Debian vs Ubuntu in 2020- The Ultimate Showdown

As a computer software distribution package, Ubuntu and Debian are utilized in two ways

  1. Desktop Operating System
  2. Server

Although they are similar in many ways, they have their differences. Ubuntu is based on the testing branch of Debian and often, Debian involves too many manual works and so it is not recommended for beginners. While Ubuntu is easy to use for beginners, it is not as stable as Debian in its built. Let us have a comparison between Debian vs Ubuntu.

Debian-vs-Ubuntu

Important: Compared to Apple’s macOS and Microsoft’s Windows, Ubuntu, and Linux Debian are relatively good alternatives.

About Releases

Starting from their random release schedules to their raw working environment, Debian is slightly complex but original compared to Ubuntu. Ubuntu follows a specific schedule for its timely releases but requires robust hardware. It boils down to the simple theory -- Debian is suitable for experts while Ubuntu is the best choice for beginners.

Ubuntu-Long-tearm-releases

Let us dig further and know why Ubuntu is a better option for greenhorns. In Ubuntu, a beginner will have everything he or she wants since it is pre-installed, and requires negligible user configuration. Likewise, Debian anchors toward the beacon of free software while Ubuntu has numerous proprietary software too.

Enterprise vs Personal

A crucial aspect of using Debian is that it is stable enough for enterprise environments. Ubuntu is for a beginner who is looking for regular updates and uses for their personal work.

Looking at the hardware model, Debian is well suited for a lightweight old school version. But beginners need not fret over their desktop version of Ubuntu as it is super easy to install and choices are automatically updated without too many questions. But there is an “expert mode” available that allows a user to edit and configure, very similar to Debian installation.

While Ubuntu lovers believe, Ubuntu is highly stable, but they recommend Gnome desktop over Ubuntu Unity. They are two strong reasons for this --

  1. With the Wayland release, multitouch trackpad gestures are available.
  2. The Evolution Mail Client of Ubuntu Gnome is the only Linux mail client that is compatible with Calendar and Microsoft Exchange mail.

Everyone who has researched about Linux would have come across Ubuntu. It is one of the highly preferred Linux distributions as the Universal usability of Ubuntu is well-structured to meet beginner standards. The problem of command line hassle is not a concern when it comes to the layman’s Linux -- Ubuntu. Just a simple tap on the Windows Key will let a novice search from applications to files. Even a non-techie can handle Ubuntu’s interface without complexities.

Hardware Detector in Ubuntu

Ubuntu also has a hardware detector that detects, directly downloads, and makes the installation of optimal drivers easy for the PC. Not only the zero driver installation issues but also the ease of installation gets you an office suite, a few games, a video player, and a music player. Ubuntu also has a strong community backup and documentation ability.

Debian vs Ubuntu -- The Ultimate Showdown

Many new users find it difficult to differentiate between Debian and Ubuntu, two of the popular Linux distributions. When Debian has a stable release, it is impeccably stable while Ubuntu has a definite stable and Long-Term Support (LTS) release. For servers, Debian Stable works fine but for desktops, it lacks reliability.

LTS

Whereas, Debian Testing is insanely fluid due to its stable engineering in the testing phase and so it shouldn’t be taken for granted. It is almost like using an OpenSUSE Tumbleweed which is one of the Linux rolling release distributions or continuous delivery distributions, working updates on the entire operating system. To get the latest releases much quicker, Debian Unstable is somewhat good.

Ubuntu has a traditional or conservative model since the release will take at least 6 months, but they tend to be stable and approximately every 5th release is an LTS release. It supports up to 5 years and this LTS release is customized to workstations and servers. However, regular releases are more suitable for desktops.

Installation

When considering Debian vs Ubuntu, their installers are a major differentiating factor. Ubuntu’s installer is a lot more stable and streamlined than the Debian installer. As it is associated with nCursors and not available as a full GUI. A lot of iterative or interactive questions pop up while using the Debian installer which many beginners would find intimidating. On the other hand, the Ubuntu installer is more-user friendly with lesser options than the Debian installer.

Software and Packages

When it comes to Debian vs Ubuntu on the grounds of software, Ubuntu gives less importance to software licensing and cares much about usability. There are numerous differences in software policies, for example, Ubuntu has everything included in its default repository; sufficiently user-friendly. Debian has proprietary software as the least favorite as the separate repository of instructions is to be manually enabled by the user.

Debian lacks a lot of firmware due to its kernel containing no proprietary binary large object (Blobs). And so, Debian is troublesome for firmware and drivers. Ubuntu works closely with hardware manufacturers to fix installation problems and so it possesses maximum firmware for increased usability. The reason behind the automatic installation and driver configuration of Ubuntu.

Debian doesn’t have any PPAs while Personal Package Archives are available in Ubuntu, making it superior-easy for developers to activate with a single Linux Command. It is much easier than importing the GPG or GNU Privacy Guard and adding the repository address to the concerned configuration file.

Everyone working for Debian is a volunteer, a set of community developers with their own set of structure and internal laws. A board of chosen developers runs the Debian atmosphere. While a company called Canonical is behind the development of Ubuntu and they have complete authority over their project. They have the potential to safely ship machines using Dell, negotiate with hardware manufacturers for better stability, and backup at times of disaster. If you run Ubuntu in a productive environment, you have Canonical on your back.

Conclusion

To summarize, Ubuntu is a better option for beginners than Debian in 2020. It is a useful Linux Distro as it is user-friendly, it is open and free, and has good community support, requires low system requirements, enhanced compatibility, highly customizable, contains numerous flavors, and saves the cost of anti-virus as it is secure and reliable. It has a corporate appeal while Debian has more of a learning environment with its unique culture and software freedom.

A Linux lover working in an International Tech company. The young technical writer-cum-wordsmith who has 5+ years of SaaS and Content Management experience.

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