Ubuntu just celebrated the 10th anniversary with release of Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn. Ubuntu has been the most famous desktop Linux distro. The first Ubuntu versino was launched in 2004 by Canonical. Ubuntu is based on Debian Linux distro. It is important that we revise the changes that has been made in Debian in past 10 years vs the changes in Ubuntu since it’s first version. Let’s take a look at the 10 year history of Linux distro king.
The first version of Ubuntu was quite ugly. It had brown themed UI and it was nothing but a replica of Debian. Development team behind Ubuntu was only focusing on making the installation process easier as installing Debian was skillful task. Ubuntu’s first version 4.10 was named as Warty Warthog. The text based installer represented all the essential information about Linux to new users. Navigation through the installation process was quite easier as compared to traditional Linux desktop distros. Back in 2004, Debian was not so famous. Users preferred Mandrake Linux over debian back then!
For next few releases, Ubuntu was focused on bringing latest software packages to the platform, default setup in distro was made more user-friendly. However it seemed more like default setup of GNOME or KDE with different themes. Ubuntu was improving the quality and ease of its installer. User-friendly installation process attracted more users to try this new Linux based OS. Ubuntu featured graphical installer whereas, most other distros like OpenSUSE had confusing text installer.
Then Ubuntu integrated Wubi in the OS, which enabled users to install the distro in dual-boot way. Users could use Windows Boot Manager and easily switch between Windows and Ubuntu. It was integrated in Windows system, which could be easily removed using Add or remove programs tool in Windows. So this was not the best solution for long term usage. Ubuntu removed Wubi in next few releases.
Ubuntu’s focus was to bring long term supported open source OS to end users. Hence, team Ubuntu came out with Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Long Term Release). LTS supported for long term as compared to normal releases. With LTS, users didn’t have to upgrade the whole system every six month. This ensured the stability and durability to users. It made Ubuntu much more attractive as compared to other desktop distros. Ubuntu started adding unique user-friendly features such as easy to use panel to install and manage proprietary drivers. Besides all these small changes, it looked much like Debian. The big UI change was brought in the picture with the release of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. It had a new theme, it changed lot of visuals and features and most importantly, 10.04 brought Ubuntu Software Center in picture. This was a biggest change that attracted more and more users towards Ubuntu.
While many distress had repositories in their systems, Ubuntu replaced them with Personal Package Archives (PPAs). This enabled end users to manage and add new repositories very easily. Developers were now able to operate PPAs which users can install. Updating new versions of apps became lot more easier with PPAs. With release of Ubuntu 11.04, team replaced GNOME Shell with Unity desktop environment. This was first major change to the UX of Ubuntu.
Ubuntu proved its uniqueness than Debian with the brand new UX. Ubuntu is also working on Ubuntu for Devices which is going to be its mobile OS. The Ubuntu Touch will bring lot of new features of desktop distro to mobile platform. Canonical has great vision of having standard platform for open source desktop as well as mobile users.
4. Dependent OS
It seems like Ubuntu is lot more different than Debian but there is one basic thing that hasn’t changed and it is important of all, that is, packages. Most of the packages that Ubuntu runs are from Debian’s unstable repositories. Ubuntu cannot differentiate itself from Debian until they remove Debian from the core of Ubuntu. Better yet, the UX (user experience) between Debian and Ubuntu is dramatically different.
It is important for you to decide what suits your use case. If you are a pro Linux user and you like vanilla system then Debian is good for you. Otherwise, Ubuntu is always the best bet due to its user friendly yet attractive UI and easy-to-use features.