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Is it just Debian but with more packages specified in the manifest file, or is there anything else included?

2 Answers 2

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This is complementary to @karel's answer.

Is it just Debian but with more packages ...

You're right that Ubuntu is based on Debian, uses the Debian package manager apt, and Ubuntu packages are often (but not always) based on upstream Debian packages. But that's about it.

Since Ubuntu has a different release cycle than Debian, Ubuntu keeps a complete package ecosystem with custom kernels (and several kernel flavors for multiple hardware and cloud platforms), package versions, security patches etc.

In addition, Ubuntu has added some elements that Debian does not have by default, such as:

  • Ubuntu Pro (including kernel livepatching on selected platforms)
  • Direct support for PPAs (Personal Package Archives - for better and worse)
  • Snap Daemon
  • Netplan (actually, it seems that Netplan has been adopted as of Debian 12, so this is an example the other way around)
  • Custom GUI for Gnome (and other desktops for Ubuntu flavors)
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The Ubuntu ISO provides a complete installation image containing a customized version of Debian with a pre-configured desktop environment, additional software, and Ubuntu-specific tools for a ready-to-use Linux experience.

  • The core Ubuntu system includes the Linux kernel, core system utilities, and libraries needed for basic functionality.
  • Ubuntu comes with a pre-configured GNOME desktop environment by default. This provides the graphical user interface and core applications for daily use.
  • Ubuntu builds upon Debian by including a curated selection of additional software packages pre-installed. These can be productivity tools, multimedia players, development tools, and more.
  • The Ubuntu ISO includes tools specific to Ubuntu for installation customization options and post-installation configuration.
  • The GRUB bootloader allows you to choose which operating system to boot if you have multiple OSs installed.
  • The Ubuntu desktop ISO and the Ubuntu live server ISO allow you to try Ubuntu before installing it. This live environment runs directly from the ISO without modifying your existing operating system.

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