Today is Ubuntu’s 15th birthday!

October 20, 2019, marks the 15th anniversary of the release of Ubuntu 4.10, the first ever version of Ubuntu, a desktop Linux distribution that has arguably helped change the computing landscape for the better.

15 years on and Ubuntu is still leading from the front at the cutting edge of Linux development, from cloud to cluster, desktop to data centre

That’s really not hyperbole, either; Ubuntu’s achievements extend well beyond its immediate orbit.

And the best bit? Ubuntu is still going strong today, 15 years on from its first formative foray into the feral winds of free and open source software!

Although Ubuntu is far more than “just” another desktop Linux distro these days, as its dominance and vision leading in key markets (and in whole new markets it has helped to create) is proof of, it had a humble beginning…

Flashback to Ubuntu 4.10

Ubuntu 4.10 “Warty Warthog” — named as it was still a little rough around the edges — was announced by Mark Shuttleworth on Wednesday October 20, 2004, on the Ubuntu mailing list.

What was Ubuntu 4.10 “Warty Warthog” like? Well, to find that out you’d have had to install it because, at the time, the “live CD” option (the boot menu entry that lets you try Ubuntu without installing) didn’t exist!

Not that folks of the era minded; being able to install a Linux distro from a single CD was rather novel, as was the distro’s ability to “detect as much hardware as possible” (meaning you didn’t have to spend hours configuring your own X server).

Ubuntu 4.10 shipped the GNOME 2.8 desktop, Mozilla Firefox 0.9, Evolution 2.0, and OpenOffice.org 1.1.2.

That’s not a million miles away from today, with Ubuntu 19.10 offering GNOME 3.34, Mozilla Firefox 69, and LibreOffice 6.3, a fork of OpenOffice.

Other software Warty shipped with included (get ready for some blasts from the past): GAIM, gFTP, Xchat, GIMP, the Sound Juicer CD Ripper utility, and Synaptic as the go-to package manager.

“warty-final-ubuntu” is used as the filename of the default Ubuntu wallpaper

Sadly the transiency of online content means many “of the era” ubuntu 4.10 reviews of Ubuntu 4.10 are lost in the digital dust.

But a couple of Ubuntu 4.10 reviews are still online. These might help you to understand just how big Ubuntu’s “simple install” lure was.

Happy Birthday, Ubuntu!

Fifteen frenetic, if sometimes fraught, years on from Warty and Ubuntu may boast battle scars (and a couple of failed phone projects) but it’s still leading the charge at the cutting edge of Linux development, from cloud to cluster, desktop to data centre.

So raise a glass of something pleasant (perhaps an Ubuntu wine or fizzy Ubuntu cola) to the distro that did (and still does) define Linux for human beings.

(Okay, and cats too ?)