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Goobuntu – Analysis of a hoax February 1, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.
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I hope you have hear of the latest rumours regarding a Goobuntu OS supposedly being developed by google based off of Ubuntu. Well, if you haven’t, you haven’t missed much. Today (or yesterday) wasn’t the first I heard of Goobuntu.

Let me hazard a guess at how this rumour spread. A WEEK ago, I read this profile of Ubuntu/Mark Shuttleworth on the pages of an Africa-based website. That includes the following paragraph:

A key stage in Ubuntu’s growth will be persuading personal computer makers to sell machines with Ubuntu already installed. Google has developed its own version of Ubuntu, called Goobuntu. Shuttleworth says he is in talks with the city of Munich about creating an edition for them.

After reading thisI searched on Google (where else?) and found nothing (excpet a page in Japanese that I could not read) to report and so kept shut. However, I am guessing that an overactive imagination at Register must have made invisible connections between the rumoured google desktop OS and the mention of goobuntu in the article (which must have propagated through the feed-waves), to write this embarassment of an article. Among other things it has this to say:

Google has confirmed it is working on a desktop linux project called Goobuntu, but declined to supply further details, including what the project is for.

Again, we run into “undisclosed sources” and a lack of “further details”.

I used to read the Register once in a while, and had stopped a few months ago – apparently such sensationalist and questionable reporting is what they celebrate the most.

We had to wait a day to hear a google technology spokesperson say that these rumours were not true:

Despite today being earnings release day, presumably a very busy time at the Google press relations office, technology spokeswoman Sonya Borälv responded very quickly to my query on the topic. She said that “[w]e use Ubuntu internally but have no plans to distribute it outside of the company.”

However, the best part of the fiasco was this screenshot!! Folks have a hyper-active imagination, I tell you!

The good that hopefully came out of all this is that a few geeks (like us) who can’t be seperated from their feedreaders and forums would probably now be stoked by the question, “so what is this ‘Ubuntu’ all about then?”. I hope a few of them come to stay. That google uses Ubuntu internally is a great thing – a seemingly valid endorsement of how Ubuntu’s development has progressed so far, towards a simpler, stabler desktop linux.

Comments»

1. baxter - February 1, 2006

Hehe, poor register 🙂

Enjoyed the article. Keep up the good work!

2. volldamm.net » Goobuntu: el sistema operatiu de Google - February 1, 2006

[…] Goobuntu: el sistema operatiu de Google Actualitzat: Hi ha qui considera que tot podria continuar sent un rumor. […]

3. Justin Freeman - February 1, 2006

I attended a talk by Mark Shuttleworth on Monday. He talked briefly about Gubuntu and the possibility of it being released as a Google Desktop OS and I believe he did say that it was currently G-internal use only. Discussion also flowed into possibilities of Google replacing their existing much- patched Linux server farms with a Ubuntu server distro. It was interesting stuff 🙂

4. Justin Freeman - February 1, 2006

There’s a quick summary of the Mark Shuttleworth talk on our blog, http://blog.agileware.net/index.php/archives/2006/01/30/mark-shuttleworth-speaks-about-ubuntu/

5. techygurl - February 1, 2006

great screen shot 😉 Love the articles!

6. Andy’s Blog » Goobuntu, smentita ufficiale di Google! - February 1, 2006

[…] La notizia pubblicata da The Register e da me prontamente riportata si e’ a quanto pare dimostrata una ‘bufala’: google ha smentito ufficialmente che la versione di Ubuntu da loro utilizzata possa venir resa disponibile al pubblico…:-) Despite today being earnings release day, presumably a very busy time at the Google press relations office, technology spokeswoman Sonya Borälv responded very quickly to my query on the topic. She said that “[w]e use Ubuntu internally but have no plans to distribute it outside of the company.” Goobuntu, Linux, Ubuntu, Hoax […]

7. eDevil’s weblog » Goobuntu - February 1, 2006

[…] Read more about the Goobuntu hoax on the Ubuntu blog. […]

8. Daniel Fryar - February 1, 2006

I don’t care about a new distro, but if Google ports their desktop apps to Linux, then woo-hoo! Google Earth and Picasa on Linux would be great.

9. ubuntonista - February 1, 2006

Thanks for the comments, folks.

Daniel – I am sure if the folks at work in google wanted to use those tools they’d find it much easier to move over to the other desk and use them on a Windows computer, than to rewrite it for Linux 😉

Just Kidding!

10. Mario on Free Software » Blog Archive » Goobuntu? I’d welcome that. - February 1, 2006

[…] Update: The Ubuntu Blog points out Goobuntu as a hoax.  And I got excited for nothing… […]

11. Never Tell… » Blog Archive » Goobuntu … a hoax? - February 1, 2006

[…] this article Ubuntu Blog � Goobuntu – Analysis of a hoax is interesting, and worth a read. in short … goobuntu is a no show. […]

12. ::Mc VeaT ::DevBlog » Goobuntu to hoax :( - February 1, 2006

[…] Trafiłem na informację, że jednak to wszystko plotka. […]

13. blaze - February 2, 2006

Haha love the screenshot! Very nice touch.

14. vom Untergang » Kein Gubuntu - February 2, 2006

[…] Im allgemeinen scheint jeder anzunehmen dass the register recht hat, auch wenn dort steht, dass man nur vermutet, dass Google Goobuntu rausbringen will. Leider wurde dem Webmaster von Google Blogoscoped mitgeteilt, dass die Google Edition von Ubuntu, Goobuntu, NUR intern verwendet wird. Auch Slashdot weiß das nun. Update: Auch wenn Leute schon Screenshots erfunden haben gibt es kein Goobuntu. Den Link wollte ich eigentlich gleich am Anfang posten, konnte ihn aber leider nicht wiederfinden. Etwas ausführlicher berichten die Leute beim Ubuntu Blog darüber Immerhin ist es nun auch Alp Uçkan aufgefallen;) […]

15. tockar’s blog v1.1 » Blog Archive » Znowu Google… - February 2, 2006

[…] A wczoraj, na Ubuntu Blog przeczytaem, e Google miaoby stworzy swj linuksowy OS oparty na dystrybucji Ubuntu. Ju ochrzczono go mianem Goobuntu. […]

16. The guy who wrote that Linux book - February 3, 2006

How strange is it that we might think Google will release a Linux distro based on Ubuntu? Let’s look at the evidence:

1) Google use Linux internally for their monster servers and have done so since the early days (its open source nature gave them the freedom they needed). Google’s Linux technicians have always talked about “giving something back” to the Linux community which, coincidentally, is why Shuttleworth founded Ubuntu. His own startup, Thawte, relied on open source and he wanted to give something back. So we have a meeting of philsophies here.

2) Google sponsored the “Summer of Code” project, one product of which was Sbackup, a backup program developed by Ubuntu developers in association with some Google boffins. There might be more Summer of Code projects relating to Ubuntu, but the key thing is that Ubuntu and Google have already formed alliances and worked together.

3) Why would Google choose Ubuntu? Well, Ubuntu is an organization and not a company. Google couldn’t have used Fedora or SUSE because they’re owned by Red Hat and Novell repsectively. It wouldn’t have looked good to Google’s shareholders (particularly considering most Linux companies sail perilously close to the financial wind most of the time).

I don’t think this is a rumor. But I also don’t think that Google is about to release a Linux distro. In fact, I sincerely hope they don’t because, until all those annoying issues are sorted (multimedia codecs, installer, hardware drivers etc), Linux just isn’t ready for a huge push. A Google marketing campaign on behalf of desktop Linux could end up driving people away and sealing the fate of Linux on the destkop. In some ways, I bet that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer WANT Google to do a Linux distro because they realize it would be a Very Bad Thing.

17. teknokool.net » links for 2006-02-04 - February 4, 2006

[…] Ubuntu Blog » Goobuntu – Analysis of a hoax (tags: google linux ubuntu) […]

18. Cristian Vat - February 5, 2006

Screenshot sucks 🙂
Moving on to other things… Google using Ubuntu comes as no surprise, it really is a great desktop linux distribution. For long I’ve been a slackware enthusiast but now both at home and at work I use Ubuntu. It just makes a lot of things more easier and uncomplicated. And having Debian power under the hood is always a good thing.

I don’t think google should release their internal version but I think they could help by backporting to Ubuntu some of the patches or features they develop for their own use( of course without releasing google-specific information).

Go google go!, and go Ubuntu go! 🙂

19. Ethan Cane - March 28, 2006

[I hope you have hear of the latest rumours]

should read

[I hope you have heard of the latest rumours]

Just a typo.

Sorry to just post typos… Still a newbie and feel this is the best to contribute right now.

Great site.

Ethan.

20. Goobuntu Linux - July 24, 2006

[…] Ubuntu Blog Goobuntu – Analysis of a hoax Google has developed its own version of Ubuntu, called Goobuntu. Shuttleworth says he is in talks … Update: The Ubuntu Blog points out Goobuntu as a hoax. … No Comments so far Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> […]

21. zenfan74 - March 3, 2007

Whatever google does is their thing but this rumor gets people thinking and thinking makes things happen. I use zenwalk but ubuntu is good for the comunity. Hoaxes have power look at all the hp lovecraft hoaxes , and you’ll see what i meen rumor and conjectuer have real power. I’ll continue hppily useing zen but whether google or whoever with a big name suports it or not ubuntu will benifit from the rumor of it and thats good for everyone

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24. Ubuntu | Open Source: The future - December 12, 2008

[…] Goobuntu: Another Ubuntu derivative, information about which was commonly visible on the Internet a few months ago is Goobuntu, which was supposedly being developed by Google, from Ubuntu. It turned out to be a rumor though. Wikipedia had a mention of this, and searching for Goobuntu on google still returns this article from wikipedia on the top. […]

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