Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu … How Do They Differ?
Basically, the shortest answer to the question what is the difference between Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Edubuntu is that they are the same body in a different outfit. They all use files from the Ubuntu repositories but since they serve a different purpose, their selection of applications, and sometimes desktop environments, differs.
Ubuntu – the Mother of Them All
Ubuntu is the most popular member of the family. It comes in three basic versions - Desktop, Netbook, and Server. Ubuntu comes with the Gnome desktop environment and it includes applications such as Open Office, Firefox, Evolution and Empathy. The screenshot below shows the default Ubuntu desktop.
Kubuntu – the KDE Sibling in the Family
If KDE is your Linux GUI of choice, then Kubuntu is your distribution. There were times when Kubuntu shipped with KOffice but now they have moved to Open Office. Some of the other applications you will find there are Firefox, Kopete and Amarok. The screenshot below shows the default Kubuntu desktop. Here are some additional Kubuntu screenshots.
Xubuntu – Ubuntu + the Xfce Desktop
The fans of the Xfce Desktop will appreciate Xubuntu. Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment and this makes it perfect for running on old and not powerful PCs. Xfce might be less popular than the top Linux GUI Gnome and KDE but it still has a lot of fans. Some of the applications that come installed right out of the box are Firefox, Abiword, Gnumetric, and the Parole media player. Here is what the default Xubuntu desktop looks like:
Edubuntu – Ubuntu for Educational Purposes
Finally, the last member of the Ubuntu family I will mention, is the educational Edubuntu distribution. Similar to Ubuntu, it also uses the Gnome desktop environment but the pack of applications included differs. Edubuntu includes the KDE Education project, GCompris, Tux4kids Edutainment Suite, Gnome Nanny and more. The applications in this distribution are targeted at pre-school, primary, secondary, and tertiary educational forms. Here is a glimpse of the default Edubuntu desktop:
To summarise, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu are all from Canonical Ltd. The main difference between Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Edubuntu is the desktop environment they use and the applications they include by default.