Is there a Difference Between Ubuntu and its Derivatives?

When you look on the Ubuntu/Linux website, you’ll find multiple versions of the same operating system. Why? Because this is an open source platform, which means anyone with coding abilities can come and create a different version of the OS and make it available to PC users for free.

Having many options can be a good or bad thing. For one, it gives you the choice to pick the one that works best for you. How many people who use Windows or Mac can agree that a one-size-fits-all approach to operating systems isn’t the best?

As a Ubuntu user, you can access and try different versions until you find the one suitable for you and your needs. But having a lot of options can also be overwhelming and time consuming to test out. So here is a closer look into the various varieties, so you can make a more informed decision.


The underlying platform for Ubuntu is still GNOME. However, rather than using the GNOME Shell interface, a Unity shell is used instead. You can easily go to the Ubuntu desktop to convert it to the typical Ubuntu. This works on any version of Ubuntu you decide to use.

Then here comes…


It was named afters its predecessor and for good reason. It has a very similar feel. However, the key difference between the two is that Kubuntu has KDE for its desktop envrionment, rather than GNOME used by Ubuntu.

This operating system is also receives sponsorshop from Blue Systems. It used to be backed by Canonical, but funds ceased back in 2012. However, it’s still recognized as a legit version of Ubuntu.


You can look at this version as the lighter weight option of Ubuntu. It is very well optimized and can be used on older model computers. The desktop environment is quick because it uses Xfce only. Other versions sometimes use both GNOME and KDE. So the interface of Xubuntu is slimmer.

This operating system is driven by the community and has a Strategy Document it operates under. It too is recognized by Canonical as a legit spin-off of Ubuntu.


This is known as the counterpart of Xubunutu. Except, this one is created to be a powerhouse used for entertainment purposes. There was a lot of attention given to the Media Center. It comes with various drivers and setups that can be used for TV Out cards, TV tuners and even MythTV. It comes with the desktop environment, so it’s ready for use right away.


With this operating system, the focus was on education. It has extra apps you can use for school. It is even stylized in a way that is attractive to children.

Ubuntu Studio

Those who are into the arts, such as video, graphics, audio and design, will appreciate this version of Ubuntu. If you use such software daily, then this is the operating system recommended to you. It comes with bundles of codecs, apps and drivers that will make these activities seamless.

You can find computers with Linux and Ubuntu already installed. However, if you want to buy the system Ubuntu created, then be prepared to spend a pretty penny. You can save money by shopping for deals on Groupon for everything from electronics to clothes from brands like Best Buy and Aeropostale.