Debian or Ubuntu?

Mike Bird mgb-ubuntu at
Fri May 9 17:50:05 UTC 2008

On Fri May 9 2008 09:32:53 Kitchen wrote:
> I've been lurking on the list for a while, but haven't posted before.
> We're looking at upgrading our co-lo web server which is now running
> Debian Sarge. Some people we know have suggested we take a look at
> Ubuntu, which is based on Debian. Is there anywhere a balanced
> overview of the pros and cons of using Debian or Ubuntu?
> I'd appreciate any URLs or your own thoughts. Thanks.

If Debian Stable runs on your hardware and provides the software
versions that you need then use it.  It is by far the best quality
and your colleagues on debian-users are much more likely than those
on ubuntu-users to give an accurate answer rather than a wild and
often inaccurate guess.  However Debian Stable releases are rare
and they are usually sadly out of date.

In recent years we have used only Debian Stable on servers.

Otherwise you can choose between Debian Testing, Debian Unstable,
Debian Stable+Backports, a mixture of the above, or Ubuntu Stable.
(I wouldn't recommend pre-release versions of Ubuntu for anything
except beta testing.)  Generally these Debian versions involve more
work due to the large volume of updates.  Ubuntu Stable on the
other hand has something of a history of nasty update problems,
and the support on this list is not the same quality as on
debian-users.  Ubuntu is quirky but usually supports a wider range
of hardware than Debian.  Ubuntu installation is easier than
Debian providing the way you want to configure your system matches
the way that Ubuntu wants to configure your system.

In recent years we used Ubuntu on workstations, then switched to
a mix of Debian Testing and Debian Unstable.  We're just starting
on yet another re-evaluation against Debian Stable+Backports and
Ubuntu.  For workstations there are many acceptable solutions but
no great solutions as yet.

--Mike Bird

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