Difference Between Linux and Ubuntu

The main difference between Linux and Ubuntu is that the Linux is a free and open source operating system based on UNIX while Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux.

Linux is a popular operating system. The Linux architecture consists of components such as kernel, system libraries, system tools, development tools and end-user tools. The kernel is the core of the operating system. It handles devices memory and manages processes. The system libraries help to access kernel features. The commands are the systems tools. The development tools are the additional tools and libraries written by programmers to produce working applications. Moreover, there are end-user tools such as browsers, multimedia players, graphic design tools etc. There are various Linux distributions, and one of them is Ubuntu.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Linux
     – Definition, Features
2. What is Ubuntu
     – Definition, Features
3. Similarities Between Linux and Ubuntu
     – Outline the Common Features
4. Difference Between Linux and Ubuntu
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Linux, Ubuntu, Operating System

Difference Between Linux and Ubuntu- Comparison Summary

What is Linux

Linux is an OS based on UNIX. It is built on the Linux Kernel. The common use of Linux is in personal computers, desktops, game development, embedded systems, smartphones, tablets, and many more. Linux is a free and open source. Any user with programming knowledge can modify it. It enables the users to run the program, change the code and to redistribute the modified copies. Therefore, anyone can download and distribute it for free. Moreover, the developers around the globe can share and collaborate to develop the code for Linux. It is the major reason behind the popularity of Linux.

Difference Between Linux and Ubuntu

Overall, Linux provides multiple advantages for the user. It is a stable and secure operating system. It is a multi-user system because it allows multiple users to work simultaneously. It is an OS that supports and utilizes more processors at the same time. Moreover, it is multitasking and allows running many processes at the same time.

What is Ubuntu

There are various Linux Distributions. Some of them are Red Hat, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint. Ubuntu is also a Linux Distribution.  There are various editions in Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Desktop version is suitable for personal computers. The Ubuntu Server is suitable for cloud and servers while Ubuntu Core is for developing Internet of Things (IoT) based devices. The Edubuntu is Ubuntu Education Edition featuring a large number of educational applications.

Main Difference - Linux vs Ubuntu

Ubuntu contains a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a Command Line Interface (CLI).  The GUI allows the user to easily perform tasks using graphical components such as buttons, windows, means textboxes, etc. Also, the CLI allows the user to enter commands and execute them quickly. Moreover, it is easy to install Ubuntu, and it contains a Multi Boot loader to boot up the system quickly.

Ubuntu systems contain a lot of software. Libre Office, Firefox web browser, VLC media player, GIMP Adobe Photoshop clone, MySQL Database Management System are some of them. The user can download more free software and tools from Ubuntu software center or other APT-based package management tools. Furthermore, it is a secure operating system that provides protection for data and resources from malicious software such as the virus, worms, spyware and other malware.

Similarities Between Linux and Ubuntu

  • Both are free and open source.
  • They support multi-user
  • Both allow multitasking and multithreading.
  • They allow multiprocessing.
  • They are highly secure and stable.

Difference Between Linux and Ubuntu


Linux is a family of free, open-source software operating system built around the Linux Kernel. Ubuntu is a free, open-source operating system and Linux distribution based on Debian.


The Linux is the core operating system. Ubuntu is an operating system which is a distribution of Linux.


Linus Torvalds was the initial developer of Linux. The Linux community can support the development of the OS. Canonical Ltd developed ubuntu, and the Ubuntu community can support its development.

Initial Release

The first release of Linux was in 1991 whereas the initial release of Ubuntu was in 2004.


The Linux is used for personal computers, game consoles, embedded systems, desktops and servers. Ubuntu is used for personal computers, servers, cloud computing and IoT.


The Linux is highly secure and robust. It is used for enterprise level applications as it is highly reliable and stable. On the other hand, Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux, and it has almost all the features of Linux. The difference between Linux and Ubuntu is that the Linux is a free and open source operating system based on UNIX while the Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux.


1. “Linux Ppt.” LinkedIn SlideShare, 22 Nov. 2013, Available here.
2. Nirma University. “Ubuntu-Overview.” LinkedIn SlideShare, 21 Oct. 2011, Available here.
3. “Linux Features – Javatpoint.” Www.javatpoint.com, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Ubuntu logo” By Canonical Ltd – Ubuntu Visual Identity -This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Logo-ubuntu cof-orange-hex.svg (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “151619” (CC0) via Pixabay

About the Author: Lithmee

Lithmee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Systems Engineering and is reading for her Master’s degree in Computer Science. She is passionate about sharing her knowldge in the areas of programming, data science, and computer systems.

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