This article has been updated since release, please see the footnotes to this article for information regarding the update.
Google has confirmed development of a project refered to internally as “Goobuntu.”
Ubuntu Linux is currently ranked the fastest growing Linux distribution for the home desktop and the home office by Distrowatch, and other Linux distribution information websites. Google has admitted to the press that they are working on a project entitled Goobuntu, however, refuse to release further information.
Google and Microsoft have been intense competitors since Google has begun pushing their data organization services to other markets, such as the home desktop. Microsoft, owner of the 3rd most popular search engine, MSN.com, currently holds the worlds largest operating system market with their Windows OS, however, competitors such as Apple and Ubuntu have been slowing eating away at this market share.
Ubuntu Linux, based on the Debian distribution has a range of offspring, including Kubuntu - the KDE-based Ubuntu distribution - and Xubuntu - the XFCE-based distibution - sticking to the naming scheme, Google’s Goobuntu could be a significant addition to the Linux-desktop market, and has the potential to move further on to Microsoft’s territory
It’s important for BetaDot readers to understand that Goobuntu could simply be one of Google’s 20%-time projects, where Google engineers are given Friday’s to work on any projects they believe could contribute to Google. Even so, many of Google’s current services, such as Gmail and Google Maps, have come from these 20%-time systems.
Ubuntu’s funder, Mark Shuttleworth, made his fortune when selling security and signing software to Verisign Inc., has since contributed to FLOSS projects such as Ubuntu. The project is currently aiming to distribute Ubuntu Linux with pre-developed PC packages from such companies as Dell and HP.
Google does not own Goobuntu.com, and will likely end up releasing the project under a different name, if ever launched to the general public.
Update: Google has released a statement to Arstechnica saying there are no plans to release Goobuntu outside Googleplex. “[We] use Ubuntu internally but have no plans to distribute it outside of the company.” The Arstechnica article also mentions the GPL v3’s anti-DRM features as a potential reason why Ubuntu may never be adopted by Google publically.