ElementaryOS is based on Ubuntu. Does it mean ElementaryOS is fully compatible with Ubuntu applications? (I suppose my question could be "Are Ubuntu and ElementaryOS binary compatible?")

By applications, I mean third party software that explicitly support Ubuntu, most of the time not open source, and not in the package repo, which are obtained as binaries, can be native x64, java, anything)

Or I might have dependencies issues, or the way the root filesystem is layed out differs between ElementaryOS and Ubuntu?

I am basically looking to switch from my Arch distro which is not officially supported and I want something reliable for work, without tweaking endlessly every time I want to run a proprietary app (that explicitly supports Ubuntu).

2 Answers 2


Actually the answer is more of "yes and no". There is a lot of system libraries that has been specifically modified for the elementary OS look & feel (libgtk, etc.). You can install any Ubuntu or even third party applications most of the time, however.

You can find some more information (it is about PPAs but might be applicable to other third party apps as well) at Can I safely install any PPA for Ubuntu on elementary?

  • 1
    Alright, well I suppose I will give ElementaryOS a go, and see if it can run any pieces of software I need. I will report back here when I tried, to let you know guys if you can expect badly designed software tightly bounded to Ubuntu to work on elementaryOS!
    – qrthur
    Oct 31, 2016 at 15:03

Yes, ElemeentaryOS uses the same Ubuntu repositories. You can think of elemenetaryOS as an un-official Ubuntu flavor, like Kubuntu, Xubuntu and such. You can use any PPA or package meant for Ubuntu.

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