Ubuntu 20th Anniversary - Party Planning

Hello folks,

with Ubuntu 24.10 we’re reaching the 20th anniversary of Ubuntu! There is certainly a lot that “Ubuntu” could do for its own anniversary, but because Ubuntu is what it is because we all are, I’d love to gather some input from the community on how you think we should celebrate.

An anniversary of this magnitude isn’t just any celebration; it’s akin to preparing a party for someone who has been a dear friend, mentor, and companion to us all. Someone who has shaped the world of open source substantially. Someone who has grown and evolved thanks to your passion, contributions, and believing in the shared mission.

So tell me, what does Ubuntu mean to you? What do you like most about it today, and what was it like back when you got started? Most importantly, where do you see Ubuntu going in the next 20 years?

Going on to party planning, what do you think would be appropriate ways to celebrate such a milestone? Here are questions to get you started:

  • What traditions are unique to Ubuntu that have made it what it is today? What traditions should begin this year that would mark the next 20 years of Ubuntu?
  • How would you ensure that the broadest possible audience can be part of the celebration?
  • What creative ways could we share stories from Ubuntu’s journey to celebrate both major milestones and the small, personal victories?

I’m hoping we can get together some great ideas that our community members are excited to drive, and really make a big bang as we reach this stellar milestone.


This is going to sound super cheesy, but even though I wasn’t around the Linux world at the time, it seems the early history of Ubuntu is so often associated with mailing out CDs to folks to be able to install Linux on their PCs. It might be fun to memorialize whatever stories and milestones people have in a format that supports being printed on roughly square pages, and then print some number of booklets where the front and rear covers mimic the look of the CDs that went out?


Happy 20th Birthday Ubuntu!

This is a fantastic milestone! Happy 20th Anniversary to Ubuntu!

Ubuntu has undeniably played a major role in shaping the open-source world, and it’s been amazing to see its growth and evolution over the years.

For me, Ubuntu represents a user-friendly platform, a springboard for learning Linux, a supportive community. I particularly appreciate the strong and ever growing community.

Looking ahead to the next 20 years, I hope Ubuntu continues to innovate and make open-source accessible to all, expanding its reach to new user groups

As for celebrating this anniversary, here are some ideas:

  • Highlight Ubuntu’s traditions: the regular release cycle and strong community focus. Perhaps a contest could be held to create new traditions that embody the Ubuntu spirit for the next 20 years.
  • Inclusive celebration: Live streams or online events with subtitles/translations could ensure a broader audience can participate.
  • Sharing Ubuntu’s story: A community storytelling project or contest could be a great way to capture both major milestones and personal victories that users have experienced with Ubuntu.

I’m excited to see what ideas the community comes up with to make this 20th anniversary a truly special celebration!

Let’s keep Ubuntu strong for the next 20 years and beyond!



Happy birthday Ubuntu! I am really glad this linux distro exsists after all these years, and am thankful to the development team and anyone who has contributed with time, money, or other wise.

Now to the party:

OP: I think I spent too much time on this problem.

Comment: This is Linux. We do that here all the time.
  1. I guess bug fixing was always a must do tradition in Ubuntu. Why don’t we release a new version of the OS and enjoy ourselves?

  2. How to attract the largest possible audience? Well, renaming Ubuntu would make even the strongest minds explode, but I guess that is not an option. Therefore, I think that it would be great to incorporate multiple Ubuntu forums and community websites and spread the news through them. We could also ask other Linux forums to create a “info” banner that would congratulate their freind distro with its 20th birthday.

  3. I have not used Ubuntu long enough to carry on any stories, so I can’t really say anything about that, but Jokes and memes are usually the best way to translate real actual truth (sometimes even sad) into something that people like.

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Key traditions:

  • Closely linked to Debian, in both code and community
  • Improving upstreams through contribution (not control)
  • Improving other projects through friendly competition and innovation (Launchpad, bazaar v. git, Unity v. Gnome, netplan, snap packaging)
  • “Ubuntu will always be free”
  • The Community Council governance model to deconflict stakeholders
  • Code of Conduct that requires constructive contribution
  • Friendly, experienced, well-moderated support venues

Suggestion: Build themes around what Ubuntu does. Reflect attention into the audience so the celebration is about them.

  • Ubuntu community participation is turning 20
  • 20 years of contribution to Debian and many other upstreams
  • The flavors that have flourished in Ubuntu’s big tent
  • 20 years of innovation

Which also includes 10y of snaps which we originally started as the next gen packaging system for the ubuntu phone back in 2014 :wink:
(That sadly gets kind of buried under the 20y of ubuntu all the time)

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A history book of sorts sounds interesting, we’d need to get quite a number of stories together to make booklets per release. What do you think might be a new touch on the CDs of the time? Even USB sticks are somewhat antiquated these days, and a digital download isn’t much of a commodity.

Traditions often form by someone taking the lead and other following, community value, and a certain amount of repetition. What is one future tradition that you’d like to start?

Yes, more of this <3 Having a number of local communities get together and multi-stream some festivities would be pretty cool. Aside from the celebration itself, what would make the stream compelling to view?

This sounds like something that could be easily crowdsourced if we put together a few common questions and ask community members to record themselves answering them. What questions do you think we should be asking?

I’m not even remotely an artist, but what if the stories/quotes from community folks were presented as like sticky notes on the jewel case of the CD for versions that came out during the CD era…

Then, after that, while USB drives as a distribution method might be antiquated, they’re still extremely relevant for installation…this is even cheesier, but for the more recent releases (or maybe all of them), what if the top of the page were a generic USB stick with the number/name “written in marker”, with then the bulk of the page below being stories/quotes printed in “terminal windows” matching whatever the default terminal of that release was?

(I know this isn’t it, but my 2 minute LibreOffice Impress version of what I was thinking of):


I remember the good ol’ days of distro CDs. :heart_eyes:

The idea of a commemorative CD is cool! Kids are into CDs and vinyl again - even cassettes are making a comeback. How about a commemorative CD with iterations of the Ubuntu logo printed on the CD label and placed in a commemorative jewel case? On the CD would be the artwork for the various releases over the 20 years. Or maybe video interviews / stories from Ubuntu, Debian, and/or Linux pioneers or team members.


Or…if you want to go crazy with CDs…a CD collection - one for each release with all of the release’s artwork - with the logo for that release printed on the CD label and jewel case - in a commemorative box with the Ubuntu logo printed on the box.

Like I said…if you want to go CRAZY with the celebrating. :wink:

We should have parties on the major in-person conferences, especially the Ubuntu Summit, @ilvipero @aaronprisk @nuccitheboss @jssotomdz, but also others which are in the second half of 2024 (or only Q4?).

On the Ubuntu Summit the first plenary room talk after the opening could be the history of Ubuntu and one of the evenings (closing party? opening party?) could be 20-year-Ubuntu-themed.

We could also invite important people for Ubuntu who are not Canonical employees any more to the Ubuntu Summit, like Martin Pitt, Matt Zimmerman, … and do a panel with them …

We could also ask people to bring old Ubuntu artifacts to the Ubuntu Summit, like release t-shirts, CDs, swag of that good old times, … @seb128 and @kenvandine you should not be the only ones wearing these nice old release t-shirts …

In the exposition area we could set up some computers with old Ubuntu versions for people to play around with them.

A great thing of the old times of Ubuntu was also the Ubuntu Developer Summits (UDS) every 6 months, the huge unconferences where Canonical employees were meeting the community to plan the next Ubuntu release in BoF sessions, often also spontaneously created during the event

This was really the best community interaction for the development.

And all-in-all, people got a Linux which “just works” …


A limited-edition Ubuntu Box Set with “Deluxe” editions of every release CD. Should include the original, “warts-and-all” releases, and also “remastered” versions.

With “liner notes” and a coffee-table book with screenshots and artwork. :sweat_smile:

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I’d look like a total nerd if I had a coffee-table book of Ubuntu artwork! :joy:


Indeed, and you’d fit in just nicely here! :nerd_face:
“Nerd” is a badge of honour, not a slur :1st_place_medal:

One of my favourite coffee table books is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Retro

If we had a book anything like as nice as that, I’d be very happy to put it on my coffee table.

Also, if they’re good enough to project on a wall in a night club then they’re good enough for a book :smiley:



Ubuntu… man, I don’t know where to start. The first time I’ve properly used Ubuntu was with Saucy Salamander, installed it onto an old laptop (that is now dead due to fried GPU). I was aware of Ubuntu before that though. Nowadays I use Ubuntu wherever I can. Standalone, or in WSL, across several computers, as well as using Debian on some as well. Even put Ubuntu on relatives’ computers. As a side note, I cannot wait for Ubuntu Core Desktop, not for myself, rather for other people I might show them Ubuntu, it should be install and forget as it autoupdates itself. Anyways, I have tried non-Debian based distros even 2 years ago. But I always come back to Ubuntu or Debian. It just feels like home to me. Not that other distros are bad, it’s just that I’ve found my place.

For the 20th Ubuntu anniversary it’d be nice if there was maybe an option to use the older glossy orange Human icon theme: https://3.bp.blogspot.com/_JSR8IC77Ub4/TSSUK57SixI/AAAAAAAABlo/DeHuzu-ddqg/s1600/Ubuntu-desktop-2-610-20080708.png
Maybe include the default Warty Warthog wallpaper?
Or maybe go all out and include a selection of the best Ubuntu default wallpapers.

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The Hardy Heron would obviously be on the cover.


I proudly wear the “nerd” badge of honour…ever since I started tinkering with the Apple II series! Love the pic of the Heron…so cool! :sparkling_heart:

I’ve been watching Ubuntu from the sidelines…playing around with various versions of the OS. I can’t remember the first one I tried out. It’s at least as far back as Lucid. Like @thetechdog, I played around with different distros (Linux and BSD) and keep coming back to Ubuntu. It does feel like home. :heart_eyes:

Love the idea of bringing back the Human theme. I saw the screenshot and that brings back fond memories.

I look forward to seeing how the 20th anniversary plays out!


Getting back to the current questions…

What traditions are unique to Ubuntu that have made it what it is today? What traditions should begin this year that would mark the next 20 years of Ubuntu?

  • For me, as a “lurker” all these years, the tradition of naming releases after different living beings has been fun to watch…always wondering what will be the name of the next release.
  • For the future…What about some tradition that leverages social media tools along with building momentum for future releases? Something similar to what CERN has done on their Instagram feed with their “Guess what this is?” or featuring different experiments. Maybe something like “Ubuntu in the Wild” with interesting photos / videos sharing how Ubuntu is being used in different places around the world.

How would you ensure that the broadest possible audience can be part of the celebration?

  • Agree with @mrbite - live streams and online events. What would make the stream compelling? Sharing personal stories about Ubuntu’s history or how Ubuntu is being used in people’s daily lives. Again, leveraging social media for distribution via Mastodon or other platform.
  • I was just reading an article about the State of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany switching to Linux. Where are some really interesting places where Ubuntu is being used today? In labs, government offices, or industry? You would have to navigate privacy, confidentiality, and other concerns - so that might be challenging.
  • What are some interesting stories that highlight the challenges that teams overcame to get a release out? I was reading somewhere about how people would get sick after a conference and it was an achievement when a release got out on time after that. What was that like? We love a good “overcoming challenges” and “happily ever after” story.

What creative ways could we share stories from Ubuntu’s journey to celebrate both major milestones and the small, personal victories?

  • CDs with eye-catching artwork containing video interviews or a book, similar to what @popey referenced, containing stories, pics from past conferences, and artwork from the various releases. Also, “vintage” release t-shirts. Lots of people love memorabilia!