Arch Linux

Arch and Ubuntu Comparison and Review

For different tasks, we need a computer and for operating a computer, we need some operating system like Windows, macOS, and Linux. Where Linux further contains a list of distributions like Arch, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and Kali Linux. In this article, we will make a comparison between Arch and Ubuntu, but before making any comparison, let us discuss some overview of Ubuntu and Arch.

An Overview of Arch

Arch is a popular distribution of Linux that was launched by Canadian software developer Judd Vinet in 2002. The architecture of Arch is x86-64 and designed according to the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid), moreover, it has a rolling release model which updates the operating system continuously, rather than after the release of any major update.

There are a lot of features of Arch like it is lightweight, minimalist, and simple. Moreover, by default, it operates the kernel from Command Line Method, and no Desktop environment like GNOME is installed, but it can support a lot of desktop environments like XFC, i3wm, dwm, and KDE Plasma Desktop.

An Overview of Ubuntu

Like other distributions of Linux, Ubuntu is also a distribution, which was launched by a small team of Debian developers in 2004, under the supervision of  Mark Richard Shuttleworth, an easy-to-use operating system that comes with operated by the Graphical User Interface (GUI), and also through command-line.

Ubuntu supports three different architectures x86(i386), x86-64(amd64), and Power PC. Unlike Arch, it comes with a Desktop Environment known as GNOME.

Ubuntu is easy to install as it comes with a graphical installer and operates like macOS, Ubuntu is also customizable, as it gives a lot of features to set your desktop environment. It contains the latest version of the kernel on the latest release of Ubuntu, which helps you to install and run different packages more speedily in chip architecture machines as compared to hardware architecture machines.

How to install Arch and Ubuntu?

The installation of Arch is not user-friendly as it does not support a GUI(graphical user interface), a user who is installing the Arch by downloading its ISO file from its official website, should also read an installation guide to install it via a command-line method, which can take the time up to an hour depending the specifications of the computer.

Whereas the installation of Ubuntu is much easier, as it comes with a graphical installer. A user has to download the ISO file from the official website. The installation will take 20-30 minutes depending upon the specifications of the computer.

The Arch allows the customized installation which means a user can install its package manager according to its usage because the Arch is not based on any other Linux distribution, whereas, Ubuntu is based on the Debian Linux, so you can either install the full version of Ubuntu consisting of all built-in packages and tools or the minimal version consisting of basic packages and tools of Ubuntu.

The installation of Ubuntu is much easier compared to Arch, but Arch allows higher customizability.

Which package manager is used in Arch and Ubuntu?

An Arch uses the Packman manager which combines the binary package format with a simple build system to install and manage different packages in it whereas, in Ubuntu, the APT package manager is used to install and manage different packages. The user-friendly feature of Ubuntu can be observed from its package manager, if you don’t know the exact package name it will suggest you the name, for example, a person is installing SQLite and he doesn’t know the exact package name so he would write the command apt install SQLite, where the package manager will generate the error and suggest apt install sqlite3.

Further, if you want to install some third party packages in Arch, you have to install AUR(arch user repository), in which different third party packages are available, which are managed by the unknown users, so before installing them you have to validate the PKGBuild file (a file that contains the build information of the packages) of these packages whether they contain bugs or not. On the other hand, in Ubuntu, you can install the third-party packages by simply installing the Snap tool, which contains a variety of third-party packages.

As the Arch follows a rolling release model, so all the packages are updated every time when you initialize the Arch, whereas the packages in the Ubuntu repository are updated when any major update is made in the packages.

What is the performance, and support of Arch and Ubuntu?

The performance of both, Arch and Ubuntu, are good, but if you are working with GNOME on both of them, sometimes the Ubuntu crashes down because of the ibus gtk error, whereas on Arch GNOME will not crash.

The support of both are also good like if we talk about Ubuntu when GNOME or any other application crashed, a crash report appears on the screen to collect data, and this report is forwarded to the support team of Ubuntu which works on the issue and resolves the issue as soon as possible.

What are the advantages of using the Arch and the Ubuntu?

There are a lot of advantages of both Arch and Ubuntu distributions, on the basis of which both are widely used across the world.

The major advantages of Arch are:

  • It is light-weight and compact
  • It has a rolling release model and stays up to date
  • Pacman package manager is slightly faster than the apt package
  • The wiki of Arch is very helpful for every user of Linux
  • The hardware support of the Arch is much better than any other distribution of Linux as it is compatible with most of the hardware
  • The Arch repository comes with only 10000 packages but you can enjoy more than 50000 packages with the help of the AUR repository
  • It supports different desktop environments though it does not come with any desktop environment by default
  • Arch distro users can use unsigned repositories

The major advantages of Ubuntu are:

  • It provides online support to the user like Ubuntu wiki and Ubuntu support
  • A lot of applications are pre-installed on Ubuntu from music to video players
  • It will provide you with the easiest and simplest procedure to install the application using the GUI
  • Ubuntu is not only used in computers but it can also be used in smart gadgets
  • Ubuntu comes with GUI by default, which helps a lot the beginners
  • You can get a lot of different software from the snap store
  • It is easily customizable and supports tons of GNOME extensions
  • It is one of the most stable distributions of the Linux
  • A variety of non-roman scripts can be encoded in Ubuntu because UTF-8 is installed by default
  • It supports the PPA repository, which allows you to install the latest version of the software by keeping the rest of the operating system stable

What are the disadvantages of Arch and Ubuntu?

The disadvantages of Arch are:

  • The operating system takes an update whenever the update is available of that package, this will need a high band internet connection
  • The update of any package is complicated if the update contains some bugs, it will cause several difficulties
  • You cannot shift to any other operating system from Arch easily, as there is a lot of difference in the handling of the arch compared to other distributions of Linux
  • Sometimes the package manager, Pacman processes slow while extracting the packages

The disadvantages of Ubuntu are:

  • The Ubuntu releases updates only of security and of minor bugs
  • It needs good hardware graphics as Ubuntu includes a GENOME
Key differences (Arch Linux & Ubuntu)
Parameters Arch Linux Ubuntu
Desktop Environments Does not come with any Desktop environment by default but supports many desktops environments Come with GNOME and also support different other desktop environments
Security updates Rolling Releases updates in a year
Target audience  General General, server, desktop, and IBM mainframe
Belong to  Independent Debian


There are a lot of distributions of Linux, like Fedora, Arch, Ubuntu, and Debian which are used as an operating system in computers. Arch and Ubuntu are the most popular and widely used Linux distributions used across the world. In this article, we have reviewed both the distributions of Linux in detail and explained what are the differences in both distributions. In my opinion for beginners, Ubuntu should be preferred because of its desktop environment feature which helps not only in installing Ubuntu but also using, on the other hand, the Arch is for expert users as it does not come with the desktop environment so it is a little bit tricky to handle it.

About the author

Hammad Zahid

I'm an Engineering graduate and my passion for IT has brought me to Linux. Now here I'm learning and sharing my knowledge with the world.