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Ubuntu vs Debian

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The most advanced open-source operating system for you may be hiding in plain sight. There are a plethora of Linux distributions to select from, so you’ve probably already figured that out. CentOS vs. Ubuntu has already been discussed. Therefore, we’ll now look at the differences between Debian and Ubuntu, both Linux distributions.

Ubuntu and Debian are two of the most widely used distributions, and they share a lot of similarities. Although they are based on the same principles, they are vastly different. This is not to say that Ubuntu is a copycat of Debian; instead, it is a derivative of the original.

Find out the differences between Debian and Ubuntu, and then decide which one is right for you.

It’s possible to download and install both distros on an inexpensive dedicated server.

Focusing on specific criteria is the most effective technique to compare the differences and similarities between two distributions.

Release Cycle

Releases in Debian can be classified as either Stable, Testing, or Unstable.

There are five years of support for the stable version, including three years from the Debian security team and two years from the Debian long-term support team. Despite the lack of a set release schedule, stable versions are generally released every two years. Bullseye, the most current stable branch, was released earlier this month.

In its current state of development, the testing version is the next most stable branch. It includes the most recent features and software updates, appealing to users who want to test out the most recent updates. On the other hand, the testing release is not supported in the long term in terms of security.

The latest software packages and features are included in unstable releases because they have not yet been thoroughly tested. They are vulnerable to failure due to their active development.

LTS and regular releases are the two flavors of Ubuntu.

Every two years, a new Long-Term Support (LTS) version is released, supported for five years. Additional security updates for the Ubuntu base OS are available through the Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) option, which is available to users after the initial five-year period has expired.

New regular branches are made available every six months, each with nine months of maintenance included. Latest software packages, features, and applications are available.

Version 20.04, Focal Fossa, was released in April 2020 and will be supported through April 2025, according to the most recent information available from Canonical.


Advanced users frequently choose Debian, which prefers to have complete control over the installation process. The OS uses the Debian Installer, based on nCurses, and requires more user input and manual configuration.

When it comes to Ubuntu, whether you’re installing Ubuntu Desktop or Ubuntu Server, the installation process is straightforward. Ubuntu uses the Ubiquity installer, which has a modern graphical user interface and requires little to no setup.

Not only is it quick and easy to set up, but Ubuntu comes with all of the necessary software pre-installed by default. It also has a dual boot feature that detects and allows other operating systems to be installed on the disk.


Debian is known for its stability, and it has a slight advantage over Ubuntu in this regard. Debian is only upgraded after new features have been thoroughly tested and accepted by the Debian development team, reducing the risk of unexpected behavior and bugs.

As a result, Debian is frequently chosen as the server operating system. However, such stability necessitates the use of slightly outdated software. Although this is not a problem for servers, users who prefer to work with newer software releases may choose Ubuntu.

Platform Support

Debian is available for 32 and 64-bit architectures, 64-bit ARM, ARMv7, ARM EABI, 64-bit little-endian MIPS, 64-bit little-endian PowerPC, and IBM System z.

Ubuntu, unlike Debian, no longer supports 32-bit operating systems. Instead, 64-bit x86 and ARM platforms are supported.

Desktop GUI

There is no default desktop environment in Debian. Instead, the installer prompts you to select a preferred desktop interface during the installation process. The selection includes everything from lightweight window managers to full-featured desktop environments.

Its main advantage is that the Debian desktop environment is lighter than Ubuntu’s, essential when installing a distro on older hardware.

Ubuntu comes pre-installed with an out-of-the-box interface. Its desktop version is praised for being extremely user-friendly and intuitive. Unity is used in older Ubuntu releases, while the GNOME Shell desktop environment is used in Ubuntu 17.10 and newer.

You can install other Ubuntu on top of the existing setup (such as Xubuntu for Xfce or Kubuntu for KDE). However, the predefined option does not prevent users from using other environments. Select “expert mode” to manually configure and edit everything during installation, including the DE.


While both are open-source, there is a significant difference in developing these two distributions. Debian is a community-driven project with no central authority. As a result, it is solely maintained by community members and developed by programmers worldwide.

Canonical develops and maintains Ubuntu, but it also has a large user community contributing to its development. Although being managed by a corporation rather than a community has its drawbacks, it also benefits enterprise clients by providing a defined release cycle and official support.


Both distributions deliver outstanding performance on Linux-based systems. The performance difference is minor and is determined by the hardware and software you use.

The default Debian setup, which includes only the most basic pre-installed software, is extremely light and quick. Even on older hardware, it uses less power and provides excellent performance.

On the other hand, Ubuntu comes with more pre-installed software and newer features, making it more resource-intensive than the Debian base system. While uninstalling software can improve performance, it is not recommended for inexperienced users because it may cause the installation to fail.

Packaged Software

Debian has no proprietary software by default and focuses on keeping everything FOSS – free and open-source – in its repositories. This policy extends to the kernel, which is free of proprietary drivers and firmware.

Although most Debian users prefer to keep their systems open-source, additional repositories can be manually installed. Users who use proprietary hardware must manually add the proprietary drives because Debian does not include any closed-source binary firmware.

Ubuntu focuses on functionality and offers both open-source and proprietary software. Thanks to its large repository and drive support, this Linux distribution provides everything needed for an out-of-the-box experience for users who prefer a quick setup. Using PPA (Personal Package Archives), Ubuntu makes it simple to add repositories and install third-party software, giving the user a wide range of software options.


Debian is preferred by more experienced users who want complete control over their operating system setup. Beginners and users who prefer out-of-the-box distributions with the latest software, on the other hand, will find Ubuntu to be more suitable.

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