develop social innovation in education. She also created HBD, acronym for Here be dragons, an incubator for new projects.

The birth of Ubuntu

Shuttleworth thought, like others before him, that Linux had to reach the masses. For this it was necessary to create a distribution that was easy to use. For a while he believed that the way to do it was to run for Debian project leader, but his massiveness goals did not coincide with the goals of this project.

Nor were he convinced by the "easy distributions" that existed at the time.

In April 2004, a dozen people They met at Mark's London apartment to brainstorm what features the new layout should have.. Some of the conclusions were:

  • Frequent and predictable release dates.
  • Emphasis on translations, adaptation to regional realities and accessibility.
  • Easy to use layout and friendly desktop.
  • The community approach of other free software projects is adopted, allowing the different members to collaborate throughout the development cycle and not only in the launch.
  • Creation of tools designed especially for the development, release and update of the new distribution.

Shuttleworth agreed to pay the group (which gave itself the name "Boars") salaries to dedicate itself to developing the new distribution.. It was he who named it Ubuntu after a word in several South African dialects that does not have an exact translation in our language. It can be explained by this definition by Nobel Peace Prize winner Desdmond Tutu:

A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirms others, does not feel threatened because others are capable and good, because he has adequate self-confidence that comes from knowing that he belongs to a greater whole and diminishes when others are humiliated or belittled, when others are tortured or oppressed.

In the next article we continue with the history of distribution.

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