Difference Between Ubuntu and Debian (With Table)

Distributions in Linux are essentially operating systems with different features. they are a software collection including various tools, system managers, and a desktop environment. There are various distributions available for users. However, the two most popular ones are Ubuntu and Debian. There are several differences between them, which on knowing may help a customer make informed decisions.

Ubuntu vs Debian

The difference between Ubuntu and Debian is that the Linux distribution, Ubuntu, was released in 2004 with architecture and design that is heavily based on Debian whereas the Linux distribution, Debian, was released way before in 1993 and is an independent operating system on which several other distributions, including Ubuntu, are based.

Ubuntu is a distribution that uses the architecture and infrastructure of Debian. It shares a large number of packages and libraries with the latter. They even have a similar APT packaging system. However, there are a few different features that Debian has to offer. One of them is that Ubuntu has two categories for its releases, which are LTS and regular.

Meanwhile, Debian is an independent distribution that is not based on any other operating system. Unlike Ubuntu, it has three releases which include Stable, Testing, and Unstable. However, the distribution does not always focus on having recent or latest software versions. It largely aims at maintaining stability, due to which other factors are often compromised.

Comparison Table Between Ubuntu vs Debian

Parameters of ComparisonUbuntuDebian
LaunchIt was launched in 2004.It was launched in 1993.
NatureIt is largely based on Debian in terms of infrastructure and features.It is independent and not based on any other distribution.
ReleasesIt has two releases – LTS and regular.It has three releases – Stable, Testing, and Unstable.
SoftwareIt has less stability as it uses the most recent versions of software.It has more stability as it does not always use recent software versions.
PlatformsIt is supported on platforms including ARM and 64-bit x86.It is supported on a larger number of platforms, which is why it is labelled as a ‘universal operating system’.
InstallationThe installation process for Ubuntu is faster and way easier.The installation process for Debian is often confusing.
PPAIt has personal package archives.It does not personal package archives.

What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that was developed by Canonical Ltd. and was released in 2004. It consists of various free and open-source software. However, its infrastructure and design are largely based on that of Debian. Many packages and libraries built into Ubuntu are similar to Debian. However, there are other features as well that Debian doesn’t offer.

There are two kinds of releases on the Ubuntu distribution. These include regular, and LTS (Long Term Support). Regular releases are supported only for a duration of nine months, but their advantage is that they use the most recent versions of software. Meanwhile, as the name suggests, LTS is for long-term use. It is considered relatively stable as it does not always use the latest software versions.

The distribution is supported by a variety of platforms. These include x86-64, ARMhf, ARM64, s390x, and ppc64le. Since the operating system is distributed for free on these platforms, there is no registration process or subscription required. This makes the installation process quick and hassle-free.

A stand-out feature that Ubuntu offers is a built-in PPA. This refers to personal package archives that distribute pre-release software so that they can be tested by users. It also lets users add software only from trusted sources, so that fraud and misfunctions can be minimised.

What is Debian?

Debian is another distribution by Linus, which, unlike Ubuntu, is independent. Its infrastructure and design is original and not based on any other distribution or operating system. It was developed by The Debian Project and was launched in 1993. Since then, it has gone through numerous upgrades.

There are three kinds of releases on the Debian distribution. These include Stable, Testing, and Unstable. Stable is a category for main releases of the operating system. It often follows the doctrine of not using the new and latest software. By dint of this, it is considered to be one of the most stable and smooth distributions out there.

As the name suggests, Testing is a category under which numerous software is released for testing. These are generally unstable in nature but are released with the aim of using new features and incorporating them into other releases. Lastly, Unstable is only used for actual testing by the company and must be avoided by users.

A limitation of Debian is that it does not offer PPA. However, the distribution is known to be stable and flexible. This is because it operates a larger number of platforms as compared to Ubuntu. Due to this, it is often labelled as the ‘Universal Operating system’.

Main Differences Between Ubuntu and Debian

  1. Ubuntu was launched in 2004 whereas Debian was launched in 1993.
  2. Ubuntu is largely based on Debian in terms of infrastructure and features whereas Debian is independent and not based on any other distribution.
  3. Ubuntu has two releases – LTS and regular whereas Debian has three releases – Stable, Testing, and Unstable.
  4. Ubuntu has less stability as it uses the most recent versions of software whereas Debian has more stability as it does not always use recent software versions.
  5. Ubuntu is supported on platforms including ARM and 64-bit x86 whereas Debian is supported on a larger number of platforms, which is why it is labelled as ‘universal operating system’.
  6. Ubuntu has a fast and easy installation process whereas the installation process of Debian is confusing and long.
  7. Ubuntu has personal package archives whereas Debian does not.

Conclusion

Ubuntu and Debian are two distributions that are somewhat related. Ubuntu is made using the tenets of Debian whereas Debian stands to be an independent distribution with original infrastructure and design. However, Ubuntu does offer numerous additional features that Debian does not.

Another distinguishing factor is that each of them has a different category for their releases. While making a new release, Ubuntu uses the latest software which often means that it compromises stability. On the other hand, Debian is known to be one of the most stable distributions since it rejects the most recent software for this purpose. This brings forward a decision for the users to choose between stability and freshness.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7335409/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5463350/
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