Arch Linux vs. Ubuntu: What’s The Difference?

Arch Linux vs. Ubuntu

Arch Linux vs. Ubuntu: What’s The Difference?

Arch Linux and Ubuntu are two highly-rated open-source Linux distributions. The two operating systems have their benefits, making it hard to pick between Arch vs. Ubuntu. These operating systems differ in many ways, from the installation process, target users, compatibility with hardware and packages, update release schedules, audio servers, file systems, user experience, and stability.

To find the better Linux distro, we must pit Arch Linux and Ubuntu against each other and see which is superior. How exactly do they differ, and which one should you use? Please stick with us to find out. 

Arch Linux vs. Ubuntu: Side-By-Side Comparison

Arch LinuxUbuntu
Installation processComplex (uses a command-line installation tool)Simple (uses a GUI)
Target users Small businesses in need of customizable OSHome-computer users in need of a simple operating system
Hardware compatibilityx64-bit and x86 processorsAll desktop versions including x64-bit and x86 processors
Package installation and managementPacman Package ManagerAdvanced Package Tool (APT)
Updates release scheduleRolling-release update scheduleLong-term update release schedule
Community supportArchWikiAsk Ubuntu Website
Audio servers supportedPulseAudio, PipewirePulseAudio
File systemsxfs, ext4, f2fs, and btrfs.ext4
Arch Linux vs. Ubuntu

Homepage of Ubuntu website on the display of PC.

©Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock.com

What is Arch Linux?

Released in 2002, Arch Linux is a simple, general-purpose Linux distribution with impeccable customization support. The operating system is perfect for users who like complete control over their systems, and it is free and open-source.

Arch Linux is perfect for small businesses, and its rolling release distribution ensures that its users always use the latest version of the Linux distribution. A community of users developed Arch Linux, and with its frequent maintenance, the operating system is highly trusted by its users. With its ample customization support, you can even control how packages are installed into your device, showing how versatile Arch Linux can get. 

What is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is a free and modernized Linux distribution released in 2004. This open-source operating system is based on Debian and is the most popular Linux distribution. Ubuntu is mainly meant for personal desktop use but can still work well in public computers and data stations. However, for the best results, use Ubuntu for your home computer or if you run a small business.

The latest Ubuntu release is 22.10 (Kinetic Kudu). This impeccable operating system is backed up by Canonical, a renowned software firm. The operating system offers some advanced security features. Regarding compatibility, Ubuntu works with most devices and systems, from computers to servers and Robots. You can also install this operating system on your Mac computer, which will work perfectly.

Arch vs. Ubuntu: What’s The Difference?

Arch Linux and Ubuntu are suited for different types of users. So how do these competing operating systems differ from each other? Let’s find out.

Installation Process

Ubuntu features a straightforward installation process. Its Graphical User Interface (GUI) ensures that you easily install the system on your desktop, as the instructions are displayed on your screen. If you intend to use an Ubuntu server, you can still install a GUI for a more straightforward installation process. Tech-savvy or not, Ubuntu is an easy operating system to install.

Arch Linux, on the other hand, uses a terminal in installation. A terminal is a command-line-based installation tool where the user can choose from the options available on the screen, with each option having its meaning and effect on the system. 

Arch Linux currently comes with a guided installer, making the process easier. However, if we compare its installation process with that of Ubuntu, there still is a fine line between the two, and Ubuntu is the obvious winner in this category.

Users Targeted

Ubuntu and Arch Linux are Linux distributions, but they target different users. Arch Linux offers a DIY experience in that the system is customizable. Arch Linux will suit you if you are looking for a customizable Linux system. 

The system allows users to reconfigure certain aspects, from building tailor-made packages to changing their desktops’ outlook and different functionalities. The general experience when using Arch Linux depends on the tastes and specific needs of the user. Its flexibility makes Arch Linux a good option for small business owners as they can alter the different packages to suit their respective environments and needs.

On the other hand, Ubuntu is ideal for users looking for a simple Linux system that doesn’t need further configuring. If you only need the basic tools of an operating system without much focus on customization, Ubuntu is your system of choice. The system is easy to set up, and its main emphasis is providing a generalized experience that will work with most users. Ubuntu is a perfect operating system for a home-used computer or a business without any need for customized computer packages and systems.

Hardware Compatibility

Regarding compatibility, Ubuntu offers better hardware compatibility than Arch Linux. Since the system was initially aimed at desktops, it works in almost all desktop versions. However, both Ubuntu and Arch Linux are compatible with x86 processors.

On the other hand, Arch Linux suffers compatibility issues since it only works with x64-bit and x86 processors. However, Arch comes with the latest Linux kernel modules and drivers, making the operating system compatible and better with most new models. 

Ubuntu hence wins this compatibility test, although Arch Linux is still a competent opponent. Arch loses in this context since, in some instances, you have to work harder for it to work on your desktop. 

Packages Compatibility, Installation, and Management

Ubuntu is compatible with a wide range of packages, and that’s why most Linux distributions are based on this operating system. Most tools work perfectly with Ubuntu, and package installation is simple. To install packages, you can use several avenues, from its official repositories, PPAs, and the software center. 

You also have the option to set up your Ubuntu to install apps from Flathub, even though it doesn’t have Flatpak built in. You can install third-party packages using the Advanced Package Tool (APT). The APT allows users to manage the packages installed, with separate package releases being available for amd64 and i386 processors. Additionally, APT filters packages using keywords, thus simplifying the search process. 

Arch Linux is also compatible with several packages and apps. Even if some packages have not entirely recognized the operating system like they have recognized Ubuntu, the available options are still more than enough. You must install and manage these packages using the Pacman package manager. 

Pacman is a reliable and straightforward system; thus, installing any package, be it a third-party package or one from Arch’s official repository is easy. To download third-party packages using Pacman, you can either type commands or use Arch User Repository (AUR). The AUR carries almost all software packages from which you can freely choose the ones you wish to download. 

Additionally, the master server has a service that cleverly orders the package lists making it easy to access each specific package and its dependencies by default. However, Arch Linux is only compatible with CLI-based packages. To access GUI-based alternatives, you will have to install Pamac. 

Which between Ubuntu and Arch Linux is better in terms of package compatibility? They are compatible with most packages, but both of them have pros and cons making it hard to point out the best.

User Experience

The user experience when using Ubuntu and Arch Linux will significantly depend on your personal preferences. With Arch Linux, you can control everything after setting the system up, including the packages you wish to have. You not only alter the desktop outlook but also get many choices from the audio server, the Linux Kernel you prefer, and its LTS version depending on your security needs. 

Contrastingly, Ubuntu comes standard with some utilities, and some people prefer this simplistic operating system since it tends to soothe their needs. Ubuntu also offers superb performance when coupled with some valuable tools. However, you can still eliminate some of these packages that come as standard in Ubuntu, although you still lack complete control over your packages, your Linux kernel version, or even the audio server. 

Since user experience differs from person to person, Ubuntu wins in this round if you prefer all your essential tools pre-installed and Arch Linux if you like to choose the tools you install. 

Updates Release Schedule

Arch Linux uses a rolling-release update schedule where you constantly receive updates as soon as they are released. You must manually update packages using commands, ensuring you always have the latest versions. The rolling-release update schedule has its advantages as bugs are timely fixed.

On the other hand, Ubuntu releases its updates on a long-term schedule, mostly five or more years for enterprises. Some non-LTS versions have short-term updates about nine months apart. These nob-LTS versions also have new releases every six months and are perfect for users needing frequent updates with significant system changes. The LTS version is suitable for users who prefer minimal changes after updates.


Ubuntu is the epitome of stability thanks to its updates release schedule. Arch Linux might work perfectly, but you must always worry about updates. The perks of timely updates ensure that bugs are fixed quickly on every new release. 

However, you have the alternative option of personally maintaining Arch Linux and ensuring that all your customizations remain the same with each update.

File Systems

The file system dictates how the components that make up a storage medium are stored and organized in an operating system. Ubuntu and Arch Linux use different file systems. Ubuntu uses the ext4 as the only file system, whereas Arch Linux uses several, including xfs, ext4, f2fs, and btrfs.

Audio Servers Supported

Since Arch Linux is entirely customizable, you can choose any audio server you wish to use. Among the audio servers you can use are PulseAudio and Pipewire. However, Ubuntu only supports PulseAudio as its default audio server.   

Community Support

Both Arch Linux and Ubuntu have well-versed community support online forums. With Ubuntu, you can use the Ask Ubuntu website, while Arch has ArchWiki

ArchWiki is more advanced since it offers useful Linux information that Arch Linux users utilize and other Linux distribution users. The portal always provides new information and avoids repetition at all costs, and if you are a new user, it might take you a while to get accustomed to its method of operation. 

Additionally, both Ubuntu and Arch Linux offer more community support subreddits. Although these subreddits are unofficial, they are both practical and user-friendly.

Arch Linux is an independently developed, x86-64 general-purpose distro


©Software:Arch Linux developersScreenshot:VulcanSphere, GPL <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Arch Linux vs. Ubuntu: 10 Must-Know Facts

  1. Ubuntu features a straightforward installation process with a Graphical User Interface showing clear instructions on your screen. Arch Linux uses a terminal/command-line installation process where the installation tool avails the user of several installation options, each with an actual effect.
  2. Arch Linux targets users searching for a customizable Linux operating system, especially for small businesses, whereas Ubuntu targets users needing a simple home-use system.
  3. Ubuntu offers better hardware compatibility by working with most desktop versions, while Arch Linux is compatible with x64-bit and x86 processors.
  4. Ubuntu is compatible with a vast majority of packages, the APT being amongst the avenues from which you can install and manage these packages. On the other hand, Arch Linux is compatible with most packages and uses AUR and Pacman for package installation.
  5. Ubuntu offers all the essential tools pre-installed, while Arch Linux allows users to customize the tools they wish to install, together with the general computer outlook and the Linux Kernel version. 
  6. Arch Linux uses a rolling-release update schedule where you constantly receive updates as soon as they are released, thus ensuring you always have the latest version. Ubuntu uses a long-term update release schedule to minimize changes.
  7. The long-term update release schedule makes Ubuntu stable and less prone to update-related crushes. In contrast, the rolling-release update schedule adopted by Arch Linux makes the operating system prone to update-related crashes.
  8. Regarding community support forums, Arch Linux uses ArchWiki, whereas Ubuntu uses the Ask Ubuntu website.
  9. Ubuntu uses the ext4 as the only file system, whereas Arch Linux uses xfs, ext4, f2fs, and btrfs.
  10. Arch Linux is compatible with most audio servers, including PulseAudio and Pipewire. In contrast, Ubuntu only works with PulseAudio.

Arch Linux vs. Ubuntu: Which One Should You Choose?

Linux single-handedly empowers home computing with its advanced operating systems. But which of its distributions is the best?

Your ideal distribution depends on what you need from Linux. If you are searching for a Linux distro that you can easily install, especially if it is your first time using Linux, Ubuntu will suit you best. Ubuntu is also a perfect operating system for a home-use desktop where you need freedom from the constant maintenance and update schedules that Arch features.

On the other hand, Arch Linux is a good pick if you need complete control over the configuration and several aspects of your OS. This operating system may have ups and downs, but it will suit you best if you need that much customization. We do not recommend Arch to any Linux freshman as the system requires a lot of knowledge in the installation and operation processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Arch better than Ubuntu for programming?

Arch Linux might be a better option if you’re searching for a lightweight, minimalist distribution. Advanced coders, developers, and security experts use Arch Linux. Ubuntu might be a better option if you’re searching for a more user-friendly distribution with a large community.

What is the advantage of Arch over Ubuntu?

Simply put, Ubuntu offers superb release quality and security, while Arch Linux offers simplicity and freedom. Additionally, Ubuntu is designed for simple installation and use, whereas Arch Linux is adaptable and allows for unlimited customization. In either case, both distributions have a lot of benefits and few drawbacks.

Is Ubuntu the good for programming?

Ubuntu’s simple interface makes it the best Linux distro for beginner programmers. Also, thanks to Snap, Ubuntu users can install several versions of an application and create their packages. The operating system also supports several valuable tools, such as Juju and Micro K8s, that help in testing, cross-building, and developing programs.

Why does Ubuntu use more RAM?

Ubuntu uses as much of the available RAM as it needs in order to reduce wear on the hard drive(s) because the user’s data is stored on the hard drive(s), and it is not always possible to restore all of the data that was stored on a faulty hard drive depending on whether or not that data was backed up.

Does Ubuntu support Chrome?

The GUI is the quickest method for setting up Google Chrome on Ubuntu. However, as with any other piece of software, Google Chrome’s installer file must first be downloaded. Since Google Chrome is not an open-source program, it cannot be found in the Ubuntu Software Center.

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