Canonical (company)

Canonical Ltd.[6] is a UK-based privately held computer software company founded and funded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu and related projects. Canonical employs staff in more than 30 countries and maintains offices in London, Austin, Boston, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, and the Isle of Man.[7]

Canonical Ltd
Private company limited by shares[1]
IndustryComputer software
Founded5 March 2004
FounderMark Shuttleworth
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Mark Shuttleworth (CEO)
Neil French (COO)
Seb Butter (CFO)
Jane Silber (Board Member & Former CEO)
ProductsUbuntu Linux, Launchpad, Bazaar, Ubuntu One[2]
ServicesLandscape, Ubuntu Advantage
RevenueIncrease US$125.97 million (2017)[3]
Increase US$2.083 million (2017)[3][4]:7
Decrease -US$521,000 (2017)[4]:7
Total assetsIncrease US$436.773 million (2017)[4]:8
Total equityDecrease -US$73.976 million (2017)[4]:8
Number of employees
566 (2017)[3]
SubsidiariesCanonical Group Ltd
Canonical USA Inc.
Canonical China Ltd (Chinese: 科能软件股份有限公司)
Canonical Brasil Ltda
Canonical Canada Ltd
Canonical Ltd Taiwan Br. (Chinese: 英屬曼島商肯諾有限公司臺灣分公司)
Footnotes / references
Formerly "M R S Virtual Development Ltd"[5]
Ubuntu 18.10
Ubuntu, the company's main product


Canonical Ltd. has created and continues to back several projects. Principally these are free and open-source software (FOSS) or tools designed to improve collaboration between free software developers and contributors. Some projects require a Contributor License Agreement to be signed.

Open-source software

Mark Shuttleworth (standing) and other Canonical employees discuss Launchpad at a design sprint in Germany

Other projects and services

  • Landscape,[13] a proprietary web service for centralized management of Ubuntu Linux systems
  • Ubuntu One, a discontinued service for file synchronization and other uses
  • Canonical supplies some of the core engineering to Linaro which invests in upstream projects
  • Ubuntu Advantage, a commercial support service that covers Ubuntu and other Canonical products

Joint ventures

Business plans

In 2007, Canonical launched an International online shop selling support services and Ubuntu-branded goods; later in 2008 it expanded that with a United States-specific shop designed to reduce shipment times.[14] At the same time, the word Ubuntu was trademarked in connection with clothing and accessories.[15]

In a Guardian interview in May 2008, Shuttleworth said that Canonical's business model was service provision and that Canonical was not yet close to profitability. Canonical stated that it would wait three to five years to become profitable. Shuttleworth regarded Canonical as positioning itself as demand for services related to free software rose.[16] This strategy has been compared to Red Hat's business strategies in the 1990s.[17] In an early-2009 New York Times article, Shuttleworth said that Canonical's revenue was "creeping" towards US$30 million, the company's break-even point.[18]

Canonical achieved a small operating profit of $281,000 in 2009, however until 2017 it struggled to maintain financial solvency and took a major financial hit from the development of Unity and Ubuntu Touch, leading to an operating loss of $21.6 Million for the fiscal year 2013.[19] The company reported an operating profit of $2 Million in 2017 after shutting down the Unity development team and laying off nearly 200 employees. The company now plans to focus on its server and professional support solutions, which have proved to be most profitable. By shifting resources away from Ubuntu Desktop and cutting less profitable products and services, Canonical plans to maintain solvency and achieve long-term profitability.


  • Canonical Group Ltd is located in London.
  • Canonical USA Inc. is located in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Canonical China Ltd (Chinese: 科能软件股份有限公司) is located in Shanghai.
  • Canonical Brasil Ltda is located in São Paulo.
  • Canonical Canada Ltd is located in Montreal (the office is no longer in service[20]).
  • Canonical Ltd Taiwan Br. (Chinese: 英屬曼島商肯諾有限公司臺灣分公司) is located in Taipei.


Ubuntu Developer Summit October 2011

Canonical has more than 500 employees.[7] The head office is in London on the 5th Floor of the Blue Fin Building, Southwark Street,[21] having previously moved from the 27th floor of Millbank Tower.[22] In the summer of 2006, Canonical opened an office in Montreal to house its global support and services operation.[17] Taipei 101 is also home to a Canonical office.[23] There is also an OEM team in Lexington, Massachusetts, United States.[24]


Notable current employees of Canonical include:


Notable past employees:


  1. ^ The Isle of Man Companies Registry, Annual Return 2005 for Company no. 110334C (non-distributable, available for a fee of £1.00)
  2. ^ "Overview". Canonical. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c "A Look At Canonical's Financial Performance From 2009 To 2017 - Phoronix".
  4. ^ a b c d
  5. ^ "Company no. 110334C". The Isle of Man Companies Registry. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2005. [ Previous names: ] M R S VIRTUAL DEVELOPMENT LIMITED [ Name type: ] PREVIOUS
  6. ^ UK registered trademark #EU004059218 "CANONICAL", filed 29 September 2004.
  7. ^ a b "About Canonical". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved 20 August 2012. We've come a long way since our launch in 2004. We now have over 800 staff in more than 42 countries, and offices in London, Austin, Boston, Taipei, Montreal, Shanghai, São Paulo and the Isle of Man.
  8. ^ UK registered trademark #EU004059119 "UBUNTU", filed 29 September 2004.
  9. ^ UK registered trademark #EU005152467 "BAZAAR", filed 21 June 2006.
  10. ^ "Canonical Releases Storm as Open Source". 9 July 2007. Archived from the original on 26 November 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  11. ^ UK registered trademark #EU006251219 "LAUNCHPAD", filed 4 September 2007.
  12. ^ "Canonical releases source code for Launchpad". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  13. ^ UK registered trademark #EU005152418 "LANDSCAPE", filed 21 June 2006, published 6 August 2007.
  14. ^ "Canonical launches U.S.-based in time for holiday season". Ubuntu Insights. Canonical Ltd. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2015. Canonical launched today an U.S.-based on-line shop for Ubuntu-branded merchandise and software. With a new fulfillment house in St. Louis, Missouri, shipments are faster and less expensive for Ubuntu users and enthusiasts in the U.S
  15. ^ "UK registered trademark #EU007426265". UK Intellectual Property Office. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2009. Mark text: UBUNTU ... Class 16: Stationery; ... Class 18: Luggage; ... Class 25: Articles of clothing ... CANONICAL LIMITED
  16. ^ Moody, Glyn (22 May 2008). "'Linux is a platform for people, not just specialists'". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  17. ^ a b Shankland, Stephen (6 October 2006). "Canonical seeks profit from free Ubuntu". C|NET. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  18. ^ "A Software Populist Who Doesn't Do Windows". The New York Times. 11 January 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  19. ^ "CANONICAL GROUP LIMITED - Filing history (free information from Companies House)".
  20. ^ ""LOCO Team Portal: Canonical Offices Montreal"". Canonical. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Ways to contact". Canonical. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  22. ^ "("Where?")". 18 May 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  23. ^ "Canonical Taiwan Branch @ Rm D, 46th floor, Taipei 101 building | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  24. ^ "Ubuntu for Android". Canonical Ltd. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012. We have over 500 staff in more than 30 countries, with offices in London, Boston, Taipei, Montreal, Shanghai, and São Paulo.
  25. ^ "A new vantage point". 12 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  26. ^ Remnant, Scott James. "Leaving Canonical". Archived from the original on 26 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  27. ^ "Matt Zimmerman leaving Canonical". 6 May 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  28. ^ "Canonical unterstützt LibreOffice". Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2018.

External links

Contributor License Agreement

A Contributor License Agreement (CLA) defines the terms under which intellectual property has been contributed to a company/project, typically software under an open source license.

GNU Bazaar

GNU Bazaar (formerly Bazaar-NG, command line tool bzr) is a distributed and client–server revision control system sponsored by Canonical.

Bazaar can be used by a single developer working on multiple branches of local content, or by teams collaborating across a network.

Bazaar is written in the Python programming language, with packages for major Linux distributions, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. Bazaar is free software and part of the GNU Project.

Jane Silber

Jane Silber is a board member of Canonical Ltd. and was its Chief Executive Officer from 2010 to 2017. Silber is also the chair of the board of The Sensible Code Company, whose products include QuickCode.Silber joined Canonical in July 2004, where her work has included leading the Ubuntu One project and ensuring that large organizations find Ubuntu "enterprise-ready". She partially attributes the increasing attention to user research and design in open source since 2009 to Canonical's leadership in this area. Silber announced her transition out of the CEO role in April 2017, with Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth resuming the position from July 2017.Silber's earlier roles include Vice President of Interactive Television Company and Vice President of General Dynamics C4 Systems. She has also worked in Japan for Teijin Ltd conducting artificial intelligence research and product development, and in the US at General Health, a health risk assessment firm.

She holds an MBA degree from Oxford University's Saïd Business School, an MSc degree in Management of Technology from Vanderbilt University, where she concentrated on machine learning and artificial intelligence work, and a BSc degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Haverford College.

Juju (software)

Juju is an open source application modeling tool developed by Canonical Ltd. Juju focuses on reducing the operation overhead of today's software by facilitating quickly deploying, configuring, scaling, integrating, and performing operational tasks on a wide choice of public and private cloud services along with bare metal servers and local container based deployments.

Launchpad (website)

Launchpad is a web application and website that allows users to develop and maintain software, particularly open-source software. It is developed and maintained by Canonical Ltd.

On 21 July 2009, the source code was released publicly under the GNU Affero General Public License.

As of June 2018, the Launchpad repository hosts more than 40,000 projects. The domain attracted 1 million visitors by August 2009 according to a survey.


LightDM is a free and open-source X display manager that aims to be lightweight, fast, extensible and multi-desktop. It can use various front-ends to draw User Interface, also called Greeters.LightDM is the default display manager for Ubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu and Mythbuntu since 11.10 release, for Lubuntu since 12.04 release, for Kubuntu beginning with 12.10 until 15.04 for Linux Mint, and Antergos.

Linux on embedded systems

Operating systems based on the Linux kernel are used in embedded systems such as consumer electronics (i.e. set-top boxes, smart TVs, personal video recorders (PVRs), in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), networking equipment (such as routers, switches, wireless access points (WAPs) or wireless routers), machine control, industrial automation, navigation equipment, spacecraft flight software, and medical instruments in general).

Thanks to their versatility, operating systems based on the Linux kernel can be also found in mobile devices that are actually touchscreen-based embedded devices, such as smartphones and tablets, together with personal digital assistants (PDAs) and portable media players that also include a touchscreen.

Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Richard Shuttleworth (born 18 September 1973) is a South African entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Canonical Ltd., the company behind the development of the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. In 2002, he became the first South African to travel to space as a space tourist. He lives on the Isle of Man and holds dual citizenship from South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Millbank Tower

Millbank Tower is a 118-metre (387 ft) high skyscraper in the City of Westminster at Millbank, by the River Thames in London. The tower was constructed in 1963, and has been home to many high-profile political organisations, including the Labour and Conservative parties, and the United Nations.

Mir (software)

Mir is a computer display server and, recently, a Wayland compositor for the Linux operating system that is under development by Canonical Ltd. It was planned to replace the currently used X Window System for Ubuntu, however the plan changed and Mutter was adopted as part of GNOME Shell.

Mir was announced by Canonical on 4 March 2013 as part of the development of Unity 8, intended as the next generation for the Unity user interface. Four years later Unity 8 was dropped although Mir's development continued for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Paper cut bug

In usability and interaction design, a paper cut bug is defined as "a trivially fixable usability bug".The developers of the Ubuntu Linux-based operating system describe it as a bug that average users would encounter on their first day using a brand new installation of the latest version of Ubuntu Desktop Edition. The analogy is with a paper cut; small, not seriously damaging, but surprisingly painful. The use of the term has since spread to other software projects.

Storm (software)

Storm is a Python programming library for object-relational mapping between one or more SQL databases and Python objects. It allows Python developers to formulate complex queries spanning multiple database tables to support dynamic storage and retrieval of object information.

MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite database support is built into Storm, and the API allows for support for others. Storm also supports the Django and Zope web frameworks natively. Twisted support is planned for the .20 release.

Ubuntu Edge

The Ubuntu Edge was a proposed high-concept smartphone announced by Canonical Ltd. on 22 July 2013. Canonical was seeking to crowdfund a production run of around 40,000 units through Indiegogo. It had the highest target of any crowdfunded project to date, $32,000,000 over a one-month campaign. The Edge was not intended to go into mass production after the initial run, but rather to serve as a demonstration for new technologies for the industry. The Edge fell short of its funding goal, raising only $12,809,906, with 5682 pledges to purchase the standard model of the handset.The Edge was designed as a hybrid device, which would function as a high-end smartphone (with both Ubuntu Touch and Android), or—when used with a monitor, keyboard and mouse—be able to operate as a conventional desktop PC running Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Edge was also designed to support dual boot, and was to run along with Android.

Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One is an OpenID-based single sign-on service operated by Canonical Ltd. to allow users to log onto many Canonical-owned Web sites. Until April 2014, Ubuntu One was also a file hosting service and music store that allowed users to store data "in the cloud".

The service enabled users to store files online and sync them between computers and mobile devices, as well as stream audio and music from cloud to mobile devices.

In April 2014, Canonical announced that the cloud storage and synchronization features would be shut down at the end of July 31 of 2014, leaving the sign-on features intact.

Ubuntu Single Sign On

Ubuntu Single Sign On (also known as Ubuntu SSO, Launchpad Login Service) was an OpenID-based single sign-on service provided by Canonical to allow users to log into many websites.

On June 21, 2013, Canonical announced that Ubuntu Single Sign On would be re-branded under Ubuntu One as part of consolidating Canonical's online services under the Ubuntu One brand.

Ubuntu Touch

Ubuntu Touch (also known as Ubuntu Phone) is a mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system that was originally developed by Canonical Ltd. and is now being developed by the UBports community. It is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, however the original goal of convergence was intended to bring Ubuntu Touch to Laptop/Desktops, IOT devices, TVs and smart watches for a complete unified user experience.

Mark Shuttleworth announced that Canonical Ltd. would terminate support for the project due to lack of market interest on 5 April 2017 and it was then adopted by the UBports as a community project. The UBports project was seeded by Marius Gripsgard in 2015 and the programming source code for the project was transferred to the UBports Foundation where it now resides. UBports' mission is to support the collaborative development of Ubuntu Touch and to promote the widespread use of Ubuntu Touch.

Unity (user interface)

Unity is a graphical shell for the GNOME desktop environment originally developed by Canonical Ltd. for its Ubuntu operating system. Unity debuted in the netbook edition of Ubuntu 10.10. It was initially designed to make more efficient use of space given the limited screen size of netbooks, including, for example, a vertical application switcher called the launcher, and a space-saving horizontal multipurpose top menu bar.Unlike GNOME, KDE Software Compilation, Xfce, or LXDE, Unity is not a collection of applications but is designed to use existing programs.Unity is part of the Ayatana project, an initiative with the stated intention of improving the user experience within Ubuntu. In addition to Unity, there are Application Indicators and other projects such as MeMenu, the notification system and the application NotifyOSD gathered.

On 5 April 2017, Mark Shuttleworth announced that Canonical's work on Unity would end and that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, a year away from release at the time, would abandon the Unity desktop and employ the GNOME 3 desktop instead, as Canonical moves away from its ambitions to produce a unified cell phone and desktop operating system and concentrates on desktop, cloud computing and Internet of things platforms instead. UBports founder Marius Gripsgård announced that the organization would continue Unity development.

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