Updated March 17, 2023
Difference Between Ubuntu vs Debian
Ubuntu and Debian can be considered as the two of the most popular Linux distributions since inception. They are very closely related to each other which makes it hard for new Linux users to figure out the differences between these two. Whereas many things appear to be similar, or even the same at times, these powerhouse distributions have some sizable differences between them.
One of the most striking differences between Debian and Ubuntu is in their release, i.e. these two distributions are released in a different manner. Debian has its tired model based on stability, on the other hand, Ubuntu has regular and LTS releases.
Head to Head Comparison between Ubuntu vs Debian (Infographics)
Below is the top 8 difference between Ubuntu vs Debian :
Key Differences between Ubuntu vs Debian
Both Ubuntu vs Debian are popular choices in the market; let us discuss some of the major Difference Between Ubuntu vs Debian :
- Ubuntu is based on Debian only, so most software and applications are usable on both distribution (in short distros). One can configure both distros to have the same features and software very much etc. Ubuntu LTS (i.e. Long-Term Support) is based on the Testing branch of Debian as mentioned above, and not on the Stable branch. Although one can use the same software on both these distros, the installation and configuration process is not the same in each.
- Ubuntu is considered a better choice for beginners because of its simplicity, and Debian a better choice for experts. Most of the time, Ubuntu requires little to no user configuration during the installation processes (unless customized heavily). Everything that a beginner would need is pre-installed on Ubuntu and the OS installation itself is quite easy to do which comes with an intuitive installation GUI. Unlike Ubuntu, Debian requires more input from the user during installation– configuring the OS itself and also software installed on it.
- Debian focuses on free software only, whereas Ubuntu uses proprietary software as well. If free software is not much of a concern, then Ubuntu is a better choice for everyone. Obviously, one can still install non-free software on Debian too, but it will not be so easy to do as it is on Ubuntu.
- By having a look at their release cycles, one can understand that Debian is considered as a more stable distro compared to Ubuntu. This is so because Debian has fewer updates and it is thoroughly tested and is actually stable. But, this stability comes at a cost. Users won’t be able to use all the latest releases of software components and all the newest technologies. Like everything else, a user can still configure Debian to include some new packages that are not available by default.
- Ubuntu releases run on a strict schedule as mentioned in the table above. So, users know exactly when a new Ubuntu release will be available in the market. But in Debian, there is no specific schedule.
- Ubuntu support for 5 years to its servers and 5 years for desktop also. Thus, Enterprises get longer support. There are new Ubuntu LTS that releases every 2 years. Debian’s Stable releases offer support only for a year after the next stable release comes in market. If a user wants support for a longer period of time then he should go with Ubuntu LTS, instead of Debian Stable version.
- When it comes to server comparisons, choosing the right distro varies on several factors such as requirements etc. if someone is in an enterprise environment, he/she should go with Debian as it’s more stable than Ubuntu and more secure too. If one needs the latest releases of all software and uses the server for personal need, then Ubuntu is the right choice. All other general differences also apply to the server versions in the same way.
- Debian is a lightweight Linux distro and quite handy. The biggest deciding factor in such case is on whether or not a distro is lightweight is what kind of desktop environment is used. By default, Debian is more lightweight compared to Ubuntu as stated earlier. So, if the old hardware is used, you should go with Debian.
- The desktop version of Ubuntu is much easier to install and configure, and it is true for beginners as well. On Ubuntu, all choices are made for users by default and everything works out of the box fashion. Apart from that, there’s an expert mode on Ubuntu too, which lets the user edit and configure almost everything, which is quite like the installation of Debian.
- By default, Latest Ubuntu version such as Ubuntu 17.10 and onwards comes with the GNOME desktop environment as already said. Older versions use Unity based. Debian, on the other hand, has a wide variety of choices, so Debian user can select whatever desktop environment they want to use.
- Debian has some trouble with drivers and firmware as one can expect. This is because the Debian kernel doesn’t contain any proprietary blobs and what this means is that it lacks a lot of firmware. Like other software, a user would need to enable the repository themselves and then install it manually.
Ubuntu on the opposite includes as much firmware as possible and also tries to automatically install and configure the drivers for its users. Ubuntu can also work with hardware manufacturers to certify that the hardware which is designed can work with Ubuntu and test drivers.
- Ubuntu has PPAs, but Debian does not have it. PPAs are nothing but personal package archives. They are a way for developers to easily host Ubuntu software repositories and also make them accessible.
Actually, PPAs are no different than any normal Debian repositories. The main difference comes when user adds one of such thing to his system. Instead of manually importing a GPG key and then adding the repository address to a configuration file, a user can run a single Linux command to add a PPA.
Ubuntu vs Debian Comparison Table
Below is the topmost Comparison between Ubuntu vs Debian :
|It is based on the Debian testing branch.||Original.|
|It is assumed better for beginners.||It is not recommended for a beginner.|
|It uses both free and proprietary software.||It uses the only free software.|
|It is less stable compared to Debian.||It is much more stable.|
|Its releases run on a specific schedule.||Its releases are unscheduled.|
|LTS release has more than 5 years of support.||Stable release has more than 3 years old now.|
|It requires better software.||It is lightweight.|
|By default, it uses GNOME desktop environment for all versions and Unity for older versions.||The desktop version has many environment options as well.|
Conclusion – Ubuntu vs Debian
Thus, this article sheds some important light on the difference between Ubuntu vs Debian and it is expected that the reader gains some very insightful knowledge from it.
This has been a guide to the top difference between Ubuntu vs Debian. Here we also discuss the Ubuntu vs Debian key differences with infographics, and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –