Open-source Linux distros are always fighting it out for the top spot. Nonetheless, there is an ongoing discussion about the clear winner, considering that some of the best distros are aiming to reach the pinnacles of success in the world of open-source distributions.
Various surveys have rated Arch Linux and Ubuntu as two of the best distros for getting the job done. Nevertheless, it is not suitable to assume why engineers and coders vary in their views about these two distros.
To assimilate the available options, it’s best to delve deeper and see what makes these distros the best in their domains.
1. Origins and Release Models
Arch Linux was launched in March 2002 by Judd Vinet. He developed Arch Linux’s source code solely and has initiated and updated the distro with community participation over the years.
Arch does not borrow any source code from its predecessors, unlike some other contemporary, lightweight distros.
Arch Linux offers users regular updates in the form of rolling releases. Hence, this distro has matured on top of the same source code repository, while supporting contemporary versions of applications, drivers, etc.
Users can continually update the kernel to enjoy LTS or the latest versions while steering clear of challenges.
Canonical Ltd. developed Ubuntu way back in 2004. Deriving its roots from Debian, Ubuntu is one of the earliest Linux distros; despite decades under its belt, it continues to be one of the top contenders in the market.
The distribution introduced modular installations by permitting users to customize components during the OS installation.
Ubuntu works on a point release model, which occurs as half-yearly, discrete updates. These updates continuously improve Ubuntu’s performance, compatibility, and functionality.
Ubuntu’s customizations allow users to pick and choose kernels, desktop environments, third-party applications, and much more.
2. Package Management
Arch Linux is a rolling release distro that uses the Pacman package manager in the best possible manner.
Pacman’s reliable and straightforward build system makes package installation and management a breeze. This holds true for all third-party packages and not just packages from Arch’s official repository.
Arch master server’s service synchronizes the package lists aptly, as you can access each package’s dependencies by default.
Arch only supports CLI-based package installations; the dev team doesn’t offer any GUI alternative, unfortunately.
Ubuntu provides great benefits via its Advanced Package Tool (APT), thereby paving the way for easy usage and seamless installation procedures.
Today, the package manager offers over 1,48,000 repository and third-party packages for various uses. One can expect separate releases for amd64 and i386 processor builds.
Users don’t need to remember the package names, as APT can filter packages via keyword searches to ease the search process.
The Ubuntu repository mainly supports open-source, compatible software. A few paid software applications—supported by in-house developers—are available for execution on Linux systems.
3. Third-Party Packages
As a user, you can download packages using Pacman by typing the following command in a terminal:
sudo pacman -S package
Users who are not familiar with these commands can resort to AUR to avail the available packages within the Arch official repository.
The Arch User Repository or AUR helps users swim through the ever-expanding ocean of third-party software packages.
You can extend the list of packages on your system using the AUR, as Arch Linux supports them individually. You can rely on AUR’s extensive list of options, even while using other Arch-based distros, including Artix and Manjaro.
On Ubuntu, users can directly download and install packages using APT.
sudo apt-get install packagename
Alternatively, you can download third-party packages manually from the Snap Store. Ubuntu’s Snap Store houses packages like any other premium platform store. The developer takes care of the package categorization to expedite direct installation.
4. Software Updates
Arch Linux requires you to manually update obsolete packages to their latest repository versions. Use the command below to update packages on Arch:
sudo pacman -Syu
In addition to the official Arch repository, the AUR is a more expansive and community-trusted library for installing third-party software. You can download and install packages from the AUR using an AUR helper like Yay.
The GUI Software Manager app on Ubuntu recently streamlined application management. The latest releases and detailed lists of dev-tested, compatible software are available in the recent versions.
However, all versions released after 20.0.4 use the Snap Store as the default source for software releases and package updates. The default options are enabled as PPAs, and DEB packages; however, these usually create dependency issues and security challenges with their direct root privileges.
The Snap Store circumvents this with dependency checks and commits installations and updates to the following location:
5. Performance, UX, and Support
Arch is hugely popular among developers and multimedia professionals. Its stable performance in every supported desktop environment paves the way for stability and sustained usage.
The AUR gives you access to a host of tools for benchmarking processing speed, internet performance, hard disk management, and more.
Although Arch doesn’t come with a desktop environment out of the box, you have the choice to install any desktop or window manager on your system. Arch’s desktop features a neat but largely customizable theme, especially if you choose KDE Plasma.
Rest assured, the distribution has a steady developer and community support, just like Ubuntu.
Ubuntu has continued to offer a steady performance routine within 20.0.4 and beyond.
The distro offers smooth performance for multimedia processing with advanced computer gaming capabilities. Its advanced fractional scaling, tri-color scheme, and customizable dock give users a UI reminiscent of Mac systems. The difference is only noticeable to those familiar with a macOS-style UX.
The enhancements update whenever new Ubuntu LTS updates are released. Nevertheless, the LTS prevents users from using the latest software features after installation.
Arch Linux vs. Ubuntu: Which One Is Better?
Indeed, Linux is responsible for empowering home computing, along with advanced real-time enterprise-grade systems. The most pertinent question is: which distro is most efficient for programming and software development in the situation?
Arch is suitable for advanced users but is not a favored distro for novices. On the other hand, Ubuntu is an out-of-the-box, general-purpose distro ideal for basic, home laptop/PC uses and managing enterprise servers.
It’s appropriate to say that both the distros rank well in the users’ eyes. Depending on your distro needs, you can choose the one that best meets your immediate requirements.
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