Canonical (company)

Canonical Ltd. is a UK-based privately held computer software company 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 30 countries and maintains offices in London, Austin, Boston, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, and the Isle of Man.


Canonical Ltd. has created and continues to back several projects. Principally these are free and open-source software 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

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, 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. By shifting resources away from Ubuntu Desktop and cutting less profitable products and services, Canonical plans to maintain solvency and achieve long-term profitability.


Canonical has more than 600 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: