Definition of Canonical

In technology, “canonical” refers to a standardized or authoritative form of something, ensuring consistency and eliminating ambiguity. In a computing context, it often pertains to the representation of data or a single, preferred version of an entity, while in web development, it denotes the definitive URL for a webpage. Canonicalization is the process of identifying, establishing, or promoting the canonical form for the system.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Canonical” is: kəˈnɒnɪk(ə)l

Key Takeaways

  1. Canonical is the company behind the development and support of Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems.
  2. Canonical offers enterprise solutions, software support, and services including cloud computing, IoT, and server management, catering to businesses and organizations.
  3. Canonical is committed to open-source development, making its products accessible to a wide range of users, developers, and businesses.

Importance of Canonical

The term “canonical” carries significant importance in technology due to its role in promoting consistency, simplification, and optimization within a system.

Canonical refers to the standard or authoritative form of something, like data, code, or processes.

By adhering to canonical principles, developers can ensure that systems operate efficiently, reduce potential misunderstandings, and prevent unnecessary complexities.

This ultimately results in improved interoperability, easier maintenance, and a more streamlined experience for both developers and end-users.

Emphasizing canonical approaches in technology enhances collaboration and sets the foundation for more effective and reliable systems.


Canonical, in the realm of technology, refers to a standardized or preferred method for tackling a problem or performing a specific task. This concept is vital for numerous reasons, including eliminating confusion, minimizing errors, and optimizing the workflow process. Establishing a canonical approach allows for consistency, efficient communication, and interoperability between different systems and software applications.

By adhering to a canonical standard, developers can ensure that their projects align with best practices and conventions, easing future collaboration and integration. One area where canonical methods are particularly useful is in data management. When working with diverse data sources, there may be multiple representations of the same information.

For example, different systems can store dates in various formats. To streamline data cleansing and analytics processes, organizations can adopt a canonical model that unifies disparate data formats and structures into a single, consistent representation. This approach helps eliminate ambiguity, reduce redundancy, and enhance data quality.

As a result, organizations can glean more accurate insights and make better-informed decisions based on their data.

Examples of Canonical

Canonical Ltd. is a UK-based computer software company founded by Mark Shuttleworth in

It primarily focuses on the development, distribution, and support of the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system, as well as various other free software projects. Here are three real-world examples of Canonical’s technology:

Ubuntu Operating System: Ubuntu is a widely popular Linux distribution used by millions of people around the world on desktops, servers, and IoT devices. It is known for its user-friendliness, stability, and wide range of supported hardware. Many organizations and individuals deploy Ubuntu as a cost-effective and secure alternative to other operating systems like Windows and macOS. Some well-known organizations that use Ubuntu include Wikipedia, Netflix, and IBM.

Juju and MAAS: Canonical also develops Juju and Metal-as-a-Service (MAAS), which are tools for deploying, managing, and scaling applications and infrastructure in various public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. Juju and MAAS have been adopted by several enterprises across different industries for managing their cloud-native applications, Kubernetes clusters, and data center resources. For instance, companies like Sky, BT, and Deutsche Telekom leverage these tools for their infrastructure management and deployments.

Snap Packages: Snap (previously Snapcraft) is a software packaging and deployment system developed by Canonical. It allows developers to package their applications, along with their dependencies, in a single, easily distributable format called ‘snap’. These snap packages can be securely installed and updated across multiple Linux distributions, making application management simpler and more user-friendly. Some popular applications, such as Spotify, Slack, and Visual Studio Code, are available as snaps, making it easier for users to install and manage them on their Ubuntu systems.These examples showcase Canonical’s contributions to the technology landscape, with its products and services being utilized in various sectors and industries all around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions: Canonical

What is a canonical URL?

A canonical URL is an HTML link element, with the attribute ‘rel’ set to ‘canonical’, that allows you to tell search engines the preferred version of a webpage with similar or duplicate content. It helps prevent duplicate content issues and consolidates the visibility and authority of the content for better search engine optimization (SEO).

How do I implement a canonical URL?

To implement a canonical URL, add a ‘link’ element with the attribute ‘rel’ set to ‘canonical’ inside the ‘head’ section of your webpage. The ‘href’ attribute of the ‘link’ element should be set to the preferred URL version. For example: <link rel=”canonical” href=””>

When should I use a canonical tag?

Use a canonical tag when you have multiple versions of a webpage, or when there is a possibility of duplicate content issues. Examples of when to use a canonical tag include pages with URL variations caused by tracking parameters, session IDs, or content published on multiple sites or subdomains.

Do canonical tags affect SEO?

Yes, canonical tags have a significant impact on SEO. By indicating the preferred version of a webpage with a canonical tag, you help search engines consolidate different versions of the same content, leading to better indexing and ranking. Using canonical tags correctly can also prevent search engines from penalizing your site for duplicate content.

Can I use canonical tags across domains?

Yes, you can use canonical tags across domains to tell search engines that a piece of content published on multiple domains has a preferred version on a specific domain. It helps search engines understand which version to index and rank, and consolidates traffic and link equity to the preferred domain.

Related Technology Terms

  • Canonical URL
  • Canonical tags
  • Duplicate content
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Canonicalization

Sources for More Information


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