MX Linux vs Ubuntu

MX Linux has quickly risen in popularity in recent years and is one of the most trending Linux distributions currently. Since most Linux users are very familiar with Ubuntu Linux already, it is common to use it as a base for comparison to other distros like MX Linux. Knowing how these two distributions stack up and compare to each other can lead users to a reliable conclusion about which one would be the best for their preferences and workflow.

The average user can get overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a Linux distribution to use, just because of the sheer number of choices available. It is common to dip a toe into the Linux pool by installing Ubuntu, before graduating to a different distribution that is more tailored to the individual needs of the user. Could MX Linux be the next step for you?

In this tutorial, we will compare MX Linux and Ubuntu across a few key areas and give a brief review of both distros. Read on to learn more about MX Linux and Ubuntu and how they compare. By the end of this article, you will be armed with enough information to choose the best distro for your needs.

Linux is not technically an operating system itself, but a kernel that serves as the foundation for a fully packaged operating system. Publishers can then package software on top of the kernel, and release it as a “Linux distribution.” When it comes to Ubuntu and MX Linux, we are simply seeing two different publisher’s approaches to what they choose to bundle on top of the Linux kernel.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • MX Linux and Ubuntu background information
  • MX Linux and Ubuntu similarities and differences
  • Which distro should I use, MX Linux or Ubuntu?
MX Linux vs Ubuntu
MX Linux vs Ubuntu
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System MX Linux or Ubuntu Linux
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Background Information

Ubuntu Linux
Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions, and has been for a long time. It is developed by Canonical and premiered in 2004. Since then, it has grown into the most recognizeable distribution, and the first choice for the majority of beginners, and many veteran users, too. On the other hand, MX Linux is relatively new, having debuted in 2014. It has caught the eye of the Linux community for its quick rise in popularity, and has many users wanting to play around with it and see what all the noise is about.

Ubuntu’s rise to fame can mostly be credited to its user friendliness. It was one of the first distributions that made it very easy to install and use Linux, regardless of your level of knowledge. It has held onto that title since then, and despite a few speed bumps along the way, Canonical has mostly catered to the needs and requests of its user base, and continued publishing a distribution that is suitable for all levels of users.

MX Linux is a conjoined effort between the antiX and now-defunct MEPIS Linux distro communities. It has built a reputation by being speedy, stable, and lightweight. MX does not include a lot of software out of the box, giving it a small footprint when compared to its ancestor or other Debian based distros like Ubuntu. This makes MX Linux very appealing to users that have been on Ubuntu for a while, and are now craving a distribution that is similar, but more advanced and efficient.

Similarities and Differences

MX Linux
MX Linux

It is important to note that both MX Linux and Ubuntu are based on the Debian Linux distribution, so they will act very similar in certain respects. One such example is that they both use the APT package manager for installing software from the command line. This can be a good thing for users that are migrating from one or the other, as the key aspects of both distros should not be too far off from each other. With that said, there are still some differences that you will notice in your day to day use:

User Friendliness: Ubuntu is very well known for being one of the easiest Linux distributions to use, even if you are brand new to the Linux world. MX Linux will probably come off as a little more intimidating to newcomers, but is well suited for those that have a little experience with Linux already.

Performance: One of the most important benchmarks for users is how well their operating system will perform. MX Linux definitely outshines Ubuntu in this category, as it comes with less software (or “bloat”) installed by default, and expects users to have enough knowledge to install any of the extras that they need. The default GUI for MX (Xfce) is also more lightweight than the default for Ubuntu (GNOME). Despite all this, Ubuntu can still perform very well on any modern hardware.

Interface: MX Linux and Ubuntu both offer the user a lot of customization options. However, Ubuntu provides a much more traditional desktop experience, whereas MX Linux feels more modern and customizable. If you are a power user that likes to customize lots of options, and prefer an operating system with a sleek and modern feel, you will probably find more of that with MX Linux. Ubuntu, however, can still be customized in all the same ways, but will take a little more tweaking out of the box.

Software: MX Linux comes with less software installed by default, while Ubuntu comes with all of the possible essentials that a user might need. Although they maintain separate software repositories, there is a lot of overlap between the two distros. Ubuntu has more than 50,000 packages that can be installed from the official repo, so it can be a more convenient choice for developers or those that love to tinker in different programs.

Support: It is hard to beat Ubuntu when it comes to the level of hardware support. Ubuntu can be installed on nearly any device and will work instantly, without the need to install or fiddle with a bunch of drivers. Ubuntu also has a lot more documentation online, thanks to its tenure in the spotlight and widespread use by different people all over the world. MX Linux also offers good hardware support, but there may be some additional steps required to get it working as intended on some systems. Although the documentation for MX is not as vast, users can usually follow a Debian or Ubuntu tutorial and the same steps will apply.

Which One Is Right for Me?

Down to the crucial question, “which distro should I use”?

If you have narrowed your choice down to Ubuntu or MX Linux, then the determining factor will probably be your needs and level of expertise. Users that are new to Linux will find Ubuntu to be the safer choice, because of its user friendliness and widespread documentation online. The huge repository of installable software also makes it alluring for users that want to install things without a fuss.

Power users or those that want to squeeze more performance our of their computer will find MX Linux to be a better option. It has a more lightweight design but also offers a more sleek and customizable interface out of the box. Users that crave more control over their desktop experience will find that MX Linux caters to their needs a lot better than Ubuntu.

Closing Thoughts

In this tutorial, we compared MX Linux and Ubuntu across key areas to help readers determine the best Linux distribution for their needs. Both distributions have their strengths and weaknesses, with Ubuntu being ideal for newer users, and MX Linux being the better choice for advanced users that want more customization. The final choice will depend on a user’s individual needs and preferences, but this tutorial should help you understand the key differences and make an informed decision.

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