Debian vs. Ubuntu: What’s the Difference? Which One to Use?

Linux-based distributions have become more popular due to their excellent stability and performance. The two most widely used Linux distributions are Ubuntu and Debian. Ubuntu is Debian-based and an updated version of the Debian operating system, yet there are differences between these operating systems like architecture, supported platforms, and release cycles.

In this guide, we will discuss the different features between Debian and Ubuntu and make it easy to choose one according to your requirements with this timeline:

What is the Debian Operating System?

Debian is a free operating system based on the Unix kernel developed and maintained by a group of volunteers. It is a more stable operating system than Ubuntu due to its multi-step testing, and it has three different release cycles (Stable, Unstable, and Testing).

It comes with an apt repository where core libraries are present, while the PPA package does not work smoothly. 

What is the Ubuntu Operating System?

Ubuntu is an open-source operating system developed by Canonical. It has various useful built-in programs like GNOME Shell, Firefox, and many more. It supports the PPA repository and allows the creation, running, and updating of self-made software using the PPA package. 

Ubuntu is the most widely used OS due to its friendly user interface and secure OS providing updated software.

Debian Vs Ubuntu | Differences

Ubuntu is debian-based, but there is much development to performance differences. Let’s discuss the significant differences:

StabilityUpdated version of Debian but slightly less stable than DebianBest for stability as its stable release undergoes multiple testing stages
Desktop EnvironmentProvides default GNOME Shell DE and offers different Ubuntu flavors DENo default DE, but supports various DE from full-featured to lightweight DEs
Release CycleLTS (more stable) and Regular versions (Updated features), LTS released after every 2 years get support for 5-year. Regular releases every 6 months and gets 9-month supportUnstable (For testing)Testing (test for releasing new stable version), and Stable versions (Best stable version).Stable version releases after every 2 years (3-year official support and 2-year community support)
DevelopmentDeveloped and maintained by the Ubuntu team.Developed and maintained by a community-supported team
Software AvailabilityDefault apt repository, also have PPA repository (updated and smooth software available)Apt default repository while PPA is not as stable as in Ubuntu
Supported PlatformsAvailable for 64-bit x86 platforms, not for 32-bit anymore. Also, support ARM Platforms.Supports wide platforms, including 32-bit and 64-bit architecture.
InstallationEasy installation with pre-installed software, iso file shows default configurationMore manual and customized user configuration
PerformanceBest performance with heavy hardware, slower than DebianFast processing and lightweight
Community and SupportMajor support by its developersA community-driven project with full community support

Which One to Use?

A complete comparison chart with all aspects of the Ubuntu and Debian operating systems is provided in this guide. Choosing one OS is based on different factors, But Debian requires expertise and is more user-controlled, while Ubuntu is beginner-friendly with updated software. Let’s discuss the choices for different domains:

Best OS for Gamers: Gaming in Linux is improving with ongoing projects like proton and steam. The proprietary driver performance in Ubuntu makes it the preferred OS for gamers.

Best OS for Beginners: Beginners prefer to use Ubuntu operating system due to its easy-to-use and straightforward installation. Ubuntu has updated and newer software versions with many users and communities, so it’s easy to find help for beginners.

Best OS for Developers: Debian is a more customized and user-input-based operating system with excellent stability that makes Debian a preferable option for developers.

Best OS for Old Computers: Debian is a fast and lightweight operating system compared to Ubuntu that comes with different pre-installed packages, which make it heavier. However, Debian is preferable for old computers.


Debian is faster, user-customized, and more stable than Ubuntu which makes it preferable for experienced users. Moreover, Ubuntu is more user-friendly, with updated software that makes it easy for beginners to use.

Ubuntu is Debian-based with the same working mechanism as Debian, but there are major differences in the architecture, i.e., PPA repository, GNOME shell desktop environment, and supported platforms. This article has provided a complete comparison and usage differences.