Ubuntu is the vanilla flavour of Canonical’s Linux distribution and is based on the Gnome desktop environment. Under the hood the different flavours of Ubuntu are very similar, the primary differences revolve around the desktop interface and the user experience. Gnome is one of the longest running desktops available and provides a must softer creative looking (maybe elegant) experience than other alternatives, however this is tempered by some issues with resource management and bugs.
If you use the base installation and don’t play around with it too much, your experience should be pretty solid. If however you try to get more from the interface using the Gnome shell and it’s add-on facilities, you do run the risk of more instability and excessive resource usage. Probably best used on fast systems with lots of memory.
- Lots of features, lots of customisation options
- Access to Enterprise options and commercial support
- Huge selection of easy to use third-party applications
- Good support for different environment and interaction with other Operating Systems
- Very polished built-in tools and accessories
- Memory consumption and resource usage can be unpredictable, especially when using more advances features
- General resource usage is relatively heavy
- Historical issues around the choice of Gnome vs the previous Unity desktop
- Some system choices feel more commercially than community driven
Previous versions of vanilla Ubuntu used the Unity desktop which was a relatively unique design potentially aimed more at beginners than expert users. The return to Gnome feels better but is now seeing more competition from the other Ubuntu spins.