I was looking at the distros over here:


They all come with some sort of motivation/theme. Like mint being "most complete out of the box experience" i.e. user friendly, or "The openSUSE project has three main goals" and then lists three clear objectives, kali having "a collection of security and forensics tools", or arch on being very minimal and hands-on on installing stuff.

But Ubuntu and Debian seem to just be "a stable linux distribution". Is that their appeal?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Rui F Ribeiro, DopeGhoti, Jeff Schaller, JRFerguson, jordanm Jun 12 '17 at 19:09

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Ubuntu's "appeal" is that it's goal is to be easy to adopt by a lay person as a primary OS. Debian's "appeal" is a distribution with a stable API, comparable to that of RHEL or CentOS releases. – DopeGhoti Jun 12 '17 at 17:48
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    Also, Ubuntu is based off of Debian. – cutrightjm Jun 12 '17 at 17:51
  • There perhaps would be no Mint nor Ubuntu if Debian project hasn't been started those many years ago. – NarūnasK Jun 12 '17 at 17:59
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    Ubuntu Bug #1 – drewbenn Jun 12 '17 at 18:28

I don't think it is possible to fully answer this question, as it may be too broad or opinion based, but the Debian Wiki on Children Software distributions gives a pretty good overview of Ubuntu's goals:


Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that starts with the breadth of Debian and adds regular releases (every six months), a clear focus on the user and usability (it should Just Work, TM) and a commitment to security updates with nine months of support for every release. Ubuntu ships with the latest Unity and KDE releases as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off a single installation CD.

The Debian Manifesto from 1994 gives you a glimpse of what Debian as a project tries to accomplish:

A.1 What is Debian Linux?

Debian Linux is a brand-new kind of Linux distribution. Rather than being developed by one isolated individual or group, as other distributions of Linux have been developed in the past, Debian is being developed openly in the spirit of Linux and GNU. The primary purpose of the Debian project is to finally create a distribution that lives up to the Linux name. Debian is being carefully and conscientiously put together and will be maintained and supported with similar care.

It is also an attempt to create a non-commercial distribution that will be able to effectively compete in the commercial market. It will eventually be distributed by The Free Software Foundation on CD-ROM, and The Debian Linux Association will offer the distribution on floppy disk and tape along with printed manuals, technical support and other end-user essentials. All of the above will be available at little more than cost, and the excess will be put toward further development of free software for all users. Such distribution is essential to the success of the Linux operating system in the commercial market, and it must be done by organizations in a position to successfully advance and advocate free software without the pressure of profits or returns.

So basically Ubuntu sets itself up as an easy to use distribution with solid user interfaces and sane defaults. Debian focuses on solid support and spreading the influence of Linux in professional and end-user settings.

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