I know how to pronounce Ubuntu but I don't know how to pronounce Xubuntu (which I'm currently enjoying). Should it be

  • 'zoo'-buntu or
  • 'eks'-ubuntu or
  • something else ?

(Similarly 'loo'-buntu or 'el'-ubuntu, 'koo'-buntu or 'kay'-ubuntu?)

Maybe this is just a matter of opinion (unlike for the real preexisting word ubuntu), but I want to get it right if there is a right way.

  • 4
    I tend to pronounce it as kʰoobuntu because of the Chi (I'm basied by my field of study...) and then Koobuntu, with a non-aspired K. But sometimes, depending whom I am talking to, I use ksoobuntu (without the "e" at the beginning, like in "xylitol", there is no "e" there) and Kayoobuntu. I never use eksubuntu (because there is no "e" there) or zoobuntu (that would be the pronunciation of Zubuntu) – dadexix86 May 30 '16 at 8:08
  • 3
    Here's a guide for all: imgur.com/gallery/QrT64rO – user423626 May 30 '16 at 8:13
  • 9
    Since "Ubuntu" is a Bantu word, I like to have some fun and pronounce "Xubuntu" with a click like the X in Xhosa: /ǁubuntu/ – wjandrea May 30 '16 at 16:27
  • 3
    @wjandrea that's my favourite suggestion :-) – Zanna May 30 '16 at 16:55
  • 8
    You mean it's not pronounced "Ten Ubuntu"? I've been saying it wrong. – 200_success May 30 '16 at 18:45

The first one... Zoo-buntu!

That's how it's described here:

Xubuntu (Pronounced: /zù'búntú/) is an official Ubuntu-based operating system.

Lubuntu = Loo-buntu

Kubuntu = Koo-buntu, though I always seem to pronounce it as more of a Kuh sound.

  • 3
    Looks good, thanks a lot; now when I attend a linux-y meetup and am asked 'so what are you running?' I can reply without fear :) – Zanna May 30 '16 at 8:22
  • 1
    So, there will never be a Zubuntu variant then. – Mr Lister May 31 '16 at 8:13
  • @MrLister it'll be confusing if there is, but never say never! – Arronical May 31 '16 at 8:19
  • 2
    You might be happy to know I actually met an employee of Canonical at an event and she asked me, "Are you using Ubuntu?" and I said, confidently, "I'm using Zoo-buntu" and just to be sure added "Am I saying it right?", and she said "Yeah that's it." – Zanna Jul 25 '16 at 14:11
  • 1
    @Zanna good times. I tend to have too great a sense of humour bias towards the absurd, and in your position would've done an X symbol with my arms, like Xzibit did in some early 2000s rap video. This is why I'm not allowed to go to events... at least not without a chaperone. – Arronical Jul 25 '16 at 14:17

Pragmatic answer: don't forget that these distros are used by people whose native language isn't English... any pronunciation which is not ambiguous/misleading for your audience is fine. Your audience should be able to infer the spelling from your pronunciation. Pronounce "Zoo-buntu" in front of French people and they will google for Zubuntu after the meeting...

  • Welcome to the community! You seem skeptic writing this answer, though. – EKons May 30 '16 at 10:28
  • 5
    Thanks for the welcome. Actually tested this at lunch, with people that know about Linux but aren't familiar with the distros in general and even less so with the Ubuntu variants. The only person who would consider that "zooboontoo" could start with an X was the native English speaker, and that was after trying with a "Z". In how many languages is "X" pronounced like "Z" at the beginning of words? And what percentage of Linux users do they cover? – xenoid May 30 '16 at 21:35
  • Yes, I would never have thought of "zoo-boon-too" as the spelling of Xubuntu. I grew up with German, and learned French and English later. – user258532 May 30 '16 at 22:20
  • @user258532 I thought it was "ksubundu" ("nt" in Greek is pronounced as "d" or "nd", I thought that "eksubundu" minus the "e" to make it one work was "ksubundu" before realizing it was "zubundu"). – EKons May 31 '16 at 7:46
  • +1 for the same would occur with a Portuguese speaking audicence, which would probably pronounce what would sound shooboontoo in English. – Marcelo Ventura May 31 '16 at 18:39

Concerning Xubuntu, I go for ksoo-buntu...

My suggestion for Kubuntu would be Q-buntu. I pronounce Lubuntu as loo-buntu (with a short oo, unlike the toilet).

  • 2
    It's not "short oo", it's something like "u (oo)" I think. – EKons May 30 '16 at 9:02

In contrast to the other answer, I call them by the letter then Ubuntu, so based on your examples




This is the correct way to pronounce them IMO because the names are based on the desktops they use, they are

'eks' FCE

'el' XDE

'kay' DE

Respectively, people can call them what ever they like but looking at where the names come from, this seems the correct way.

  • 4
    +1 for good logic, even if other sources disagree, I will be better prepared to argue it out in the pub... – Zanna May 30 '16 at 8:28
  • To counter my own position on this, I guess you could argue that 'eks'-ubuntu should by hyphenated ie X-Ubuntu, with out that it is all one word and would be zoo-buntu, I need to stop thinking about this :/ – Mark Kirby May 30 '16 at 9:50
  • That's what I thought too, since it's not hyphenated it should be fused. Sorry for messing with your head haha – Zanna May 30 '16 at 10:09
  • Also on there website the U in Ubuntu is not capitalized, it is Xubuntu not XUbuntu, I guess this all so backs up zoo-buntu as the correct pronunciation. I am still going to use eks-ubuntu though, just because I think it sounds better :) – Mark Kirby May 30 '16 at 10:12
  • 2
    Applying “good logic” is a bit hopeless though, if the topic is software names. Gnome is pronounced /nəʊm/ though its name derives from GTK which is the acronym for Gimp ToolKit, where Gimp is in turn short for GNU Image Manipulation Program, which I won't get started about lest I get trapped in an infinite loop... – leftaroundabout Aug 4 '16 at 22:20



Note: On [1], please "Disable SSL Protection" in order to see poll results more clearly. Alternatively, click here[1].

From [1] (Ubuntu Forums) (SSL) (emphasis mine):

[This is an active poll, so I cannot do exact quoting]

[Note that even if the last answer is from 2007, these can change any time]

201 voters

  • shoo-BOON-too: 15 (7.46%)
  • ksoo-BOON-too: 51 (25.37%)
  • ECKS-oo-BOON-too: 76 (37.81%)
  • shuh-BUN-too: 9 (4.48%)
  • KSYOO-boon-too: 3 (1.49%)
  • ksuh-boon-TOO: 20 (9.95%)

[Stupid ones]

  • tsongas-HOO: 0 (0%)
  • SKOO-bee-DOO: 7 (3.48%)
  • SPORK-for-TOO: 3 (1.49%)
  • BOO-tros-BOO-tros-GAH-lee: 17 (8.46%)

This confirms "exu-buntu" is correct.

From [2] (Wikia:Linux) (emphasis mine):

Xubuntu (Pronounced: /zù'búntú/) is an official Ubuntu-based operating system.

This confirms "zu-buntu" is correct.

From [3] (English Wikipedia) (SSL) (emphasis mine) ("special" links removed):

Xubuntu (/zuːˈbuːntuː/ zoo-BOON-too) is a Canonical Ltd.–recognized, community-maintained derivative of the Ubuntu operating system.

This, again, confirms that "zu-buntu" is correct.


From these sources, we can conclude that:

  • "exu-buntu" has got 1 vote
  • "zu-buntu" has got 2 votes—Winner

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