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Top 10 questions about Ubuntu


on 14 December 2012

This article was last updated 4 years ago.

It’s the end of the year, we met with lots of people from all around the world, at various conferences and events and wherever they were from and whatever their role in IT was, the same questions always seem to come back.

So we thought we’d list the top 10 questions we get, here, for you, with the answers.

  1. Is there a company behind Ubuntu? Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu.
    We work with the open-source community to deliver Ubuntu. Our related enterprise services are also used by businesses and large enterprises worldwide to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
    We also work with hardware manufacturers like HP, Dell, ARM and Intel, along with a range of external agencies and suppliers to ensure the work we’re doing on product and brand development reaches the audiences it deserves in business and in retail.
    We’ve come a long way since our launch in 2004. We now have over 600 staff in more than 30 countries, and offices in London, Boston, Taipei, Montreal and Shanghai.
  2. How is Ubuntu not affected by viruses? Almost all viruses and malware are coded to take advantage of weaknesses in Windows. They simply won’t run on Ubuntu, immediately decimating the amount of time, resource and expense you invest in protecting your desktops (not to mention cleaning them up if something nasty does strike).
    For a more detailed answer, we’d recommend this article, it goes through some interesting facts on why Linux in general is more secure than Windows.
  3. If Ubuntu is free, what’s in Ubuntu Advantage? Ubuntu Advantage is Canonical enterprise services offering: it includes our systems management tool – Landscape – and support (access to the Canonical Support Services team) to help enterprises make the most of their Ubuntu experience. This offering was specifically designed to make your IT more efficient and reduce costs for large deployments.
    For more information, visit our website.
  4. What’s the largest desktop migration to Ubuntu so far? 85,000 desktops. La Gendarmerie Nationale, part of the French police force, faced growing IT infrastructure costs and decided to review its existing Microsoft-based environment. After switching from Microsoft Office to and from Internet Explorer to Firefox, the police force decided to upgrade 85,000 desktop PCs to Ubuntu, removing its reliance on the Microsoft operating system almost completely. As well as simplifying maintenance and improving ease of use, Ubuntu is saving the police force €2 million a year in licence fees alone. By repurposing 4,500 machines to act as local servers, it has also dramatically reduced its hardware expenditure.The police force’s IT team tested a number of operating systems but found Ubuntu to be the best fit for the organisation. Read the full case study.
  5. How do we do compliance for Ubuntu? As any IT manager knows, compliance is about more than reporting. It starts with the implementation of compliance policies and processes.
    The latest version of Landscape, Canonical’s systems management tool, introduces extensive access-control extensions, enabling you to implement the access policies you need.
    Roles such as ‘Auditor’ (with read access to everything but write access to nothing) or ‘Security Analyst’ (with authentication to execute scripts but not modify them or create new ones) can be defined, right up to the restriction-free ’Full Administrator’ level. Fine-grained control over these credentials is provided, with a default configuration included to ensure that these features can be used without customisation. Meanwhile, CIOs will appreciate the ability to define independent security administrator roles when needed.
    Watch the compliance and reporting video on the Working with Landscape page. Landscape produces standardised compliance reports, showing which machines are up-to-date with security patches. Machines are clearly shown as compliant or non-compliant. For non-compliant machines, further detail is also available, including the total number of days for which they have been non-compliant (or out of contact with the Landscape server). The speed with which they are brought into compliance is also tracked, to accelerate the audit process.
  6. What’s Canonical’s role in OpenStack? Ubuntu is the reference operating system for OpenStack, the world’s number one open source cloud infrastructure platform.
    The relationship between Ubuntu and OpenStack is a deep one. The release schedules of the two projects are synchronised, ensuring that OpenStack updates and releases are immediately available on widely deployed releases of Ubuntu. But most important is Ubuntu’s status as the reference OS. This means Ubuntu is the preferred base operating system, the one that most developers of OpenStack use every day. No other operating system is as therefore as tightly integrated with OpenStack – or as stringently tested with the cloud software. In short, if you want to run OpenStack (and if you’re interested in open cloud infrastructure, you definitely should be) then the best advice is to do so on Ubuntu.
  7. Why is Ubuntu the most popular operating system for cloud? Large enterprises such as HP, Microsoft, Rackspace, IBM and DreamHost provide Ubuntu images in their public cloud infrastructure, or run it for their own private and public clouds.
    Ubuntu is the number one operating system on Amazon Web Services and has been closely involved with OpenStack since the very beginning of the project. We can therefore provide engineering, consultancy and support expertise to help with any cloud project, whether you want to run your services on a major public cloud (OpenStack-based or otherwise) or build private cloud infrastructure on your own hardware.
    You can try the combination of OpenStack and Ubuntu yourself, without risk, thanks to our Jumpstart offer. Place an order for just $9,000 and we’ll send a Canonical cloud engineer to your site, to build a working OpenStack on your hardware – and it only takes five days.
  8.  How do I train as an Ubuntu system administrator? Canonical organise tailored training workshops depending on our customers’ needs.
    What’s more, a webinar series will be available in early 2013 to teach you the basics on Ubuntu. Sign up to make sure you receive the latest webinar invitation.
  9. Can Ubuntu be integrated with Microsoft infrastructure? Yes it can. You can do the work yourself, or you can work with Canonical consultants. Another solution would be to use a third-party technology designed to do just this: you can either migrate your MS servers to Ubuntu-based products such as Zentyal Enterprise Edition or connect your Ubuntu environment to your legacy Microsoft infrastructure using products like Centrify.
  10. What does Ubuntu mean? Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It can also be interpreted as ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computing. And one last extra question for the road…

    How do you pronounce Ubuntu? 
    Many people don’t get it right the first time, but it’s pronounced: oǒ’boǒntoō.
    There’s no ‘y’ at the beginning! 

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