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Ubuntu 20.04 vs 20.10: A New User’s Guide to Choosing and Backing Up

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Ubuntu is a popular Linux distribution known for its user-friendly interface and robust performance. If you’re a new user trying to decide between Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10, this guide will help you understand the key differences and how to backup your data.

Quick Answer

Ubuntu 20.04 is a Long Term Support (LTS) release, prioritizing stability and long-term support over the latest features. Ubuntu 20.10, on the other hand, offers the latest features but has a shorter support period. The choice between the two depends on your priorities. It’s crucial to back up your data before upgrading or switching between versions.

Ubuntu 20.04: Long Term Support Release

Ubuntu 20.04, also known as Focal Fossa, is a Long Term Support (LTS) release. LTS releases are typically more stable and receive updates and security patches for five years from their release date. This makes them an ideal choice for users who prioritize stability and long-term support over having the latest features.

Ubuntu 20.04 comes with several pre-installed applications like Firefox, Thunderbird, and LibreOffice. It also features the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment, which offers a clean and intuitive user interface.

Ubuntu 20.10: The Latest Features

Ubuntu 20.10, codenamed Groovy Gorilla, is not an LTS release, meaning it only receives updates and security patches for nine months. However, it includes the latest features and improvements, making it a good choice for users who prefer to stay on the cutting edge.

Ubuntu 20.10 comes with the newer GNOME 3.38, offering enhanced performance and a more customizable user experience. It also includes updated versions of pre-installed applications.

Choosing Between Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10

Your choice between Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10 depends on your priorities. If you value stability and long-term support, 20.04 is the better choice. If you prefer having the latest features and don’t mind the shorter support period, you might prefer 20.10.

Backing Up Your Data

Before upgrading or switching between Ubuntu versions, it’s crucial to back up your data. Here’s a simple method using the rsync command:

rsync -av --progress /source/directory /destination/directory

In this command, -a stands for “archive”, which preserves file permissions, symbolic links, and other attributes, while -v stands for “verbose”, which provides detailed output of the process. --progress shows the progress during the transfer.

For example, to backup your home directory to an external drive mounted at /media/backup, you’d use:

rsync -av --progress /home/username /media/backup

Remember to replace username with your actual username and /media/backup with the actual mount point of your backup drive.


Whether you choose Ubuntu 20.04 or 20.10 depends on your specific needs and preferences. Regardless of your choice, always remember to back up your data before making any significant changes to your system. This guide should provide you with a solid foundation to make an informed decision and keep your data safe.

For more detailed information, you can visit the official Ubuntu documentation at

How do I upgrade from Ubuntu 20.04 to 20.10?

To upgrade from Ubuntu 20.04 to 20.10, you can use the do-release-upgrade command in the terminal. Open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo do-release-upgrade

Follow the prompts to complete the upgrade process.

Can I downgrade from Ubuntu 20.10 to 20.04?

Downgrading from Ubuntu 20.10 to 20.04 is not officially supported. It is recommended to perform a fresh installation of Ubuntu 20.04 if you wish to switch to the LTS release.

How long will Ubuntu 20.04 be supported?

Ubuntu 20.04, being an LTS release, is supported for five years from its release date. This means it will receive updates and security patches until April 2025.

How long will Ubuntu 20.10 be supported?

Ubuntu 20.10 is not an LTS release and is supported for nine months from its release date. After the end of the support period, you will need to upgrade to a newer release to continue receiving updates.

Can I install additional applications on both Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10?

Yes, both Ubuntu 20.04 and 20.10 allow you to install additional applications. Ubuntu Software Center and the apt package manager are commonly used to install and manage software on Ubuntu.

What is the difference between GNOME 3.36 and GNOME 3.38?

GNOME 3.36 and GNOME 3.38 are different versions of the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME 3.38, available in Ubuntu 20.10, includes performance improvements and additional features compared to GNOME 3.36 in Ubuntu 20.04.

Can I use the `rsync` command to backup my entire system?

While rsync is commonly used for backing up data, it is not recommended to use it for backing up the entire system. It is more suitable for backing up specific directories or files. To create a full system backup, you may consider using dedicated backup tools like Déjà Dup or Timeshift.

Where can I find more information about Ubuntu?

You can find more information about Ubuntu, including tutorials and documentation, on the official Ubuntu website at

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