Why use Ubuntu instead of other Linux distributions?

Ubuntu is the most famous Linux distribution in the world. Used by all types of platforms, from enterprise to desktop and passing by mobile phones, the distribution that started its journey just 14 years ago totally dominates the markets today in terms of userbase.

But when recommending Linux distributions in online discussions for others, people keep saying stuff like “Ubuntu is for noobs, don’t use it”, or something like that. But that’s not true at all, as Ubuntu is suitable for any type of needs and use cases. In our post today, we’ll introduce you a couple of reasons of why you would want to choose Ubuntu over the other Linux distributions for your desktop.

Biggest Linux Community on Earth

ubuntu 5

There’s no Linux community of users and customers bigger than Ubuntu’s, period.

The Ubuntu forums alone contain more posts and threads than the Fedora, Linux Mint, openSUSE and LinuxQuestions.org forums combined; The Ubuntu forums have around 15 million posts and threads, where as the others have 2 million, 1.8 million, 1.3 million and 7.2 million posts respectively.

And this is without mentioning the number of questions and answers on AskUbuntu.com (Which is an online questions & answers website dedicated for Ubuntu), which is currently standing at 340,000 questions.

The presence of Ubuntu in the Linux media is huge, as you hear about few cities and countries switching to Ubuntu from Windows each few couple of months. This isn’t to say that other Linux distributions don’t have any communities at all, but to emphasize on how large the Ubuntu userbase is and the community and adaptation behind it.

And we are being generous here by not counting the Ubuntu-based distributions as Ubuntu community members as well; Distributions such as Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu and others do have large communities too, and all of these are flavours of the official Ubuntu distro and their users can be considered users of the normal Ubuntu desktop.

The large community is an important strength point for Ubuntu, because as a user, it guarantees that you can always ask for help or expect to find an online tutorial that keeps Ubuntu users in mind, unlike other smaller Linux distributions. It also means that 3rd-party software developers will target Ubuntu first before expanding to other distributions.

Large Software Repositories

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My Ubuntu 20.04 LTS installation (the daily image) is currently showing 60000 packages available for installation from the official Ubuntu repositories. What’s nice about Ubuntu is that it supports something called PPAs (Personal Package Archives) which are special 3rd-party repositories created by people who want to distribute their programs to Ubuntu users.

There are thousands of Ubuntu PPAs for most of the things you may need as a daily user; For example you can get the latest versions from GIMP, Inkscape, LibreOffice, Firefox, Chromium, graphics drivers and many other software easily on your Ubuntu installation by using those PPAs. For a good list of them, check our selections at PPAs.fosspost.org.

You can also browse or search PPAs on LaunchPad.net.

Notice: You shouldn’t add too much PPAs to your system, as this might cause system instability. But in general, you can easily use a couple of PPAs for some certain software you depend on in your daily work. Just make sure they do not conflict with each other (E.g break package dependencies for each other).

Stable Yet Modern System

Ubuntu offers 2 OS versions for its users:

  1. LTS Releases (Long-term Support): Released each two years and supported for a total of 5 years (+5 years to a total of 10 years for paying customers). Those versions usually ship the latest stable versions of software in their time, but as they get older, they usually do not receive a lot of updates, which makes them good for a lot of use cases where stability is more important over new features.
  2. non-LTS Releases: Released each 6 months (except when the time of an LTS is coming). Those versions are supported only for 9 months, and they usually contain the latest available stable software of their time, and continue to receive updates all the time. Good for users who always want to get the latest versions of everything.

Both the LTS releases and the non-LTS releases can be considered “stable” in the sense that they won’t crash with you in doing your daily tasks. But if you were just happy enough with an LTS release on your machine, then you won’t need to switch or upgrade your OS version for the next 5 years.


ubuntu 9

An alternative distribution method to traditional software management is Snaps. Snaps are self-contained and sandboxed packages for distributing apps on Linux, they were created by Canonical (The company behind Ubuntu). Snaps allow you to have any version of a software you may want under any supported Ubuntu release.

This means that you do not need to upgrade your Ubuntu 18.04LTS installation, for example, to more recent Ubuntu versions in order to enjoy the latest versions of VLC or OBS or other software, as you can choose to install them as Snaps, and the latest versions will always be delivered to you with zero effect on the stability of your operating system, unlike what would’ve happened if you were using PPAs and traditional package managers.

Snaps are supported and enabled by default on all Ubuntu versions, they are really cool for many use cases.

Hardware Support

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Configuring your graphics drivers, printers, bluetooth drivers, WiFi drivers and other things on some Linux distributions can be difficult, but not on Ubuntu.

Ubuntu comes with an out-of-the-box support for both NVIDIA and AMD graphics card, and also contains proprietary wireless drivers that are needed so that you can connect to the Internet (Some distributions like Debian just ship the open source ones, rendering you unable to connect). And while Ubuntu only offers some of the latest stable versions of these drivers for its users, you can add additional well-known PPAs to your system to receive daily bleeding-edge updates of these drivers. Which could be important for some uses cases like gaming.

The De Facto Linux

Yaru theme on Ubuntu 18.10

Being the most used desktop Linux distribution since ages surely should have an effect on your decision of using it. Because Ubuntu being that famous makes it enjoy a lot of features like we mentioned above; You have the community to help you, most companies releasing their software by default for Ubuntu in DEB format instead of other Linux distributions, and a large number of developers to contribute to the overall ecosystem.

This situation could’ve been different if you were using a less known Linux distribution where you would suffer from the lack of community and 3rd-party developers and companies support for it.

Ubuntu is good for everybody; Developers, engineers, students, doctors, newbies, gamers and ordinary folks… Literally everyone can use Ubuntu as their daily OS to make the best of their computers. So if you are new to the Linux world in general, then you should definitely give Ubuntu a try or one of its official flavours that come in other desktop environments.

23 Comment
James Babcock March 7, 2020
One of the biggest draws of Ubuntu is that its UI is complete and mature. I have some older hardware and short attention span, so I get excited when someone spews platitudes about the latest lightweight distro... Then I reinstall Ubuntu (and I should probably be saying gnome, I guess) because I don't like to spent time figuring where features are only to find they are partially or not at all implemented. Any review of a Linux distro should include how complete this version is, how quickly it takes to establish your minimum usable desktop and other similar topics. I've been a Unix and Linux user since the early nineties and Linux has been my primary x86 desktop for decades. I'm no sys admin, but I'm a solid user and for real, I expect to install an OS, install basic software and go to work. JimB
Nonya March 7, 2020
Most people that I know that have tried Ubuntu have quickly moved on to better Linux distros. I much prefer Debian based distros that are more mature and less buggy than Ububtu. I recommend SolydK, its much better than Ubuntu!
castaway March 7, 2020
Ubuntu is great! Canonical is able to bring many different people together. Some distros lack that a little... Ubuntu is so underrated!!!
Kris March 7, 2020
Why? No reason at all! I left Ubuntu years ago... Manjaro is my Distro !!! Rolling Release distro..stable fast and the community is amazing
Stevizard March 8, 2020
I've tried Ubuntu several times, and found it unforgiving and boring. And once again, I see it still has that horribly outdated and boring Orange desktop background. Some distros actually want to look cool.
Stevizard March 8, 2020
Try Solus or Deepin (latest version) for the coolest Linux distros.
Scooter March 8, 2020
If user base size is such a big deal, MS and Apple bases dwarf Ubuntu. I'm fairly new to Linux but even I know Ubuntu has had problems, technical and ethical. If what I read was correct, SUSE has a much higher valuation than Canonical, and Red Hat has a much much higher valuation than SUSE. PPAs are no fun, more than a few is a PITA. I think it's fair to say Snaps are a bit of a controversy, for example the proprietary server side isn't FOSS. No doubt Ubuntu has strong driver support by bundling more non-free drivers, but forums like reddit are replete with Ubuntu users with driver issues; Ubuntu isn't really that much better than other mature distros and arguably worse than some. Apart from the Texas Longhorns, burnt orange is a really unwelcome color. Anyway, this is a weird article. Having experienced other distros I know the points are fluff. Ubuntu may be the most aggressively positioned distro and he stipulates it's the most pervasive by far so this advocacy seems... odd.
Tartuffe March 8, 2020
You understand all pleasure of Ubuntu when you enter a login loop and the easiest way to solve the situation is to reinstall the system. Or when you lose your data just because of some process that has been crashed unexpectedly but so often that you begin to use online services just to be protected from the system's craches.
Etc Etera March 8, 2020
I'm mostly using Ubuntu (LTS Server) on servers, because it happened to be what I started out with for its being widespread and having a large community and being based on Debian which is widely considered rock solid, and I expect to stay there for the time being because of Canonical's kernel livepatch feature which frees me from the strict duty of rebooting servers in a timely manner every time important fixes for the kernel come in. I'm using Linux Mint on desktops/laptops, though, because I like both its fine adjustments to its Ubuntu base and the choice of UI. I find the 'classic' desktop UI that Cinnamon offers better than anything that succeeded Gnome 2 on standard Ubuntu, and for smaller machines I like Mint's implementation and theming of MATE and Xfce much better than either Ubuntu MATE or Xubuntu. Still, I'm quite aware of the Ubuntu LTS core that Mint is built on (for the time being and while LMDE is still just an experiment).
Karl L. Pearson March 8, 2020
I use Linux Mint. Before that I used PCLinuxOS, until the primary developer became very ill and the distro lost direction and want updated for a couple years. Now I use Linux Mint because the first time I installed it, it was stable, pretty, and fast. It still is 14 major versions later. Everything just works. Always has. I've used Linux as my daily driver for over 25 years and have tried many many distributions. I started with Slackware. Then moved to Redhat, then to fedora, then found PCLinuxOS... I've used Manjaro, but it's repository just isn't very easy to get along with. Arch, contrary to another poster's post, is Manjaro's root, not Ubuntu. I love that it's a rolling release. If you want a Debian-based distro that's also a rolling realest use LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition)... But above all, just say no to Microsoft and Apple. Oh, and the primary reason I won't use Ubuntu is because Canonical has become too much like Microsoft...
Ricky March 8, 2020
I tried all Linux distro, and finally Ubuntu is my choice, because of compatibility and performance. Debian was rock solid to me, it's really fast, but require many configuration after install was not good to me. Debian derivatives such as Deepin or MX is little bit slow on my very low-end laptop and the GUI out-of-the-box is not good for me. Fedora or OpenSuse is way too heavy weight and the performance just struggling on my laptop even I used the lightest desktop environment one. Clear Linux? It's good, but some proprietary components like exFAT is not available on Clear.
icancto March 8, 2020
Largest package repository? Ever heard of AUR? Also, Ubuntu's versioning doesn't make any sense. Why have versions at all? Go Arch Linux.
David March 9, 2020
What makes the small 5 year lifespan makes those such as myself displeased with the use of Ubuntu (but I and many other users are in the know that it can just be updated to the latest version without creating excessive use of the limited lifespan of an SSD... Unless we use a special Ubuntu based distro such as Pinguy which makes such an upgrade from the terminal an outrageous amount of work as you not only have to upgrade the distro version and application sources versions, but all the add ons to whichever new ones the updated version of the perhaps unusual distro for which making a single error can octuple your work... for each of many, many, many components). As a result, even though I am head over heels in love with Pinguy since 11.04, I'm forced to overwrite the entire partition with the new version of the specific sub-distro and then reload/add all which had been there in my previous installation of that prior distro versions - This results in unnecessary and excessive IO to the SSD, shortening it's lifespan. As a result I simply lock down my older Pinguy versions (I'm still using my absolute favorite of the bunch but with no internet connection unless required, instead installing application updates from a USB drive, as solid a firewall as I could apply to my distro, router, bridge and modem for added protection when I need to provide the distro IP access) and use Ubuntu Mate (Mah-Tay) 18.04 as my primary which I will move to 20.04 months after it proves completely stable and no longer receiving frequent updates to patch errors as the version has become rock solid). Sticking with the major distro upon which most others are built (although Ubuntu is built on/from Debian - Mint is built from Ubuntu which is built from Debian... Peppermint is built from Mint which is built from Ubuntu which is built from Debian! This means one is occasionally left to chase one's own tail for hours to days, to months at a time...). Ubuntu Mate is stable, extremely resource light, reliable and easy to update so that other options can be less worthwhile. It's the safest and often most familiar source to start using. If your a Windows user, select the Redmond desktop and suddenly you're looking at a Windows 7 interface! The only hold up is that some to many of your hardware doesn't work in Linux systems as the kernel doesn't contain that driver, but you can occasionally build it from the existing Windows drivers [This is some serious work and most often requires coding knowledge]. I experienced this with my Hewlett Packard HDX18t notebook's most expensive piece of hardware (the TV tuner card - While the notebook was $1,300 the TV Tuner card was well above $500 [while to upgrade from the Core 2 Duo to the Core 2 Quad was pricey, it didn't come even close to that unreasonably expensive Analog & Digital TV tuner card which Windiws 10 won't allow me to use and is why I ran from windows at full speed until I fell to the ground begging for air, got back up and did so again and again straight into the warm, loving arms of Ubuntu). 1 Ubuntu user worked to try and create a driver for that tuner card years ago but nothing came from it, others worked extremely hard to create a driver for the excellent Canon CanoScan D1250 U2F and created one which enabled it's use, but not at it's full, substantial resolution (which is why I looked specifically for scanners that made 100% clear they had Linux drivers for, resulting in my purchase of an Epson Perfection V600 J252A). Bottom line: Windows users considering a move to Ubuntu or any other Linux based Distribution, download a USB program to write multiple Linux distros to first such as Yumi (that is the one I use). Then download the distros you think you'll like, plug in a cleared out USB drive, run the Yumi software, select the distro you want to try and install it to the USB, then the next and the next (in 1 run of Yumi you can install as many distros as your USB drive has space for). Restart your computer and press whatever it shows on screen you need to press to enter the BIOS or to enter a Boot Selection screen and run from the USB. Upon start of the USB select the distro you want to try and when it's first screen starts select the option to try it as a live system, not the option to install it. It will load up and you can then experience the system firsthand, but note: Your "Hard Drive" is only a USB stick so your system will load things slower than they will from your computers Hard Drive (meaning around 11MB/s for USB 2.0 drives and 40MB/s for USB 3.0 drives, versus over 300MB/s to many GB/s for SATA and NVMe drives), but once running you will usually see full running speed as it's running from your RAM rsther than just the USB drive). Don't like the first distro you tried? Reboot, go back to the USB drive and try any of the other distros you installed onto the USB drive as many times as you would like until you find one you enjoy.
W. Anderson May 11, 2020
I sincerely hope that this article writer is not recommending Ubuntu because, as stated in article it has "Biggest" community on earth, since this is a serious mental flaw of many Americans, in particular, in equating most/quantity or largest/size automatically to mean "quality" or "stability", which is not necessarily the case with Ubuntu, but these superlatives have no place in discussions on good Linux distributions.
R S Chakravarti December 21, 2020
Debian has a non-free section which contains all the firmware I need. There is also an installation CD image including firmware and other non-free software. Google it.




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