Ubuntu (pronounced /uːˈbuːntuː/ oo-BOON-too), is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution. It is named after the South African ethical ideology Ubuntu ("humanity towards others") and is distributed as free and open source software. Ubuntu provides an up-to-date, stable operating system for the average user, with a strong focus on usability and ease-of-installation. Ubuntu has been selected by readers of desktoplinux.com as the most popular Linux distribution for the desktop, claiming approximately 30% of Linux desktop installations in both 2006 and 2007.
Ubuntu is composed of multiple software packages of which the vast majority is distributed under a free software license (also known as open source). The main license used is the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) which, along with the GNU Lesser General Public License (GNU LGPL), explicitly declare 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.
Ubuntu review from YouTube
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 current version of Ubuntu is 11.04 with the Long Term Support. Since 11.04 Ubuntu has the Gnome shell implemented. To give you a little impression what that means, here's a little video i found on Youtube.
Here is some history of Ubuntu Linux
Ubuntu is a fork of the Debian project's code base. The original aim was to release a new version of Ubuntu every six months, resulting in a more frequently updated system. Ubuntu's first release was on October 20, 2004. Ubuntu is released a month after GNOME releases. In contrast to other forks of Debian which extensively use proprietary and closed source add-ons, Ubuntu uses primarily free (libre) software, making an exception only for some proprietary hardware drivers.
Ubuntu packages are based on packages from Debian's unstable branch: both distributions use Debian's deb package format and package management tools (APT and Synaptic). Debian and Ubuntu packages are not necessarily binary compatible with each other, however, and sometimes .deb packages may need to be rebuilt from source to be used in Ubuntu. Many Ubuntu developers are also maintainers of key packages within Debian.
Ubuntu cooperates with Debian by pushing changes back to Debian, although there has been criticism that this doesn't happen often enough. In the past, Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian, has expressed concern about Ubuntu packages potentially diverging too far from Debian Sarge to remain compatible. Before release, packages are imported from Debian Unstable continuously and merged with Ubuntu-specific modifications. A month before release, imports are frozen, and packagers then work to ensure that the frozen features interoperate well together.
Ubuntu is currently funded by Canonical Ltd. On July 8, 2005, Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Ltd announced the creation of the Ubuntu Foundation and provided an initial funding of US$10 million. The purpose of the foundation is to ensure the support and development for all future versions of Ubuntu. Mark Shuttleworth describes the foundation as an "emergency fund" (in case Canonical's involvement ends).
The Ubuntu logo and typography has remained the same since that first release. The hand-drawn, lowercase OpenType font used is called Ubuntu-Title. The font is distributed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) (and use of the font, the Ubuntu logo, and derivatives are encouraged).
Ubuntu 8.04, released on April 24, 2008, is the current Long Term Support (LTS) release. Canonical releases LTS versions every two years, with the next scheduled LTS version in 2010. The current regular release, Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope), was released on April 23, 2009.
On March 12, 2009, Ubuntu announced developer support for 3rd party cloud management platforms, such as for those used at Amazon EC2
For people who like the stabillity of Debian Linux, and want the easy program installatation and desktop effects/goodies, Ubuntu is your Linux distribution. Just like Debian, Ubuntu has also the apt-get packagemanger implemented. There is also the possibillity to use Synaptic which is a Graphical User Interface of apt-get. Ubuntu comes in server install cd's and some live cd's. The downloads on this site contains the live cd's and the server install cd's for amd64 and x86 computers.
Ubuntu is probably the distro with the "best/most" hardware support right out of the box. So, if you don't want to do things yourself, try Ubuntu ;-)