Ubuntu vs. Xubuntu

Which Linux flavor is better?

Ubuntu and Xubuntu are both popular Linux distributions. Ubuntu is a free and open-source Linux distribution based on Debian, while Xubuntu is a community-maintained derivative of the Ubuntu operating system. We looked at both so that you can determine if one is a better fit for your needs.

Ubuntu vs Xubuntu

Overall Findings

Ubuntu
  • Means "humanity toward others."

  • Maintained by the core Ubuntu developers.

  • Uses the Unity desktop environment.

Xubuntu
  • Name is a combination of XFCE and Ubuntu.

  • Uses the XFCE desktop environment.

  • Desktop environment is intended to minimize system resources.

The main difference between Ubuntu and Xubuntu is the desktop environment. Ubuntu uses the Unity desktop environment while Xubuntu uses XFCE, which is lighter, more customizable, and easier on system resources than other desktop environments.

Desktop Environments: XFCE Is More Customizable

Ubuntu
  • Limited desktop customization options.

  • Powerful search tool with extensive filters.

  • Integrates well with common applications.

Xubuntu
  • XFCE is stable, light, and configurable.

  • Works well on older hardware.

  • Modern look and lots of features.

While intuitive and easy to use, the Unity desktop is not very customizable, although you can now move the Ubuntu launcher to the bottom of the screen. XFCE looks more basic than Unity at first glance, but it is highly customizable, making it easier to set up menus and panels the way you want. The XFCE desktop environment is also lighter on system resources, so it may work better on older or low-end hardware.

Applications: More Similarities Than Differences

Ubuntu
  • Pre-installed applications, such as the installer and package manager, are similar.

  • Software applications are similar.

  • No real differences in support.

Xubuntu
  • Pre-installed applications, such as the installer and package manager, are similar.

  • Software applications are similar.

  • No real differences in support.

When it comes to pre-installed applications, Unbuntu and Xubuntu have more similarities than differences. The installer is virtually the same, the package managers are similar, the updates come from the same place, and the support community is the same. In the past, Xubuntu came pre-loaded with lighter software packages; however, most of the major packages are now the same, and there is nothing particularly different between the desktop environments that would make you switch your entire distribution.

Final Verdict

If you find your computer is lagging under the strain of Ubuntu, Xubuntu might be a better fit for your system. If you don't care about customizing your desktop, and you find that Ubuntu does everything you want it to do, then there is no need to switch to Xubuntu.

Generally speaking, you don't gain anything by switching from Ubuntu to Xubuntu except for the XFCE desktop. If you already have Ubuntu set up, you can actually install the XFCE desktop environment by entering the following command in the terminal window:

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop