The Origins of Ubuntu OS

Cody McLain
2 min readMay 29, 2019

You might have heard of the open-source Linux Operating system(OS) known as Ubuntu. It was first released in 2014 and is now one of the most popular OS’s on the planet. It is behind the world’s fastest supercomputer, runs on the most web servers around the world, and is even behind the technology used by Google’s Self-driving car.

But do you know what “Ubuntu” actually means?

The story goes that an Anthropologist proposed a game to African tribal children. He placed a basket of sweets near a tree, and then had them stand a few hundred feet away. Whoever reached the basket first would get all the sweets.

When he said ready steady go…Do you know what these small children did?

They all held each other’s hands and ran towards the tree together, divided the sweets and enjoyed them equally.

When the Anthropologist asked them why you did so?

They said “Ubuntu”. Which to them, meant ’How can one be happy when all the others are sad?

It turns out that word “Ubuntu” is a South African ethical ideology that focuses on people’s allegiances and relations with each other. The word comes from the Zulu and Xhosa languages and is regarded as one of the founding principles of the new republic of South Africa.

A rough translation of the principle of Ubuntu is “a belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all of humanity.

Let us always carry this attitude within us, to spread happiness by sharing with others wherever we may go. I am because we are.

“A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Fun fact: The Ubuntu logo represents 3 friend’s holding hands.

🍺 to a great week ahead!

- Cody



Cody McLain

Founder of $12m SupportNinja, Author of From Foster Care to Millionaire book, Host of Podcast