Paying Homage to Ubuntu ShipIt

Back in high school, when I had a 56k internet connection at home, my computer engineering teacher mentioned this thing called Linux in class. I was a curious goodie-two-shoes, and so I asked him after class what it was and how I could get it.

He told me about Red Hat and gave me a stack of CDs to take home and copy. Being my first time attempting to copy CDs, I failed, and ended up with a bunch of CDs whose file system contained an .iso image, rather than that .iso image becoming the file system. But, by the time I realized this, I had already returned the stack of CDs to my teacher and was too ashamed to ask for them again.

Next, I researched Linux a little more and found out that there were several other distributions, of which Mandrake was prominent at the time. So, I convinced my dad to download a Mandrake CD from his work one day, because his Internet connection was several times faster than 56k. Mandrake seemed to work quite well, and I played around with it in my spare time for a while.

Then one day, I found out that some guy (Mark Shuttleworth) was paying to ship people free CDs of a Linux distribution called Ubuntu (and they were shipping world-wide, no less). So, being free, I ordered 10. I told my teacher what I had found the next day, and he decried it a scam, and told me that the CDs would probably have spyware and/or viruses on them. I proved him wrong over the course of the next few weeks and months by installing Ubuntu on every computer I could get my hands on. Ubuntu was easier to deal with and more straight-forward than Mandrake (now Mandriva), and led me to really begin my relationship with Linux in earnest.

Since then, I have explored countless other Linux distributions and Unices, but I still credit Ubuntu and its ShipIt program with helping introduce me to the joy that is Linux.

Today, the Ubuntu ShipIt program has been discontinued. Their website displays this message:

ShipIt has closed

After delivering millions of Ubuntu CDs to millions of new users, our ShipIt programme has finally run its course. While we can no longer deliver free CDs through the programme, it’s still easy to get Ubuntu. You can download Ubuntu for free from or you can buy a CD straight from the Canonical shop.

Ubuntu ShipIt, I salute you.

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One Response to “Paying Homage to Ubuntu ShipIt”

  1. sanjay says:


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