Debian vs Ubuntu : Which one should I use as default OS for development?

I know that it might not be comparable as Ubuntu has been built on top of Debian OS.

What I want to know is that Can I use Debian as my default OS for development?

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Tracy Phillips's photo

If you are new to Linux, use Ubuntu. If you have been around Linux for awhile (and I suspect you have), use Debian.

I use Debian Jessie on my Lenovo X1 Carbon and just needed to enable the non-free repository after install and then installed my WiFi driver. Everything else just works.

I have a killer Gnome environment setup, but I spend 80 percent of my time in A tweaked out Gnome Terminal using vim (also tweaked out).

For servers, I also use Debian Jessie. Rock solid. But then again, when Debian releases a stable version, its stable. At least from my experience.

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Tracy Phillips's photo

Systems Administration

Thanks for the reply! I totally agree with you. Nice set of scripts you have there.

Put your post install scripts into an Ansible role and never look back my friend.


da Tyga's photo

In my experience Debian is as good as Ubuntu (which is based on it) and in some cases better. The real difference is that Ubuntu is a bit easier to get going if you not experienced with Linux. If you have limited Linux experience, then you might be better off dipping your toes in the water with Ubuntu. Otherwise, read up and give Debian a spin. Since both are free, your only investment is your time and you will certainly learn either way.

As far as development goes, I would dare suggest that Debian might actually have a slight edge over Ubuntu. Of course YMMV !

Jan Vladimir Mostert's photo

You can use any Linux distro as a desktop OS for dev, I've used Gentoo for 2 years and then got tired of all the hassle of having to compile my own packages from source the whole time and then waiting 20 minutes for my latest firefox source code to compile so I could browse.

Desktop: Ubuntu / ElementaryOS / Mint / any of the ubuntu clones are perfect, they mostly work out of the box for a desktop environment. Server: Debian, it's geared towards servers and doesn't have a window manager installed by default, so perfect for servers.

Debian on the desktop would mean you have to do a bit of work to get it slick and usable as a desktop, that time is much better spend writing code instead of fidgeting with your OS.

Vaibhav Mule's photo

<3 Python and JS

I do agree, My concern is to have lean and lightweight OS in my machine. I have tried Debian once in Live USB and my wifi is not working. But I don't, I wanna give a try to Debian.

Andy's photo

Ubuntu is to Debian, as your local restaurant is to the local farmer's market. Chef Ubuntu goes to the Debian farmer's market periodically, finds the best fresh ingredients, mixes them with his own special blend, and produces food for his intended audience. For people who enjoy cooking, they can, and do, just go down to the market and get what they need.

Duane Avery's photo

IT Janitor - Manager of a Security Team of ~20 individuals responsible for Firewalls, URL Filtering, and VPN gateways.

This has to be the most brilliant analogy I've seen comparing OS versions. Been using Ubuntu for many years on VMWare, and just switched to ESXi 6.5 and have had nothing but issues. Default crap in Ubuntu server for containers that I don't give a crap about, and iSCSI, which I don't want. So, I decided to go to the market myself, and I though, wow, Ubuntu with blue install screens ;) These articles are encouraging me to continue, and conclude it might be my path forward.

Samuel Oloruntoba's photo

Both are very capable and Linux based, that's a plus. But I have heard lots of people say Ubuntu has more packages than any distro. But since Linux packages are cross-compatible, eliminates the fact that ubuntu has more packages. As usual,​ it comes down to preference.