Goobuntu: When Google Makes Its Own Ubuntu

Developer & Design

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Before Linux started to invade every facet of our lives while displaying its majesty to the everyday user, it was an operating system that developers swore by. They still do and that's why Ubuntu and other derivatives are used throughout the workplace of programmers big and small. One of the biggest is Google and they even have their own custom version of Ubuntu called Goobuntu.

Matt Cutts directed us to a talk by Google developer Thomas Bushnell at the Ubuntu Developer Conference. Ubuntu Vibes reports that Bushnell went over the Goobuntu operating system and how Google is using the Ubuntu operating system.

It probably comes as no surprise, but a lot of people at Google use Ubuntu. This is what led to the creation of Goobuntu, their own personalized version of the operating system. It's not so different from regular Ubuntu as Bushnell says the UI is essentially the same. The difference comes in the form of changes to security authentication and other background operations that make their version more stable and secure.

Goobuntu is based on the LTS releases of Ubuntu and is upgraded every release. This upgrade process can take up to four months and could even cost them anywhere around $1 million if something were to go wrong. It's nice to see a company taking upgrades so seriously, even if the potential cost is quite high.

It also appears that many Google employees can't wait until they get to upgrade to the new LTS release - Precise. Google won't be upgrading until next year, but Googlers are already suggesting changes with the next upgrade like using xmonad instead of Gnome 3.

While we knew Google and other developers used Linux Ubuntu, it's still nice to see such an active core community based around it at a major company like Google. As made obvious during Hangouts and other meetings, we see a lot of Google employees on Macbooks or Chromebooks. I'm sure they go back to using Ubuntu on their work desktops.

As Linux becomes bigger and bigger, companies are going to want to be proficient with the operating system. You don't have to make your own version of Ubuntu like Google has, but it's a good idea to start working with the operating system now. As found in a study earlier this year, more and more jobs require prospective employees to be fluent with Linux, and by extension Ubuntu.

Here's the video of Bushnell's talk. It's a fascinating look into how Google appropriates Ubuntu for their own needs. Linux fans are going to want to check it out.