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Ubuntu vs. Xubuntu: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 9, 2023
Ubuntu is a popular Linux distribution with a GNOME desktop environment, while Xubuntu is a variant using the lightweight XFCE desktop.

Key Differences

Ubuntu is a user-friendly Linux distribution based on Debian, known for its regular updates and strong community support. Xubuntu, on the other hand, is a variant of Ubuntu that uses the XFCE desktop environment, offering a lighter and faster experience.
Ubuntu comes with the GNOME desktop environment by default, providing a modern and intuitive interface. Xubuntu, in contrast, opts for the XFCE environment, which is more resource-efficient and suitable for older or less powerful hardware.
The software repositories for Ubuntu and Xubuntu are largely the same, ensuring access to a vast array of applications. However, Xubuntu includes XFCE-specific applications and tools, differing slightly in its default software selection.
Ubuntu is known for its focus on ease of use and accessibility, making it a popular choice for beginners. Xubuntu, while also user-friendly, is particularly favored by those seeking a lightweight alternative without compromising on functionality.
In terms of system requirements, Ubuntu demands more in terms of CPU and RAM, suited for modern systems. Xubuntu, with its lighter footprint, is an excellent choice for extending the life of older computers.

Comparison Chart

Desktop Environment


Target Hardware

Modern, higher-spec systems
Older, lower-spec systems

Resource Usage

Higher (more CPU and RAM intensive)
Lower (more efficient use of resources)

User Interface

Modern and intuitive
Classic and customizable

Typical Use Case

General use, beginners
Efficiency, older hardware

Ubuntu and Xubuntu Definitions


An open-source OS featuring regular updates and strong community support.
Ubuntu's latest release features improved security updates.


A lightweight version of Ubuntu using the XFCE desktop environment.
Xubuntu runs efficiently on his older desktop, giving it a new lease on life.


A Linux operating system based on Debian, known for ease of use.
She installed Ubuntu on her laptop for a stable and user-friendly experience.


Ideal for users seeking a minimalist yet functional desktop experience.
He chose Xubuntu for its clean and uncluttered desktop environment.


Ubuntu primarily utilizes the GNOME desktop environment.
Ubuntu's GNOME interface offers a sleek and modern user experience.


Maintains Ubuntu's vast software repository with a focus on lightweight applications.
Xubuntu allowed her to access all her favorite applications without overloading her system.


Known for comprehensive software repositories and compatibility.
Ubuntu provides a vast array of applications through its software center.


Combines the Ubuntu base with XFCE's simplicity and speed.
Xubuntu offers a balance of Ubuntu's robustness and XFCE's efficiency.


Designed for both beginners and experienced users, focusing on accessibility.
Ubuntu's accessibility features make it a preferred choice for diverse users.


Tailored for performance on low-resource hardware, maintaining Ubuntu's core features.
Xubuntu's performance on her low-end laptop was impressively smooth.


A philosophical doctrine or approach to life that emphasizes social unity and generosity of spirit.


(South Africa) A Nguni Bantu ideology focusing on people's allegiances and relations with each other.


What is Ubuntu?

A user-friendly Linux distribution based on Debian, with GNOME as its default desktop.

Is Xubuntu a good choice for older computers?

Yes, its low resource requirement makes it ideal for extending the lifespan of older hardware.

What makes Xubuntu different in terms of interface?

Xubuntu uses the XFCE environment, which is more lightweight and customizable.

How does Ubuntu differ from Xubuntu in performance?

Ubuntu is more resource-intensive, suitable for newer hardware, while Xubuntu is optimized for older or less powerful systems.

What is Xubuntu?

A variant of Ubuntu, using the XFCE desktop environment for a lighter experience.

Is Ubuntu suitable for beginners?

Absolutely, Ubuntu is designed to be accessible and easy for beginners.

What desktop environment does Ubuntu use?

Ubuntu uses the GNOME desktop environment.

Are there different software selections between Ubuntu and Xubuntu?

While the core software is similar, Xubuntu includes XFCE-specific tools and applications.

Can Xubuntu run the same applications as Ubuntu?

Yes, both share the same software repositories, although Xubuntu favors lighter applications.

Can I switch from Ubuntu to Xubuntu easily?

Yes, transitioning between the two is relatively straightforward due to their shared base.

How do I decide between Ubuntu and Xubuntu?

Consider your hardware specifications and preference for desktop environments.

Do Ubuntu and Xubuntu receive updates at the same time?

Generally, yes, as they are part of the same family of distributions.

Can Ubuntu run on low-spec hardware as well as Xubuntu?

It can, but Xubuntu is more optimized for such scenarios.

Are both Ubuntu and Xubuntu secure?

Yes, both distributions prioritize security and receive regular updates.

Does Xubuntu have a different installation process than Ubuntu?

The installation processes are similar, with user-friendly graphical installers.

How user-friendly is Xubuntu compared to Ubuntu?

Xubuntu is user-friendly, though its interface is more classic and less intuitive than Ubuntu's.

Which has a more modern look, Ubuntu or Xubuntu?

Ubuntu, with its GNOME desktop, offers a more modern and sleek interface.

Is Xubuntu's performance faster than Ubuntu's?

Yes, especially on systems with limited hardware capabilities.

Is customization easier in Ubuntu or Xubuntu?

Xubuntu offers more customization options due to its lightweight XFCE environment.

Are there any cost implications for using Ubuntu or Xubuntu?

Both are free and open-source, with no cost for downloading or using.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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