–adjective Also, ca⋅non⋅ic.
1. pertaining to, established by, or conforming to a canon or canons.
2. included in the canon of the Bible.
3. authorized; recognized; accepted: canonical works.
4. Mathematics. (of an equation, coordinate, etc.) in simplest or standard form.
5. following the pattern of a musical canon.
6. Linguistics. (of a form or pattern) characteristic, general or basic: the canonical form of the past tense; a canonical syllable pattern.
7. canonicals, garments prescribed by canon law for clergy when officiating.
1150–1200; ME (< AF) < ML canōnicālis, equiv. to canōnic(us) (see canon 2 ) + -ālis -al
It's pretty obvious from this what Shuttleworth may have had in mind when he formed Canonical LTD. But i'm not going to blog about how poorly this name was chosen to represent the brown menace. Instead, we're going to have a little bit of linguistic fun.
Words are really just arbitrary strings of phonemes which can be grouped together as morphemes, to which we attach meaning and history. Phonemes are basic units of sound, and morphemes are basic units of meaning. (I have a t-shirt that says 'morpheme addict'). There's a third factor that can come into play here, called semantics, and change of semantics is one way language can evolve. For example, you can see here that 'canon' has been modified to mean more than just the church and things pertaining to certain Cathedral-like tendencies of the Catholic church. It can also mean official rules or musical prosody.
It's certain that a particular brown menace has been using a Cathedral like culture in developing a rather popular Linux distribution. They certainly are relying on a bit of semantic meaning to support their strong brand presence. As any good Fedora user or Red Hatter knows, one way to dilute a menace is to dilute its brand. Every time you talk about Canonical, you give strength to their brand. But every time you use the word canonical, you dilute their brand!
Make sure to use canonical everywhere you can. A good rule of thumb is to replace the words official and common practice with canonical, or just refer to the rules as the canon. For Fedora, this means we might need to make a few changes. For example, the Fedora Packaging Guidelines would become the Packaging Canon. Since it's now a religious canon, openSuSE and Mandriva will also be bound to them or burn in their heathen ways. Therefore, the name Fedora can be dropped. Any time there is a change in Infrastructure, it would no longer be an official change, rather than a canonical change. If you are a Red Hatter, there would no longer be company internal memos and public statements, rather rumours and canon. Remember, the more we use the term in everyday usage, the less power the brown menace has. For Great Justice.