Google debunks Goobuntu report
Google Inc. confirmed on Wednesday that it is using the Ubuntu desktop Linux internally, but it wouldn’t give specifics about how it is being used. The Internet search giant denied a widely circulated report that it is secretly developing its own Linux distribution.
The Register, a U.K.-based technology news site, reported Tuesday that Google was in the process of developing its own distro — using as a base the popular Ubuntu open source operating system to go with the Gnome desktop. The report has led to speculation among bloggers that Google might be readying a desktop OS to take on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, a rumor that has been around for several months.
Google spokeswoman Sonya Boralv told DesktopLinux.com and numerous other media outlets that “we utilize the Ubuntu technology for internal use, but have no plans to distribute it outside of the company.” She also said that staff members were not using the name “Goobunto” internally for the software.
Last fall, at a press conference in which Google and Sun Microsystems announced a partnership to add the Google search toolbar to the Solaris 10 operating system, DesktopLinux.com asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt directly about the rumored new operating system.
Schmidt did not deny the existence of such a project when he smiled and replied, “Well, as you know, we’re in the end-user Internet search business.”
Today, a source close to the company, who asked to not be identified for this story, told DesktopLinux.com that there indeed is operating system experimentation going on at Google. However, the source would not be more specific than that.
Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning “humanity to others.” The Ubuntu Linux distro is an open-source project founded — and heavily funded — by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth also founded the Internet security company, Thawte, which he sold six years ago.
The Ubuntu Linux distribution, available here, is based on the Debian Linux distribution and uses the Gnome desktop. Kubuntu, a cousin of Ubuntu, is the same distribution but with KDE instead of Gnome as its desktop. Both are available via LiveCD, install CD, or combination DVDs for three architectures. Edubuntu, a third member of the Ubuntu family, aims at the education market.