Ubuntu vs Linux – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

Ubuntu vs Linux – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). First of all Linux is one of the most popular operating systems used by techies worldwide. So both Ubuntu and Linux have similar features and the same operational procedures. However, these two operating systems share some notable differences in features, functionality and pros and cons. 

Firstly the main difference between Ubuntu and Linux is that Linux is a free and open source operating system based on the Unix kernel. While Ubuntu is just a distribution of Linux. This is the core difference between these two systems. However, there are still some disparities that exist between Ubuntu and Linux. We will take a look at them in this article. 

Let’s start with Ubuntu vs Linux – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons).

What is Ubuntu?

Above all Ubuntu is an open source operating system that belongs to the Debian family of Linux. Canonical developed the operating system in 2004. In addition, the entire Ubuntu framework is based on Linux distributions. There are several Linux distributions like CentOS, RedHat, Fedora, LinuxMint, and many more.

The developers at Canonical had one thing in mind while developing Ubuntu  user friendliness. As a result, Ubuntu remains one of the most user friendly Linux distributions available today. All in all Canonical launched Ubuntu, but South African developer Mark Shuttleworth initially started the project.

Features of Ubuntu

  • So it’s graphical interface is very interactive. It utilizes GNOME to give users an interactive desktop environment. That is unlike some Linux distributions that require command line interaction to navigate the operating system.
  • Additionally Ubuntu is free and open source. There is no premium license or subscription required to run Ubuntu. 
  • Very secure operating system. You don’t need to install any antivirus software (free or paid) to protect your system from malicious files. Everything is built into the system.

Pros of Ubuntu

  • Compared to other Linux distributions, Ubuntu’s desktop environment is very user friendly. As a matter of fact ubuntu’s user friendly nature is  possible with GNOME. Significantly one of the most visually appealing graphic environments for Linux distributions.
  • Also Ubuntu has several flavours that you can choose from. The Canonical team released several Ubuntu flavours like Ubuntu Budgie, Xubuntu, etc. Aside from the official flavours released by Canonical, individual developers can also develop custom flavours that suit their work environment.
  • Most Linux distributions require the host machine to have 4GB of RAM, but Ubuntu can run on a system with as low as 500MB RAM. You can even get your Ubuntu system up and running with a 700MH processor. 

Cons of Ubuntu

  • While Ubuntu remains a lightweight Linux distribution with a pretty intuitive graphical interface, the operating system has experienced several compatibility issues often associated with wireless and external graphic cards. Although Ubuntu sometimes struggles to function effectively with the host machine’s hardware, preventing it from connecting to external devices like printers.
  • Most games are built to support Windows and Mac OS, but the number of game franchises that offer support to Linux based operating systems is very low. Even the few available for Ubuntu are not the most impressive gaming titles.
  • Project of Ubuntu is to be a free and open source software. But recent developments have prompted users to suspect the impending commercialization of the software. All in all, Ubuntu partnered with Amazon and tried making a profit through Affiliate marketing as well as ads all around the user interface. However, this plan was unsuccessful. The developers removed this feature in subsequent releases.

So Ubuntu vs Linux – What’s the Difference ? it is time to get to know Linux. 

What is Linux?

Another comparison tool is Linux. A free and open source operating system built on the Linux kernel. Linux consists of a family of open source UNIX like operating systems that are based on the Linux kernel. Basically this OS is much older than Ubuntu.  Besides Linux Torvalds released Linux in 1991. Most of our day to day devices, such as cars, smartphones, and home appliances, are run by Linux. You can also use the OS in enterprise servers and personal desktop computers.

In reality the internet basically runs on Linux. About 500 of the world’s supercomputers run on Linux.  Even the stock exchange market runs on Linux. As well as Linux is also suitable for running desktops, servers and embedded systems. Although Linux is free and open source, it remains one of the most reliable and secure operating systems.

Features of Linux

  • Firstly Linux is known for its dark and complex command line interface. To complete tasks, users must type in specific commands to the console. These commands are specific – type one wrong and you’ll get an error message.
  • On the other hand Linux remains a favourite for many developers due to its extensive customization capabilities. If you have Python, Java, C++, or Ruby programming knowledge, you can make some decent customizations to your Linux OS. 
  • What is more Linux has fewer system requirements compared to other operating systems. If you search well, you can find a Linux distro that will run on a computer with 512MB RAM. 

Pros of Linux

  • Linux was developed and remains a free and open source software for the public to use and modify. Users can run the program for any purpose and repurpose the software by making modified versions to distribute to others.
  • Users of Linux rarely have to deal with viruses and malware, unlike Windows operating system, which is relatively vulnerable to most viruses. The Linux operating system is far less vulnerable to attacks like malware and ransomware.
  • Servers in Linux can run for years without needing a server reboot. The only time reboots are necessary is during kernel updates. During this period, you’ll have to reboot the servers after updating the kernel.
  • Almost every service used in our day to day activities collects significant amounts of data from its users. However, Linux provides users with a bit of privacy compared to Windows operating systems.

Cons of Linux

  • If you’ve only ever used an OS with a graphical interface like Windows, Mac, or even Ubuntu, you’ll find it hard to operate Linux. Almost every command is completed using the command line, which requires that users enter specific commands to complete tasks. 
  • Most popular applications developed for Mac and Windows machines are unavailable on Linux. Popular software such as MS Office and Photoshop are exclusive to Mac and Windows OS. Despite the growth of Linux users, the market value is still very small compared to Windows and Mac OS.
  • You’re left with little to no support if you’re trying to troubleshoot a problem in your Linux OS. Unfortunately Linux is open source, so you won’t find a dedicated team available round the clock to rectify your problem. As a result, you’ll have to figure out the solution independently or look for solutions in any popular Linux community forum.

Now with Ubuntu vs Linux – What’s the Difference ? it is to learn their differences. 

Differences Between Ubuntu and Linux

Base Distribution


On one hand Ubuntu has several flavours that users can choose from. However, contrary to popular thinking, each of these flavours is not a Linux distribution, but rather Linux distro for Ubuntu. 


Unlike Ubuntu, Linux doesn’t have flavours but rather has several Linux distributions that are based on the Linux kernel. Linux distributions like CentOS, RedHat Linux, Fedora, Kali Linux and many more are distributions of the Linux kernel. These operating systems are standalone distributions, unlike Xubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, etc which are Ubuntu flavours.

Ease of Use


Here the Ubuntu is one of the most user friendly Linux distributions available today. It utilizes GNOME for its desktop environment, which provides users with a graphical interface that they can utilize to carry out simple tasks. 


Unlike Ubuntu, Linux utilizes a command line for its user interface. There are not too many options to click when using Linux. Most of the time, it’s you and your terminal. This makes it hard for less tech savvy users to use Linux.

Support Community


Ubuntu is still an OS that is growing in popularity. Even though it has been around for over 18 years, the operating system still has a small support community. Many developers actively provide support, but it is not as extensive as Windows support.


Consequently Linux is significantly older than Ubuntu and has a pretty large support forum. There are thousands of users gradually migrating to Linux as their primary operating system. However, this growing community is still small compared to the millions of users currently running Microsoft Windows as their primary operating system.  

Use Cases


Due to Ubuntu’s graphical interface, it is mostly used as an OS for personal computing. Ubuntu’s GNOME desktop environment allows users to use the operating system without having too much technical knowledge. However, you can also use Ubuntu for running IoT devices


Oppositely, Linux is used to run virtually all computer connected devices globally. From your cars, smartphones, web servers, electronic thermostats, HVAC units, it is Linux that powers its base functionality.

System Requirements


One of the major advantages of Ubuntu is that it can run on the most basic computer with minimum system specs. There are tons of Ubuntu flavors like Xubuntu that you can get up and running in a system with just 512MB of RAM and a 700MHz processor. 


Linux is developed as an OS to serve both personal and enterprise computing. You can use Linux in cars, cloud computing, supercomputing, and many more. Therefore, the OS has a higher system requirement than Ubuntu because it is used for high end computing. To run most Linux distributions seamlessly, you need at least 4GB of RAM on the host machine.

Variation and Robustness


In the Ubuntu operating system, there are varieties based on core, desktop and server available. Additionally, the operating system is fault tolerant as it hardly fails or crashes when any individual component or application fails.


On the other hand, Linux has server, embedded based varieties available. In addition, the operating system uses its Unix like architecture to boost its robustness. 

Thank you for reading Ubuntu vs Linux – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons).

Ubuntu vs Linux - What's the Difference ? (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

Summing up command line interaction, higher system requirements and increased security are all excellent features of Linux. On the other hand, Ubuntu’s simplistic and interactive graphical interface makes the operating system a much better option for users new to Linux. 

Finally Linux and Ubuntu are pretty similar. Because Ubuntu takes its base features from Linux, but these two OS are also very different. If you’re a less tech savvy user, Ubuntu might be the perfect option, but if you prefer something more challenging and extensive, Linux is the OS for you. 

Why don’t you take a look at more Ubuntu content here

Avatar for Kamso Oguejiofor
Kamso Oguejiofor

Kamso is a mechanical engineer and writer with a strong interest in anything related to technology. He has over 2 years of experience writing on topics like cyber security, network security, and information security. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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