Linux vs Ubuntu

In this comparison of Linux vs Ubuntu, we will answer your questions about Ubuntu and several other distros when compared to Linux. The Linux family can be a bit overwhelming at first, but with a little research, you can find the Linux Distro that will be best suited for you.

Linux vs Ubuntu

  • What is Ubuntu?
  • Is Linux the same as OSX?
  • Why Use Ubuntu?
  • Is Linux the same as Ubuntu?
  • Is GNU the same as Linux?

Linux vs OSX-Basics

When it comes to Linux versus OSX, the two systems have been neck and neck competitors for several years when it comes to the number of developers using each system. OS X is certified UNIX, so essentially it has many of the same features of Linux, such as command line tools and a package manager. Just this year, OS X has started to edge out Linux among developers, possibly attributed to the fact that any development for iOS must be done on an OS X system.

Linux-based systems are based on the Linux Kernel, but it can be altered and modified because it is open source which means its code is accessible to all users. This results in literally hundreds of different configurations called “distros.” The benefit of an open source operating system is that there is no fee involved. This means you can explore any number of distros to see which one has the functionality, design, and other features that best suit your project.

Even though OSX has many of the same Linux features, the resulting desktop interface is more controlled and polished than Linux distros. Updates, software, apps are all more uniformly applies on an OSX system than Linux. Developers who resent even this small amount of control or want to go deeper, they will be happier with Linux but for regular end users simply looking to escape Windows, OS X is well-suited.

Linux vs GNU-The Same or Different?

There is a controversy over whether the correct terminology is Linux or GNU/Linux, because each refers to the same operating system. The core of the Linux operating system is the Linux kernel. It’s the hub of the Linux operating system so to speak. Additional software is then layered on top of the kernel. The additional software can be produced from all different developers or groups of developers. Each complete package is then called “Linux”.

In the early 1980’s, plans were underway for the GNU Project. GNU stood for “GNU’s Not Unix.” It was the brainchild of Richard Stallman who intended a comprehensive operating system of Unix-compatible software that was free. Within less than ten years, by 1991, many pieces of the operating system were completed including the GNU C Compiler, many shell utilities, the Bash command-line shell, and more. The last piece needed for the core of the operating system was the GNU Hurd kernel. After twenty-three years of development and due to long delays, no stable version was released.

So, GNU never really came to fruition as a complete operating system of its own. In 1991, Linus Torvalds released the Linux kernel. Together with the GNU software and the X Window System, there was enough to create a completely free operating system. The GNU project comprises a significant portion of the standard Linux system. This system is referred to as GNU/Linux or simply Linux.

Linux Versus BSD-Side-by-Side

BSD, which stands for Berkeley Software Distribution, is a specific version of a UNIX operating system developed out of UC at Berkeley. There are some subtle differences when it comes to BSD versus Linux. For one the C library for BSD is based on Berkeley code, whereas Linux is based on the GNU project. Only some of the utilities in BSD come from the GNU project, whereas Linux utilities derive from GNU.

There was a split in the BSD developers which resulted in FreeBSD and NetBSD, about 80% of the BSD installations are in fact FreeBSD. BSD is not owned by any one corporation or person but is produced and supported by a community of developers around the world. There are core teams for both FreeBSD and NetBSD who manage the project and have more influence in project direction than other contributors in the community. The base code of BSD systems is more mature and therefore more reliable than Linux.

Unbeknown to many, PlayStation 3 and 4 and Mac OS X are running an operating system that includes a combination of BSD and other code. BSD is frequently used for commercial projects that aren’t as willing to share their code. In fact, one of the primary differences when it comes to BSD versus Linux is the licensing debate.

Linux vs Ubuntu: What Reviewers Say in 2017

Ubuntu vs Linux

Reviewers are excited about new Linux distros available in 2017. Specifically, Loki, the newest version of Elementary. It boasts the familiar Pantheon desktop Apple users will recognize and includes, App Center, its own app installer user interface.

Another recommended distro is, of course, Ubuntu, a Debian-based Linux OS. The most recent version is Ubuntu 16.04.01 which is a release with long term support that includes security and maintenance updates for five years. The standard Unity interface will be new for Windows or Mac users, but the Ubuntu website offers other options including GNOME, MATE, LXDE. For those that dabble in creativity, Ubuntu Studio or KX Studio are both worthy of a trial run.

Linux vs Ubuntu: For Writers

Writers have not been forgotten when it comes to Linux. Many Linus distros include text editors, word processors, typesetting, and spell check features that writers use regularly.

GhostWriter by Billy-Bob Ming is a truly distraction-free writing environment. It runs from a CD with nothing to install and includes several tools specifically for writing novels, screenplays, short stories, or non-fiction.

If you can put a CD in the drive, you can use Ghostwriter. It comes with four primary apps including LyX for documents, gv for viewing LyX created files, the Dillo Web browser, and The GIMP, for producing illustrations.

The downside to GhostWriter is that you cannot print or save to USB or hard drive, only to diskettes or a CD if your computer has the capability. For those that can’t live with this flaw, try the “texlive” distro from the Ubuntu software repository instead or FocusWriter which is available cross-platform.

Summary of Linux vs Ubuntu

For Windows or Mac users looking to switch to the Linux platform, the number of choices can be overwhelming. It’s a good idea to take full advantage of all the resources for learning about Linux. One of the most helpful things you can do before starting your research of the various distros involved with Linux vs Ubuntu is to make a list of what you like and don’t like about your current system.

It’s not about finding something that has all the features of your current system; it’s more about finding a distro that includes all the functions you will use on a regular basis for your writing and other projects. If you know what those functions are before you get started, it will be easier to narrow the list of Linux distros to those that will best suit your needs.

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