Debian vs Ubuntu: What’s the Difference? Which One Should You Use?

Current config is venerable (aka “old” HP) desktop with 2 drives (SSD and HD). Linux Mint (including Debian) is installed on SSD (/dev/sda). LM works well most of the time but I’d like to also install Ubuntu for comparison. Will Ubuntu install only on HD /sdb (to avoid “cross-pollination” and EZ removal if the 2 distros interfere with each other) ?

newbie BB

I think the safest way to try Ubuntu is via a live-boot USB stick. You’ll be able to see everything on the SSD and HDD and there should be no interference with Mint.


Newbie less likely to get stuck when Debian says “no you cannot have those nasty proprietary blob wifi drivers!”…

i.e. Ubuntu for sure if you’re a newbie…

BTW - what do you mean :

Linux Mint is a Ubuntu derivative isn’t it? So Mint contains Ubuntu, which contains Debian?

AFAIK Linux Mint draws from Ubuntu, which draws from Debian / testing.
Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is directly Debian based.

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Abishek has written a very good article to that question:


I was a windows 3.1 guru back in the early 90’s when Debian was just out. I had tried Red Hat but got Debian working for about a year. I learned a lot about linux in general that way. RTFM days. I’m just a hobbies t but I like to test new oses. In the last 25 years I’ve tested over 50 linux (and BSD) oses. I don’t like ubuntu (too windowsy). I can do anything pretty simply with a MATE DE on just about any distro. Deb and Ubuntu share common package managers but their respective philosophies differ greatly. On this box , I’m quintuple booting (5 oses) : Debian 11, Ubuntu 20.04 lts, Fedora34, MX 19, kdeNeon. Deb has been my main box forever but I keep Ubuntu around for the reason that they share the base. A problem in one is easy to fix from the other. MX is Deb based and easy to use. Kde Neon is pretty and is the most customizable. Fedora is cutting edge but can be tricky to set up if you have special needs. Debian is stable solid and old–like me.


What is “Mate DE” ?? There is a Linux distro - “LMDE” (Linux Mint Debian) which may be close to “MATE DE”. If not, do you recommend trying Debian 11 or MX 19 on my old HP desktop with an integrated Nvidia display adapter ? Thanx

Bewildered newbie Bob

Mate-DE means Mate (speak: “mah-te”) Desktop Environment. It is typically used by the Linux Mint distribution, but, as far as I know, can be used with others, too.

I guess, @don.karon’s suggestion to try with a live version is pretty good.

Ubuntu or a derivative (like Mint, Kubuntu etc.) usually have pretty good hardware support.

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Like Mina said: DE is Desktop environment. Mate can be installed on most, virtually al,l that I have tried. It’s one of the things I like to check when I’m playing with a new distro. I’ve stayed away from nvidia for years because of the driver problems-I like amd . Of the two you probably will have fewer “tests” with ubuntu. Debian in general can be a little behind in the hardware area. Ubuntu has prolific help system, also.

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See if you’re the beginner using Linux I would recommend using Ubuntu It is no doubt that Ubuntu is a popular operating system for beginners and also comes in Desktop, Server editions .
It is also packed with tools which are made up for programmers ,Software Engineers etc .

The main difference between Ubuntu and Debian is they are completely different things but utilize the same package managers apt
First **stick to Ubuntu /GNOME ** technology it is just like Windows you won’t have to learn new things in that .
If you want to learn Debian you can use virtual Machines to learn it

And its completely your preference and depends upon what you wish to achieve with those distros