Ubuntu vs MX Linux: Similarities & Differences!

Logo sources: MX Linux, Ubuntu

In this article let’s have a look at 2 very popular Linux distros Ubuntu and MX Linux and see in which areas they are similar to each other and in which areas they are different so that you can choose one that best suit your needs!

For those of you in a hurry, here is the short version of the answer.

The Short Version Of The Answer

The table below shows the similarities and differences between Ubuntu and MX Linux.

Ubuntu MX Linux
Organization Name Canonical Ltd Community of MX: former MEPIS users in collaboration with antiX Community (M for MEPIS and X for antiX!)
Expertise Level Needed Beginner Beginner
Based On Debian Debian
Target use cases General purpose, best suited for programming, workstation and students General purpose, best suited for use in a workstation and use as a USB persistent portable distro
Software Support A large collection of software in the official repo, most software vendors who support Linux will release packages for Ubuntu. A large collection of software in the official repo.
Hardware Support Good support for 3rd party proprietary driver software Same as Ubuntu
Hardware Resource Needs Middleweight Middleweight
Support & Ease of use Very easy, good online community support Good only community, but not as good as Ubuntu
Stability & Release Cycles Very stable, Fixed release cycle Very stable, Fixed release cycle

That is just the short version of the answer, let’s go ahead and look at the longer and more informative version and learn more about these 2 distros.

The Linux Distributions World

The word Distro is short for Distribution. Since the Linux source code is open for everyone to see, large communities started evolving to bring together Operating Systems suited towards specific needs/goals.

These “specific needs/goals” include, but not limited to the following.

  • producing documents
  • writing programs and creating software
  • editing pictures, videos, audio and multimedia-production related works
  • store sensitive information by securing the operating system so that no one can hack into it or
  • just browse the internet and consume media.

Say a community of people just wanted to browse the internet with their computers, then there is no point giving them the software to write programs in. Thus since every community’s needs and goals were different these communities started distributing built images of this operating system with all the essential tools installed. These prebuilt images are called distros!

If you wish to know more about the reason behind the presence of so many choices in the Linux World, I suggest reading the article given below.

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

The Main Factors of Comparison

The factors mentioned above are just a small list of 100s of factors that differentiate distros. If you are either switching from some other OS to Linux or you are in the process of choosing your next Linux distro and you are confused which one to choose, you need to have a look at these top 5 decision-making factors

  • Factor#1: Good Match with your Particular use-case
  • Factor#2: Support for your favourite software
  • Factor#3: Hardware Support and Proprietary Driver Support
  • Factor#4: Your level of expertise in Linux
  • Factor#5: Hardware Resource Needs

I have written a separate article explaining these factors which you can find in the link below

Top 5 Factors To Choose Between Linux Distros!

Let’s have a look at each of these important factors and see how MX Linux and Ubuntu compare against each other.

Factor#1: Good Match with your Particular use-case

By use-case, I mean the type of work you are going to be doing
on your computer. Linux distro world originated because of the difference in use cases. MX Linux’s goal is wildly different from that of Ubuntu’s.

Let’s have a brief comparison between MX Linux and Ubuntu in terms of goals, target users and best use cases to employ these distros.

MX Linux Ubuntu
Goal To be an easy to install Debian derivative with USB persistence To be the best desktop/laptop operating system for beginners
Target users Linux Beginners who wish to go as pure Debian as possible, but need an easy to install and already tweaked system. Linux beginners who want an easy to install and stable system.
Best Use Cases to Employ the Distro
  • USB persistence lets you carry around all your OS and apps and files in a USB to help you take it anywhere you need it to!
  • As a workstation as MX Linux is based on Debian Stable branch!
  • Programming (many IDE vendors support this distro)
  • Studies
  • As a workstation

Factor#2: Support for your favourite software

If your main work involves some specific software or latest versions of a given software then that becomes a decision-making factor for choosing a Linux Distribution. So before fixing on a given distro, be sure to google if that distro has official support for your main software needs.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

  • Out of the Box support: The software that the distro ships with.
  • Repository Support: The curated software that is available on the official repos
  • Type of release cycle: This decides the trade-off between up-to-date software and stable tested software.
  • Availability of Graphical Software managers
  • Package manager used: This can decide the ease of which you can install and uninstall software

Let’s see how Ubuntu and MX Linux fair up against each other in this category

MX Linux Ubuntu
Out of the Box Software The regular version comes with all the basic tools needed. The regular version comes with all the basic tools needed.
Repository Support Solid repository support as this distro is based on Debian Little better than MX Linux as many software vendors also support Ubuntu
Type of release cycle Fixed release cycle Fixed release cycle
GUI Tools MX Package installer GUI tool available Ubuntu software centre available
Package manager used APT APT and SNAP

Refer to the article below if you wish to learn more about package managers.

A Beginners Introduction To Linux Package managers: apt, yum, dpkg & rpm

Factor#3: Hardware Support and Proprietary Driver Support

Not all Linux distros support proprietary drivers officially. Depending on your computer’s hardware, you may or may not have open-source driver support from the manufacturers. This is especially true for hardware such as graphics cards and network cards. Hence it is a good idea to take “driver support” into consideration while choosing your next distro.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

  • Distro’s Policy of use of opensource vs proprietary 3rd party software
  • Official driver support by Major Companies
  • 3rd party driver support from official repos
  • Support for older hardware

Let’s see how Ubuntu and MX Linux fair up against each other in this category

MX Linux Ubuntu
Distro’s Policy User-oriented distro, so includes some proprietary software out of the box Defaults to open source software, but 3rd party software can be chosen at install time
Official driver support by Major Companies Not as good as Ubuntu, but most companies release Debian Packages and MX Linux benefit from that! Many companies support and release packages for Ubuntu
3rd party driver support Available Available
Support for older hardware Supports both 32 and 64-bit processors and has good driver support for older hardware like network cards and graphics cards.

Also supports automatic hardware detection!

Ubuntu has dropped support for 32bit processors.

Refer to the article below if you wish to have a look at some of the top distros in terms of hardware support.

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: A Comparison!!

Factor#4: Your level of expertise in Linux

Depending on your level of expertise in Linux, the choice of distro you need will vary. This is because of the following factors

  • Ease of use: beginner, intermediate, expert
  • Paid customer support: available, not available
  • Online community support: great, good, okay, not good, no support
  • Available Documentation: Great documentation, Good documentation, Okay documentation, no documentation

Let’s see how Ubuntu and MX Linux fair up against each other in this category

MX Linux Ubuntu
Ease of Use Beginner beginner
Paid Customer Support Not available Available
Online Community Support good great
Documentation Okay documentation Good documentation

Factor#5: Hardware Resource Needs

This is an important factor if you are planning to employ Linux on a computer with limited hardware resources. This may be an old machine or a new one with less than stellar specs.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

  • Category: Lightweight or Middleweight or Heavyweight
  • RAM Requirements to have a snappy system &
  • Minimum processor requirements

Let’s see how Ubuntu and MX Linux fair up against each other in this category

MX Linux Ubuntu
Category Middleweight Middleweight
Minimum RAM requirements 1GB 4GB
Minimum Processor Requirements A modern i686 Intel or AMD processor 2GHz dual-core processor

Refer to the article below if you wish to have a look at a step by step guide for choosing a Linux distro for your computer’s specifications.

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

Summary

To summarise the article here is the comparison table from the beginning of the blog again.

Ubuntu MX Linux
Organization Name Canonical Ltd Community of MX: former MEPIS users in collaboration with antiX Community (M for MEPIS and X for antiX!)
Expertise Level Needed Beginner Beginner
Based On Debian Debian
Target use cases General purpose, best suited for programming, work-station and students General purpose, best suited for use in a workstation and use as a USB persistent portable distro
Software Support A large collection of software in the official repo, most software vendors who support Linux will release packages for Ubuntu. A large collection of software in the official repo.
Hardware Support Good support for 3rd party proprietary driver software Same as Ubuntu
Hardware Resource Needs Middleweight Middleweight
Support & Ease of use Very easy, good online community support Good only community, but not as good as Ubuntu
Stability & Release Cycles Very stable, Fixed release cycle Very stable, Fixed release cycle

Hope you have got enough data to choose between these 2 amazing distros!

And with that, I will conclude this article!

I hope you guys enjoyed this article and learned something useful.

If you liked the post, feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues!

Related Articles

Here are some of my other articles that might interest you!

A Step By Step Plan To Learn Linux..!

Best Linux Distro For Workstation: Analysis and Comparison!!

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: An Analysis.!!

Distro-Hopping, What, Why & How Explained!

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

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