I'm not 100% clear on the relationship between Ubuntu and Debian. It seems like Ubuntu is (or was, at some point) some sort of fork of Debian; and that they share the same package manager (Ubuntu uses the unstable something and Debian uses the release or stable thing).

My question: there was a new version of Debian published yesterday (Debian 9 as it so happens). Will the next version(s) of Ubuntu be updated to use something from Debian 9?

Or are the two distros pretty much independent now?


Open source often uses the analogy of a river/stream - in that there are upstream projects, which can flow down to those downstream.

Linux (kernel) is upstream of Debian, as it is of GNOME project, KDE project etc.

Debian is upstream of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is BASED on debian-testing, though it'll likely include parts of debian-unstable as well.

Linux Mint is further downstream that Ubuntu, as it uses Ubuntu as its base.

Yes, future versions of Ubuntu will reflect changes being made currently in debian-testing or debian-unstable, but a Debian release has NO impact on Ubuntu really, mainly because the relevant changes have already made it into Ubuntu.

Example: MATE desktop maintainer for debian is Martin Wimpress. He's also the (head-)maintainer for Ubuntu MATE. Martin makes changes for Ubuntu, I've heard him say, by making them in Debian, and they make their way into Ubuntu anyway. It saves him heaps of work with almost no duplication. (Ubuntu-MATE & Debian with MATE desktop are not identical; Ubuntu MATE contains a few extra things only in Ubuntu MATE).

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  • my source for Martin Wimpress would most likely be the Ubuntu Podcast (for the UK LoCO), but I have no idea which episode, and too lazy to look – guiverc Jun 22 '17 at 9:37

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