I sometimes see the expression of Vanilla Ubuntu but I cannot find what it means.

What kind of version of Ubuntu is Vanilla Ubuntu?

  • 12
    None of the answers say it specifically, but "vanilla" is just a slang word for "standard". It has nothing to do with Ubuntu (except that there is a standard Ubuntu). Jan 16, 2012 at 1:35

5 Answers 5


"Ubuntu" - is Vanilla Ubuntu.

Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Mint are all derivatives of this. However, in their own right, they are Vanilla too.

If you want to be extremely technical, Vanilla Ubuntu is a fresh install with no extra packages installed and no changes made.

In a broader sense, Vanilla Ubuntu can refer to Ubuntu (the OS) as opposed to any derived OS, or to Ubuntu (the OS) with any of the officially supported Desktops (KDE, LXDE or XFCE), but without any third party software (that is, software from a source other than the official repositories.

Vanilla Ubuntu cannot refer to:

  • Ubuntu with all proprietary or closed source components removed (like GNUSense).
    • This is a derivative, and also consists of removing packages and keeping a strict rule of free software only.
  • A remaster of any kind.
  • Ubuntu with a customized UI (at the code level).
    • Customizing at the code level invalidates the "Vanilla nature" of the OS.

It is a colloquial term to differentiate Ubuntu as released or officially supported by Canonical and other distros that use Ubuntu as its base - for example Linux Mint.

On Ask Ubuntu we usually require questions to be about Canonical approved versions of Ubuntu - Lubuntu/Xubuntu/Kubuntu and others as described in the Tag Wiki.

Other non "vanilla ubuntu" variants are usually migrated to Unix & Linux Stack-overflow.


As others have mentioned Vanilla Ubuntu is just the 'just out of the box' version of Ubuntu. It's really just a special case of "Vanilla __" which in general is used to describe the most basic unmodified version of whatever it is that is being discussed. There is a very short article on Wikipedia related to this.


"Vanilla Ubuntu" is basically slang for regular Ubuntu, using the Unity interface and unmodified in any way. It does not represent its own specialized version.


Vanilla Ubuntu as said before, is Ubuntu as supplied by Canonical using the default desktop (Unity) and the default repositories.

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