From urban dictionary ubuntu is defined as "Ubuntu is an ancient african word, meaning "I can't configure Debian"".


I'm confused for that... How true is this sentence? Are really Ubuntu and Debian so close to each other?

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    -1 Because there was already a question for the differences and because using a joke might be disrespectful for some people, it is not an useful way to put a question. – João Pinto Aug 11 '10 at 16:19
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    I don't see this as needing downvotes. It can be read as an honest question coming from not having understood the joke. – vanden Aug 11 '10 at 21:14
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    I don't see how quoting the joke adds any value to the question "Is Ubuntu close to Debian?" . – João Pinto Aug 12 '10 at 12:09
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    @Joan The OP is clearly NOT asking "Is Ubuntu close to Debian?" here. It's a question about where does this joke come from and as such it can be hardly expressed without citing the joke. Downvoting for the reason you gave is plain nonsense. – maaartinus Mar 3 '11 at 23:11
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    I disagree. I find it slightly insulting being called "I can't configure debian". Debian is similarly easy to configure to Ubuntu. – nanofarad Aug 29 '12 at 12:51

Not true at all.

Actually Ubuntu means (from the site):

Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others'. It also means 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.

And also from ubuntu site:

Debian is 'the rock upon which Ubuntu is built'.

So, Ubuntu is a Linux Distribuition derived from Debian.


No, this is a joke.

Ubuntu (the word) "is an ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on people's allegiances and relations with each other". It is often translated directly as "humanity towards others. The word has its origin in the Bantu languages of southern Africa".

Ubuntu (The OS) is built on the foundation of Debian. It is a fork of the Debian project. Ubuntu shares many of the packages and components of Debian.

Ubuntu's goal is to be a user friendly Linux distributions for those unfamiliar with Linux in general. "Ubuntu has a strong focus on usability and ease of installation" whereas "Debian is known for relatively strict adherence to the Unix and free software philosophies" and will sacrifice user friendliness in favour of those ideals.

Hence the formulation of the joke. If you are new to Linux and are unable to configure Debian, you may instead choose Ubuntu. They have taken a inconsequential fact about the Ubuntu distro (it's naming based on an African word) and altered it to poke fun at the project goals, just like advanced users often ridicule beginners (or newbies) in many areas of proficiency.

UrbanDicionary.com - In their own words "A website with a brilliant concept that could have become great if it hadn't been overrun by a mob of losers, who spend their days trying to feel important and popular by insulting everything else on God's green earth."

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    I like to think of Urban Dictionary as a Mk1 of Wikipedia. – Marco Ceppi Aug 11 '10 at 15:42
  • Well put! I'd like to upvote more. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Feb 21 '11 at 8:51

Urban Dictionary isn't really a source for correct definitions - while "humorous", that's not really what it means.

What Ubuntu means has been well covered here: Ubuntu Stackexchange: What does "Ubuntu" mean? - Ubuntu was once considered a flavor of Debian and that's where it's roots are. Debian, in my opinion - back when Ubuntu came about - was more of a start towards desktop Linux and still had it's roots very much in Servers.

Ubuntu project took what Debian had going for it (Package Management, Philosophy, etc) and spearheaded on the "Linux for Humans" and not for servers campaign, and here we are today.


The joke is that, back then, GNU/Linux was "for uber-geeks only", and Ubuntu pushed to become the "newbie-friendly" distro. Nowadays, while you still shouldn't suggest Knoppix or Gentoo to your grandma, most distros have become much friendlier than before.


The term Ubuntu has been explained in this question What does “Ubuntu” mean?

Yes. Ubuntu is based on Debian. The packages used are to a high extend identical. Ubuntu has in contrast to Debian a regular release schedule, and is more focused on stability and the needs of end users. Debian has more freedom for experimental packages and is a very good distribution for developers.


Thought I would throw in this short clip of Nelson Mandela's definition of Ubuntu.

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