I'm new to the Linux world. I'm curious to know if the command line syntax is the same between Linux and Ubuntu?

  • Yes. Ubuntu is a Linux dsitribution, it uses the Linux Kernel.Commands only differ between distros using different package managers. Aug 1, 2011 at 20:24
  • 1
    It is not at all true that the only difference between distros is the package manager. Aug 1, 2011 at 21:39
  • Of course not i explicitly stated that Commands vary between distros,one example of this is using different package managers, that is you can't use apt-get on Pardus. Aug 2, 2011 at 3:31

3 Answers 3


Just to clarify:

  • Linux is the kernel that Ubuntu and many other distributions use.
  • Linux is not an operating system.
  • A Linux distribution is a set of software that includes an operating system as well as other utilities that make the operating system useful. (ie gnome)
  • Because they are different things, a distribution and a kernel are not comparable items.

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that uses the Linux kernel, the standard GNU toolkit and a whole lot of other free software stacked on top.

The command-line utilities are not provided by Linux. Most core utilities are provided by the GNU project. Some are specific to the distribution (eg apt-get is specific to Debian-based distros). The rest come from any number of other independent sources.

Depending on your definition of 'command-line structure', every GNU distribution uses the same 'command-link structure'. I would consider android, for instance, a Linux distribution but not an GNU distribution. Most Linux distributions adhere to the Linux Standard Base. This sets out the rules for where files go, and how things are structured (amongst other things).

On the other hand, you could also say that 'command-line structure' changes based on the shell that you use.


In Ubuntu the command line is managed by bash, the Bourne Again SHell, unless you change the default.

Its syntax is the same on every linux box, apart from version differences.

It is different if we talk about the system tools, that can have some little or big differences, for example in the field of package management.

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    This is true as far as it goes, but a lot of the "command line structure" is provided by the actual command executables, not by bash itself.
    – poolie
    Aug 1, 2011 at 22:51
  • use scsh and tell me you still believe that. 'command line structure' is too vague of a term to conclude that. scsh.net/about/what.html
    – user606723
    Aug 3, 2011 at 18:56

The simple answer is yes, the command line structure of Linux is the same as the command line structure of Ubuntu. "Linux" is often used, loosely, to refer to operating systems as a whole which are built around the Linux kernel; more accurate descriptions are more wordy.

Currently, Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution for personal computers. A default installation of Ubuntu includes all the commonly used command line tools for Linux-based operating systems, including the BASH shell and the full suite of GNU tools. If someone says, "Do this in Linux", it will almost certainly be something you can do in Ubuntu, and there's a good chance that Ubuntu was what they had in mind when they said "Linux".

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