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Ubuntu vs Debian: Which one is the best?

by SW Team

In terms of technology, Ubuntu and Debian are two of the largest and most popular Linux-based operating systems in existence. Both share a common base and provide a solid and reliable working environment. However, there are some key differences that set them apart. In this blog, we will explore some of the features, such as performance and security, of Ubuntu and Debian to help you choose the best option for your project. Before we dive in, here is a brief explanation of these two operating systems.

Ubuntu is an open-source operating system derived from Debian and developed by Canonical. It is known for its ease of use and focus on user experience. Ubuntu is especially popular among "beginners" due to its intuitive interface and extensive hardware support. In addition, Ubuntu focuses on providing a wide range of out-of-the-box applications and tools, making it an attractive option for both individual users and businesses.

Debian is another Linux-based operating system, also open source. Unlike Ubuntu, Debian is developed by a community of volunteers and focuses on software stability and freedom. Debian stands out for its rigorous testing process and its philosophy of providing only open source software. It is considered a solid choice for power users and system administrators who value customisation and full control over their working environment.

Now that you know a little bit about Debian and Ubuntu, if you want, you can contract a Cloud with one of these two Linux operating systems.

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User experience

User experience is an important consideration when choosing an operating system. Therefore, we will now explain what Ubuntu and Debian are like from that point of view.

Ubuntu and Debian use the GNOME desktop environment by default, but they also offer other options that you can install at your convenience, such as KDE and Xfce. Ubuntu in particular has a modern and easy to use graphical user interface. It has also made changes to the design and layout of the interface to make it more intuitive. Debian, on the other hand, is more server-oriented, making it a favourite of system administrators. It also allows you to customise the look and feel of your desktop to suit your preferences.

Both Ubuntu and Debian use the APT (Advanced Package Tool) package management system, which makes it easier to install and update software. However, Ubuntu has its own repository infrastructure and has a wider selection of packages available, including third-party software. Debian, on the other hand, focuses on providing open source software and prioritises stability over the availability of the latest software releases.

When it comes to updates and long-term support, Ubuntu stands out for its focus on providing the latest updates. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, provides LTS(Long Term Support) releases that guarantee security updates and bug fixes for a period of five years. This ensures that your operating system is protected and always updated. On the other hand, Debian also offers security updates, but, as mentioned above, its main focus is on stability. This means that although the versions may not be the latest, the operating system remains highly stable and secure in the working environment. This stability is particularly beneficial for those who value a reliable and trouble-free environment.

Performance and stability

As you may already know, performance and stability are key and very important factors in deciding which operating system to use to work and run projects. Therefore, we will now compare Ubuntu and Debian with these aspects in mind.

Ubuntu is designed to be a lightweight and resource-efficient operating system. One of the latest versions of Ubuntu is the well-known "Ubuntu Minimal", which is specially optimised for use on older or resource-constrained hardware. On the other hand, Debian is also known for its efficiency and ability to run well on low-resource systems.

Generally speaking, Ubuntu's boot time tends to be faster than Debian. This is due to optimisations made to the Ubuntu boot process to ensure that you are up and running quickly. However, boot times can vary depending on your hardware and system configuration.

Because of its focus on stability, Debian is known to be extremely robust and reliable. The rigorous testing process that software packages go through in Debian ensures smooth and reliable operation. Debian strives to release fully stable and tested releases, which greatly reduces the possibility of unexpected problems or bugs. This makes Debian the preferred choice for those who value reliability and the absence of problems in their operating system. On the other hand, although Ubuntu is also stable, by offering newer updates and features, there may be some complications or bugs that affect the performance and stability of the system.

Community and support

Continuing the comparison, when choosing an operating system it is important to evaluate the community and support behind it. These aspects affect stability (the previous section), updates and problem solving over time. Therefore, we will briefly explain the community and support of Ubuntu and Debian, so that you can take this into account when choosing between them.

Debian has a worldwide community of developers and enthusiasts who actively contribute to the development, maintenance and support of the system. As a free and open source software project, anyone can participate and contribute to the project. This has led to the creation of a strong knowledge base and extensive community infrastructure. Debian users have access to discussion forums, mailing lists and other community channels to get support and share experiences.

On the other hand, Ubuntu has an equally active and engaged community. However, its community structure is more centralised due to its relationship with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. Canonical offers commercial support for businesses and organisations that require additional assistance, providing an additional option for more formal and focused support in enterprise environments.

Each community has its own strengths. The Debian community is characterised by its focus on free software and its commitment to stability and reliability. It is known for its broad support for different hardware architectures and its transparent decision-making process. On the other hand, the Ubuntu community is characterised by its focus on usability and user experience, as well as its link to Canonical, which offers commercial and more enterprise-oriented support options.

Applications and specific use

Below, we will discuss the specific applications and uses you can make with each of these operating systems.

Debian's focus on stability and security makes it a popular choice as a server operating system. Many system administrators prefer Debian for server environments because of its solid performance and ability to run critical server applications. Its approach ensures reliable uptime and solid protection against vulnerabilities.

On the other hand, Ubuntu, with its focus on user experience and wide range of applications and tools, is a popular choice for workstations and is often used for productivity, multimedia editing and software development tasks. Ubuntu's intuitive and easy-to-use graphical interface, along with its large selection of pre-installed software, makes it easy to use for users of varying experience levels and is a good choice if you are a 'newbie'.

Both Ubuntu and Debian are very good choices for software development. Both operating systems offer a wide range of development tools and libraries, making them suitable for programmers and developers.

Security

Finally, security is another important aspect to consider when choosing an operating system.

Both Ubuntu and Debian recognise the importance of security updates and strive to provide regular patches and fixes to protect your system against known vulnerabilities. However, there are some differences in their approach.

As Debian is more concerned with stability, it may take a more conservative approach to providing updates. This means that software updates may take a little longer to arrive, as each update is prioritised for thorough evaluation and testing to ensure compatibility and stability on the system.

On the other hand, Ubuntu tends to provide more frequent and faster updates. This is partly due to its focus on user experience and its desire to deliver everything as quickly as possible; the latest features and security improvements. This can mean a higher frequency of updates, so more bugs and errors may be released, but it also means that users can quickly benefit from the latest fixes and protection against emerging threats.

Debian prides itself on its strong emphasis on security and has implemented strong policies and measures to ensure a secure system. These include regular security audits, thorough source code reviews, and promoting the use of reliable and well maintained open source software.

Meanwhile, Ubuntu relies heavily on the security improvements made in Debian and also has strong security policies in its own development and distribution. This includes the use of security solutions such as AppArmor and SELinux to protect the system from potential threats.

Conclusion

Both Ubuntu and Debian are very good choices for a Linux-based operating system. If you are looking for a user-friendly experience and a wide range of applications, Ubuntu may be the right choice. On the other hand, if you value stability, customisation and complete control over your working environment, Debian may be the best choice.

Both operating systems have active communities and solid support, guaranteeing updates and long-term solutions. Ultimately, the choice between Ubuntu and Debian depends on your specific needs and individual preferences. Whatever you choose, you are choosing a reliable and robust operating system to meet the needs of your Cloud in the Linux environment.

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