Canonical (company)

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Canonical Ltd
Private company limited by shares[1]
Industry Computer software
Founded 5 March 2004
Founder Mark Shuttleworth
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Mark Shuttleworth
Jane Silber (CEO)
Products Ubuntu, Launchpad, Bazaar, Landscape, Ubuntu One[2]
Revenue $30 million (2009)[3]
Number of employees
Subsidiaries Canonical 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, the company's main product

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, Boston, Taipei, Montreal, Shanghai, São Paulo and the Isle of Man.[4]


Canonical Ltd. has created and continues to back several projects. Principally these are free/open-source software (FOSS) or tools designed to improve collaboration between free software developers and contributors.

Open-source software[edit]

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

Other projects and services[edit]

  • Landscape,[12] a proprietary web service for centralized management of Ubuntu systems.
  • Ubuntu Software Center.
  • Ubuntu One, (discontinued) a service for file synchronization and other uses.
  • Canonical supplies some of the core engineering to Linaro which invests in upstream projects.
  • Ubuntu Advantage, In Japan, the support service sales by K.K. Ashisuto.

Business plans[edit]

In a Guardian interview in May 2008, Mark Shuttleworth said that the Canonical business model was service provision and explained that Canonical was not yet close to profitability. Canonical also claimed it will wait for the business to turn into a profitable one within another 3 to 5 years. He regarded Canonical as positioning itself as demand for services related to free software rose.[13] This strategy has been compared to Red Hat's business strategies in the 1990s.[14] However, in an early 2009 New York Times article, Shuttleworth said that Canonical's revenue was "creeping" towards $30 million, the company's break-even point.[15]

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.[16] At the same time, the word Ubuntu was trademarked in connection with clothing and accessories.[17]


  • Canonical Group Ltd is located in London.
  • Canonical USA Inc. is located in Lexington, 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.
  • 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.[4] The head office is in London, previously on the 27th floor of Millbank Tower,[18] but now on the 5th Floor of the Blue Fin Building, Southwark Street.[19] In the summer of 2006, Canonical opened an office in Montreal to house its global support and services operation.[14] Taipei 101 is also home to a Canonical office.[20] There is also an OEM team in Lexington, Massachusetts, United States.[21]


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 on 2013-09-27.
  3. ^ Vance, Ashlee (2009-01-11). "Ubuntu and its Leader Set Sights on the Mainstream". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  4. ^ a b c "About Canonical". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved 2012-08-20. We've come a long way since our launch in 2004. We now have over 500 staff in more than 30 countries, and offices in London, Boston, Taipei, Montreal, Shanghai, São Paulo and the Isle of Man. 
  5. ^ "Company no. 110334C". The Isle of Man Companies Registry. Retrieved 2005-05-18. [ Previous names: ] M R S VIRTUAL DEVELOPMENT LIMITED [ Name type: ] PREVIOUS 
  6. ^ UK registered trademark #EU004059218 "CANONICAL", filed 2004–09–29.
  7. ^ UK registered trademark #EU004059119 "UBUNTU", filed 2004–09–29.
  8. ^ UK registered trademark #EU005152467 "BAZAAR", filed 2006–06–21.
  9. ^ "Canonical Releases Storm as Open Source". 2007-07-09. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  10. ^ UK registered trademark #EU006251219 "LAUNCHPAD", filed 2007–09–04.
  11. ^ "Canonical releases source code for Launchpad". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  12. ^ UK registered trademark #EU005152418 "LANDSCAPE", filed 2006–06–21, published 2007–08–06.
  13. ^ Moody, Glyn (2008-05-22). "'Linux is a platform for people, not just specialists'". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  14. ^ a b Shankland, Stephen. Canonical seeks profit from free Ubuntu, C|NET, 2006-10-06. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
  15. ^ "A Software Populist Who Doesn’t Do Windows". The New York Times. 2009-01-11. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  16. ^ "Canonical launches U.S.-based in time for holiday season". Canonical Ltd. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 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 
  17. ^ "UK registered trademark #EU007426265". UK Intellectual Property Office. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2009-02-09. Mark text: UBUNTU ... Class 16: Stationery; ... Class 18: Luggage; ... Class 25: Articles of clothing ... CANONICAL LIMITED 
  18. ^ "("Where?")". 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  19. ^ Ways to contact. Canonical. Retrieved on 2013-09-27.
  20. ^ Canonical Taiwan Branch @ Rm D, 46th floor, Taipei 101 building | Flickr - Photo Sharing!. Flickr (2009-02-26). Retrieved on 2013-09-27.
  21. ^ "Ubuntu for Android". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved 2012-02-21. We have over 500 staff in more than 30 countries, with offices in London, Boston, Taipei, Montreal, Shanghai, and São Paulo. 
  22. ^ Remnant, Scott James, Leaving Canonical, accessed 2011-01-22
  23. ^ "Matt Zimmerman leaving Canonical". 2011-05-06. Retrieved 2013-04-07. 

External links[edit]