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Raspbian vs Ubuntu: What are the differences?


Raspbian and Ubuntu are popular operating systems used for different purposes. While Raspbian is specifically designed for Raspberry Pi devices, Ubuntu is a widely used Linux distribution for various platforms, including PCs, servers, and IoT devices. There are several key differences between Raspbian and Ubuntu that make them suitable for different use cases.

  1. Package Management System: Raspbian uses the Advanced Package Tool (APT) as its default package management system. APT provides a simple and automated way to install, update, and remove software packages. On the other hand, Ubuntu uses the Debian package management system, which is also based on APT but offers a wider range of software packages and repositories.

  2. Desktop Environment: Raspbian comes with the LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) by default, which is a lightweight and resource-friendly desktop environment suitable for the limited resources of Raspberry Pi devices. Ubuntu, on the other hand, offers various desktop environments like GNOME, Unity, and KDE, providing a more customizable and feature-rich user experience for PCs and laptops.

  3. Hardware Support: Raspbian is optimized for Raspberry Pi devices and provides out-of-the-box support for their specific hardware components like GPIO pins, camera modules, and sensors. Ubuntu, being a more generic Linux distribution, may not have the same level of pre-configured support for Raspberry Pi's hardware. However, Ubuntu offers better hardware support for a wide range of other devices, including PC hardware, servers, and industrial IoT devices.

  4. Community and Documentation: Raspbian has a strong and dedicated community of users and developers focused on Raspberry Pi devices. This community provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and support specifically tailored to the needs of Raspberry Pi users. Ubuntu, being a widely used Linux distribution, has a larger community and more extensive documentation covering a wide range of hardware platforms and use cases.

  5. Long-term Support (LTS): Ubuntu provides Long-term Support (LTS) releases that are supported with security updates and bug fixes for a longer duration (typically 5 years). This makes Ubuntu a more suitable choice for enterprise and production environments where stability and long-term support are critical. Raspbian, on the other hand, focuses on providing regular updates and improvements for Raspberry Pi users without explicit LTS releases.

  6. System Requirements: Due to its lightweight design, Raspbian has lower system requirements compared to Ubuntu. This makes Raspbian a better choice for low-power and resource-constrained devices like Raspberry Pi. Ubuntu, being a more feature-rich operating system, requires higher system specifications and may not perform optimally on devices with limited resources.

In Summary, Raspbian and Ubuntu differ in their package management systems, desktop environments, hardware support, community and documentation, long-term support options, and system requirements. These differences make them suitable for different use cases and target platforms.

Decisions about Raspbian and Ubuntu

Ubuntu is much more faster over Windows and helps to get software and other utilities easier and within a short span of time compared to Windows.

Ubuntu helps to get robustness and resiliency over Windows. Ubuntu runs faster than Windows on every computer that I have ever tested. LibreOffice (Ubuntu's default office suite) runs much faster than Microsoft Office on every computer that I have ever tested.

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Jerome/Zen Quah

Global familiarity, free, widely used, and as a debian distro feels more comfortable when rapidly switching between local macOS and remote command lines.

CentOS does boast quite a few security/stability improvements, however as a RHEL-based distro, differs quite significantly in the command line and suffers from slightly less frequent package updates. (Could be a good or bad thing depending on your use-case and if it is public facing)

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Simon Aronsson
Developer Advocate at k6 / Load Impact · | 7 upvotes · 268.4K views

At the moment of the decision, my desktop was the primary place I did work. Due to this, I can't have it blow up on me while I work. While Arch is interesting and powerful, Ubuntu offers (at least for me) a lot more stability and lets me focus on other things than maintaining my own OS installation.

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Pros of Raspbian
Pros of Ubuntu
  • 7
    Runs well on rpi
  • 2
    Easy to use with little experience
  • 1
    Very Lightweight
  • 230
    Free to use
  • 96
    Easy setup for testing discord bot
  • 57
    Gateway Linux Distro
  • 54
    Simple interface
  • 9
    Don't need driver installation in most cases
  • 6
    Open Source
  • 6
    Many active communities
  • 3
    Software Availability
  • 3
    Easy to custom
  • 2
    Many flavors/distros based on ubuntu
  • 1
    Lightweight container base OS
  • 1
    Great OotB Linux Shell Experience

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Cons of Raspbian
Cons of Ubuntu
  • 4
    Desktop enviroment is unstable
  • 1
    Uses ARMHF architecture, not commonly supported
  • 5
    Demanding system requirements
  • 4
    Adds overhead and unnecessary complexity over Debian
  • 2
    Snapd installed by default
  • 1

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What is Raspbian?

It is optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware. It provides more than a pure OS: it comes with over 35,000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation on your Raspberry Pi.

What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It also means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.

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What companies use Raspbian?
What companies use Ubuntu?
See which teams inside your own company are using Raspbian or Ubuntu.
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What tools integrate with Ubuntu?

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