Canonical (company)

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Canonical Ltd.
Company typePrivate company limited by shares
IndustryComputer software
Founded5 March 2004 (2004-03-05)
FounderMark Shuttleworth
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK
Area servedWorldwide
Key people
ServicesLandscape, Ubuntu Advantage
RevenueIncrease US$250 million (2023): 13 
Operating incomeIncrease US$7.8 million (2023): 13 
Net incomeIncrease US$12.5 million (2023): 13 
Total assetsIncrease US$156 million (2023): 14 
Total equityDecrease US$−7.2 million (2023): 14 
Number of employees>1000 (2023): 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"
Ubuntu, the company's main product

Canonical Ltd. 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.


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

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

Other projects and services

Joint ventures

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

Business plans

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

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. 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.

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. 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, which have proved to be most profitable. Through this, Canonical plans to maintain solvency and achieve long-term profitability. In 2022, Ubuntu made a profit of £0.52m on revenues of £14.31m.

Canonical reported a revenue of $175M in 2021.



Ubuntu Developer Summit October 2011

Canonical has more than 1200 employees. The head office is in London on the 5th Floor of the Blue Fin Building, Southwark Street, having previously moved from the 27th floor of Millbank Tower. In the summer of 2006, Canonical opened an office in Montreal to house its global support and services operation. Taipei 101 is also home to a Canonical office. There was formerly an OEM team in Lexington, Massachusetts, United States.


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. ^ a b c d e f Canonical Group Limited (6 July 2024). "Canonical Group Limited: Report and Financial Statements: Year Ended 31 December 2023".
  3. ^ "Company no. 110334C". The Isle of Man Companies Registry. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2005. M R S VIRTUAL DEVELOPMENT LIMITED 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.
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  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
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  22. ^ "A Software Populist Who Doesn't Do Windows". The New York Times. 11 January 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
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  25. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J. "Mark Shuttleworth sees increased demand for enterprise Ubuntu Linux desktop". ZDNet. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
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  27. ^ "Canonical now hopes to IPO in 2023".
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  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.
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  35. ^ "Matt Zimmerman leaving Canonical". 6 May 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
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