Canonical (company)

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Canonical Ltd
Company typePrivate company limited by shares[1]
IndustryComputer software
Founded5 March 2004; 20 years ago (2004-03-05)
FounderMark Shuttleworth
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK
Area served
Key people
ServicesLandscape, Ubuntu Advantage
RevenueIncrease US$141 million (2020)[2]: 13 
Increase US$5.3 million (2020)[2]: 13 
Increase US$4.4 million (2020)[2]: 13 
Total assetsDecrease US$82 million (2020)[2]: 14 
Total equityIncrease US$−53 million (2020)[2]: 14 
Number of employees
>1000 (2023)[2]: 3 
SubsidiariesCanonical Group Ltd
Canonical USA Inc.
Canonical China Ltd (Chinese: 科能(上海)软件科技有限公司)
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"[3]
Ubuntu, the company's main product

Canonical Ltd.[4] is a privately held computer software company based in London, England. It was 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 70 countries and maintains offices in London, Austin, Boston, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Tokyo and the Isle of Man.[5][6]


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[edit]

Mark Shuttleworth (standing) and other Canonical employees discuss Launchpad at a design sprint in Germany in 2006

Other projects and services[edit]

  • Landscape,[15] a proprietary web service for centralized management of Ubuntu Linux systems
  • Ubuntu One, a discontinued service since 2014 for file synchronization and other uses
  • Ubuntu Advantage, a commercial support service that covers Ubuntu and other Canonical products
  • Multipass,[16][17] launched in 2019, provides a command line interface to launch and manage virtual machine instances of Linux in Windows, macOS and Linux.

Joint ventures[edit]

Ubuntu - Version History - Visual Timeline - 20231019
Canonical - Ecosystem - Mind Map - v20231018

Business plans[edit]

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.[19] At the same time, the word Ubuntu was trademarked in connection with clothing and accessories.[20]

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. This strategy has been compared to Red Hat's business strategies in the 1990s.[21] 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.[22]

Canonical achieved a small operating profit of $281,000 in 2009, but until 2017 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.[23] 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,[buzzword] which have proved to be most profitable. Through this, Canonical plans to maintain solvency and achieve long-term profitability.[24][25] In 2022, Ubuntu made a profit of £0.52m on revenues of £14.31m. [26]

Canonical reported a revenue of $175M in 2021. [27]


  • Canonical Group Ltd is located in London.
  • Canonical USA Inc. is located in Boston, Massachusetts and Austin, Texas.
  • Canonical China Ltd (Chinese: 科能(上海)软件科技有限公司 and 科能(上海)软件科技有限公司北京分公司) is located in Shanghai and Beijing.
  • Canonical Ltd Taiwan Branch (Chinese: 英商科能有限公司台灣分公司) is located in Taipei.
  • Canonical Limited is located in Isle of Man and Tokyo (Japan).[6]
  • Canonical Brasil Ltd is located in São Paulo (this office is no longer listed on their website).
  • Canonical Canada Ltd is located in Montreal (the office is no longer in service[28]).


Ubuntu Developer Summit October 2011

Canonical has more than 600 employees.[5] The head office is in London on the 5th Floor of the Blue Fin Building, Southwark Street,[29] having previously moved from the 27th floor of Millbank Tower.[30] In the summer of 2006, Canonical opened an office in Montreal to house its global support and services operation.[21] Taipei 101 is also home to a Canonical office.[31] There was formerly an OEM team in Lexington, Massachusetts, United States.[32]


Notable current employees of Canonical include:

  • Mark Shuttleworth, CEO and founder of the Ubuntu project, former Debian maintainer of Apache and founder of Thawte Consulting (2004–), CEO until March 2010 and from July 2017 to present
  • Jane Silber, Board of Directors,[33] formerly CEO (March 2010-July 2017); formerly COO and leader of the Ubuntu One project


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. ^ a b c d e f Canonical Group Limited (26 June 2021). "Canonical Group Limited: Report and Financial Statements: Year Ended 31 December 2020".
  3. ^ "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
  4. ^ UK registered trademark #EU004059218 "CANONICAL", filed 29 September 2004.
  5. ^ a b "About Canonical". Canonical Ltd. Archived from the original on 21 August 2010. 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.
  6. ^ a b "Canonical | Contact us".
  7. ^ UK registered trademark #EU004059119 "UBUNTU", filed 29 September 2004.
  8. ^ UK registered trademark #EU005152467 "BAZAAR", filed 21 June 2006.
  9. ^ "Canonical Releases Storm as Open Source". 9 July 2007. Archived from the original on 26 November 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  10. ^ "U1DB — u1db 0.1.4 documentation". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Conflicts, Synchronisation, and Revisions — u1db 0.1.4 documentation". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  12. ^ Canonical (6 December 2018). "Canonical launches MicroK8s – deploy Kubernetes in seconds". Snapcraft. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  13. ^ UK registered trademark #EU006251219 "LAUNCHPAD", filed 4 September 2007.
  14. ^ "Canonical releases source code for Launchpad". Canonical Ltd. Archived from the original on 8 March 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  15. ^ UK registered trademark #EU005152418 "LANDSCAPE", filed 21 June 2006, published 6 August 2007.
  16. ^ Canonical (6 December 2018). "Canonical launches MicroK8s – deploy Kubernetes in seconds". Snapcraft. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Multipass - wikieduonline". Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Windows 10 will receive an Anniversary Update with Linux support, Xbox One compatibility, and more - ExtremeTech". Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  19. ^ "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
  20. ^ "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
  21. ^ a b Shankland, Stephen (6 October 2006). "Canonical seeks profit from free Ubuntu". C|NET. Archived from the original on 30 August 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2007.
  22. ^ "A Software Populist Who Doesn't Do Windows". The New York Times. 11 January 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  23. ^ "CANONICAL GROUP LIMITED - Filing history (free information from Companies House)".
  24. ^ "Does Canonical Have Enough Technical Assets to Attract Investors?". The New Stack. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  25. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J. "Mark Shuttleworth sees increased demand for enterprise Ubuntu Linux desktop". ZDNet. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  26. ^ "CANONICAL UK LIMITED filing history - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  27. ^ "Canonical now hopes to IPO in 2023".
  28. ^ ""LOCO Team Portal: Canonical Offices Montreal"". Canonical. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Ways to contact". Canonical. Archived from the original on 29 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  30. ^ "("Where?")". 18 May 2007. Archived from the original on 28 March 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  31. ^ "Canonical Taiwan Branch @ Rm D, 46th floor, Taipei 101 building | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  32. ^ "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.
  33. ^ "A new vantage point". 12 April 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  34. ^ Remnant, Scott James. "Leaving Canonical". Archived from the original on 26 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  35. ^ "Matt Zimmerman leaving Canonical". 6 May 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  36. ^ "Canonical unterstützt LibreOffice". 22 February 2011. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2018.

External links[edit]