Volume 3, Number 5 -- February 7, 2006

Forget Goobuntu as a Commercial or Freebie Linux Distro

Published: February 7, 2006

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Everything Google does and does not do these days is the subject of much speculation and scrutiny. Last week, the Linux community was a-gog in discussing the possibilities of Goobuntu, the internal Linux desktop distribution that Google has created for its internal employees so they can interface with Google systems and each other.

As the name suggests, Goobuntu is based on the Ubuntu variant of the Debian implementation of Linux. Chris DiBona, Google's open source program manager, stepped on this rumor rather hard as soon as it surfaced in a posting on Slashdot.

"Goobuntu is our internal desktop distribution. It's awesome, but we're not going to be releasing it. Unless you work here it wouldn't work anyway," he explained. And then he put a plug in for Ubuntu. "If you haven't tried Ubuntu, you should. I have the regular one running on my laptop and it really is fantastic. I'd say it was Debian done right if I wanted to start a Debian flame war." Oops. I guess he just did, eh? And then DiBona got sarcastic, as most programmers and journalists are. "Also, know that Google getting into the Red Hat business would be kind of dumb, and it would distract from our moon teleporter and cold fusion projects."

So, there you have it. And by the way, that doesn't mean Google won't work with Ubuntu to distribute a tweaked version of Linux if and when it does deliver machinery running Linux to companies and consumers. It seems more likely that Google will partner to distribute Linux on products rather than become a Linux distributor in its own right.

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Kevin Vandever,
Shannon O'Donnell, Victor Rozek, Hesh Wiener, Alex Woodie
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