Ubuntu is one of the most popular distributions of Linux today. Based on the Debian Linux distribution, Ubuntu is designed for the desktop, home user although there are other Ubuntu variations, like Ubuntu Server that does not install a graphical user interface, Edubuntu designed for educational applications, Kubuntu designed for the KDE desktop, Ubuntu Studio designed as a professional video and audio editing workstation, and Mythbuntu designed as a MythTV home theater PC.
The Ubuntu operating system is freely distributed and is supported by Canonical LTD. which also sells technical support and services.
As of now, the current version of Ubuntu is 11.10, named “Oneiric Ocelot,” it is the second release of Ubuntu to use the Unity desktop written on top of the GNOME 3.x desktop. You can download Ubuntu for free at the Ubuntu website: http://www.ubuntu.com . The download page offers different options for installing Ubuntu including downloading a burnable iso bootable image, installing Ubuntu alongside Windows in a dual boot system, or creating a USB bootable thumb drive.
In the following tutorial, I download the Ubuntu 32bit iso file and install it in a VMware virtual machine on my Windows 7 laptop.