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6 Best Linux Distributions for Beginners in 2019
Brief: In this article, we will see the best Linux distro for beginners. This will help new Linux users to pick their first distribution.
Let’s face it, Linux can pose an overwhelming complexity to new users. But then, it’s not Linux itself that brings this complexity. Rather, it’s the “newness” factor that causes this. Not getting nostalgic, but remembering my first time with Linux, I didn’t even know what to expect. I liked it. But it was an upstream swim for me initially.
Not knowing where to start can be a downer. Especially for someone who does not have the concept of something else running on their PC in place of Windows.
Linux is more than an OS. It’s an idea where everybody grows together and there’s something for everybody. We have already covered:
In addition to that, there are distributions that cater to the needs of newcomers especially. So here are a few such Linux distros for beginners. You can watch it in a video and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux related videos.
Best Linux Distros for Beginners
Please remember that this list is no particular order. The main criteria for compiling this list is ease of installation, out of the box hardware software, ease of use and availability of software packages.
If you’ve researched Linux on the internet, it’s highly probable that you have come across Ubuntu. Ubuntu is one of the leading Linux distributions. It is also the perfect path to begin your Linux journey.
Ubuntu has been tagged as Linux for human beings. Now, this is because Ubuntu has put in a lot of effort on universal usability. Ubuntu does not require you to be technically sound for you to use it. It breaks the notion of Linux=Command line hassle. This is one of the major plus points that rocketed Ubuntu to where it is today.
Ubuntu offers a very convenient installation procedure. The installer speaks plain English (Or any major language you want). You can even try out Ubuntu before actually going through the installation procedure. The installer provides simple options to:
- Install Ubuntu removing the older OS
- Install Ubuntu alongside the existing OS (A choice is given at every startup to select the OS to boot).
- Configure partitions for users who know what they are doing.
Beginner tip: Select the second option if you are not sure about what to do.
Ubuntu’s user interface is called Unity. It is as simple as well as productive as it gets. Running and favorite apps in the dock on the right side (called the ‘Dash’) and app search on the Super (Windows) button. Is there any way you can make this simpler?
There are no driver installation issues as Ubuntu comes with a hardware detector which detects, downloads and installs optimal drivers for your PC. Also, the installation comes with all the basic software like a music player, video player, an office suite and games for some time killing.
Ubuntu has a great documentation and community support. Ubuntu forums and Ask Ubuntu provide an appreciable quality support in almost all aspects regarding Ubuntu. It’s highly probable that any question you might have will already be answered. And the answers are beginner friendly.
Do check out and download Ubuntu at the official site.
2. Linux Mint Cinnamon
Linux Mint is the number one Linux distribution on Distrowatch. Well deserved throne I must say. Linux mint is one of my personal favorites. It is elegant, graceful and provides a superior computing experience (out of the box).
Linux Mint features the Cinnamon desktop environment. New Linux users who are still in the process of familiarizing themselves with Linux software will find Cinnamon very useful. All the software are very accessibly grouped under categories. Although this is nothing of a mind-blowing feature, to new users who do not know the names of Linux software, this is a huge bonus.
Linux Mint is fast. Runs fine on older computers. Linux Mint is built upon the rock-solid Ubuntu base. It uses the same software repository as Ubuntu. About the Ubuntu software repository, Ubuntu pushes software for general only use after extensive testing. This means users will not have to deal with unexpected crashes and glitches that some new software are prone to, which can be a real no-no for new Linux users.
Windows 7 lovers who are really not into where Microsoft if heading with Windows 10 will find Linux Mint lovable. Linux Mint desktop is pretty similar to Windows 7 desktop. Similar toolbar, similar menu, similar tray icons are all set to make Windows users feel absolutely at home.
Personally, I’m more likely to suggest Linux Mint to someone who is new to Linux world as Linux Mint does impress users enough for them to accept it. To me, Linux Mint should be the first among the list of Linux for beginners.
Do check out Linux Mint 18.1 here. Go for the Cinnamon version.
3. Zorin OS
A majority of computer users are Windows users. And when a Windows user gets a Linux, there’s a fair amount of ‘unlearning process’ that user must go through. A huge amount of operations have been fixed in our muscle memory. For example, the mouse reaching to the lower left corner of the screen (Start) everytime you want to launch an application. So if we could find something that eases these issues on Linux, it’s half a battle won. Enter Zorin OS.
Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based, highly polished Linux distribution, entirely made for Windows refugees. Although pretty much every Linux distro is usable by everybody, some people might tend to be reluctant when the desktop looks too alien. Zorin OS dodges past this obstacle because of its similarities with Windows appearance wise.
Package managers are something of a new concept to Linux newcomers. That’s why Zorin OS comes with a huge (I mean really huge) list of pre-installed software. Anything you need, there’s good chance it’s already installed on Zorin OS. As if that was not enough, Wine and PlayOnLinux come pre-installed so you can run your loved Windows software and games here too.
Zorin OS comes with an amazing theme engine called the ‘Zorin look changer’. It offers some heavy customization options with presets to make your OS look like Windows 7, XP, 2000 or even a Mac for that matter. You’re going to feel home.
These features make Zorin OS the best Linux distro for beginners, isn’t it? Do check out the Zorin OS website to know more and download the OS.
4. Elementary OS
Since we have taken a look at Linux distros for Windows users, let’s swing by something for MacOS users too. Elementary OS very quickly rose to fame and now is always included in the list of top distros, all thanks to its aesthetic essence. Inspired by MacOS looks, Elementary OS is one of the most beautiful Linux distros.
Elementary OS is another Ubuntu-based operating system which means the operating system itself is unquestionably stable. Elementary OS features the Pantheon desktop environment. You can immediately notice the resemblance to MacOS desktop. This is an advantage to MacOS users switching to Linux as they will much comfortable with the desktop and this really eases the process of coping to this change.
The menu is simple and customizable according to user preferences. The operating system is zero intrusive so you can really focus on your work. It comes with a very small number of pre-installed software. So, any new user will not be repulsed by huge bloat. But hey, it’s got everything you need out of the box. For more software, Elementary OS provides a neat AppCenter. It is highly accessible and simple. Everything at one place. You can get all the software you want and perform upgrades in clicks.
Experience wise, Elementary OS is really a great piece of software. Definitely give it a try.
5. Linux Mint Mate
A good number of people who come to Linux are looking to revive older computers. With Windows 10, many computers that had decent specs just some years ago have become incompetent. A quick google will suggest you install Linux on such computers. In that way, you can keep them running up to the mark for the near future. Linux Mint Mate is a great Linux distro if you are looking for something to run your older computers.
Linux Mint Mate is very light, resource efficient but still a polished distro. It can run smoothly on computers with less muscle power. The desktop environment does not come with bells and jingles. But in no way is it functionally inferior to any other desktop environments. The operating system is non-intrusive and allows you to have a productive computing experience without getting in your way.
Again, the Linux Mint Mate is based on Ubuntu and has the advantage of huge base solid Ubuntu software repository. It comes with a minimum number of necessities pre-installed. Easy driver installation and setting management are made available.
You can run Linux Mint Mate even if you have 512 MB RAM and 9 GB hard disk space (the more the merrier).
The Mate desktop environment is really simple to use with no twists in the tale. This is really a huge plus point for Linux beginners. All the more reason to try out Linux Mint Mate.
6. Manjaro Linux
Ok. Any long time Linux user will say guiding a newcomer even in the general direction of Arch Linux is a sin. But hear me out.
Arch is considered experts-only Linux because of it’s highly complex installation procedure. Manajro and Arch Linux have a common origin. But they differ extensively in everything else.
Manajro Linux has an extremely beginner friendly installation procedure. A lot of things are automated like driver installation using ‘Hardware detection’. Manjaro hugely negates the hardware driver hassles that torments a lot of other Linux distros. And even if you face any issues, Manjaro has an amazing community support.
Manjaro has its own software repository which maintains the latest of software. While providing up to date software to users is a priority, guaranteed stability is not at all compromised. This is one of the prime differences between Arch and Manjaro. Manjaro delays package releases to make sure they are absolutely stable and no regression will be caused. You can also access the Arch User Repository on Manjaro, so anything and everything you need, is always available.
If you want to know more about Manjaro features, do read my colleague John’s experience with Manjaro Linux and why he is hooked to it.
Manjaro Linux comes in XFCE, KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon and a host of more desktop environments. Do check out the official website.
To install any of the above 6 operating systems, you need to create a bootable USB stick. If you are currently using Windows use this guide to do so. Mac OS users may follow this guide.
Your choice for the best Linux distro for beginners?
Linux might come with a learning curve, but that’s not something anybody ever regretted. Go ahead get an ISO and check out Linux. If you are already a Linux user, do share this article and help someone fall in love with Linux in this season of love. Cheers.
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Best Linux distros of 2019
Update: For our developer and sysadmin readers, we've added the enthusiast-favorite openSUSE to our list. Read on to number 8 to find out more!
If you can’t stand the lackluster security of a Windows computer, but macOS is much too shallow, allow us to introduce you to Linux. It is, quite simply, the ultimate in open source software. The OS started out as being exclusive to regular x86 desktop PCs, but has since found its way into everything from Android phones to Google Chromebooks.
Linux is based on the Unix family of operating systems, which rose to fame in the late 1970s. It has been adopted by various software developers and turned into various 'distributions' or 'distros'. All of the top Linux distros use the Linux kernel, which can be thought of as the heart and soul of the operating system. The various desktop environments for these distros is then built around it.
The very best Linux distros are tailored to specific types of users. Ubuntu for instance is very easy to use, as it’s designed for newcomers. Arch Linux on the other hand appeals to experienced users who can take advantage of using the Terminal to type commands to perform tasks such as installing apps. This guide focuses on picking out the very best distros overall.
1. Elementary OS
Smartly designed and looks great
Excellent desktop environment
Not many preinstalled apps
If you’re after a distro that gets you as far away as possible from the image of a nerdy hacker type bashing away at a terminal interface, Elementary OS is what you need. It’s probably the most attractive distro around, with a style similar to that of macOS. This operating system’s superb desktop environment is known as Pantheon, and is based on Gnome.
The latest version of Elementary OS is called Loki, which as well as being that bit prettier and neater than its predecessor Freya, has its own application installer UI called AppCenter. It’s a delightfully simple way to install apps outside the terminal, which is handy as there aren't very many preinstalled.
Elementary OS does, however, come bundled with the Epiphany browser, the Geary email client and a few basic ‘tool’ apps. You may need to add more programs, but this is easy to do using the integrated AppCenter, which contains paid programs designed specifically for the OS such as Quilter for budding writers or Spice-Up for composing presentations. The inconvenience of buying and downloading additional apps is balanced by Elementary OS’ Elegance.
You can get started with Elementary OS here
2. Linux Mint
Ideal for those switching from Windows/Mac
Good media support out of the box
Impressive amount of customisation options
Linux Mint is a great ‘default’ distro for new Linux users, as it comes with a lot of the software you’ll need when switching from Mac or Windows, such as LibreOffice, the favoured productivity suite of Linux users. It also has better support for proprietary media formats, allowing you to play videos, DVDs and MP3 music files out of the box.
You can download three main starter flavours of Mint 19, each of which uses a different desktop environment, the top-most layer of the interface allowing you to change elements such as the appearance of windows and menus. Cinnamon is currently the most popular, but you can also choose the more basic MATE, or Xfce.
Linux Mint 18.3 was the last release to have an official KDE version. Unfortunately, this is no longer available with Linux Mint 19, but it can still be installed on top of version 19 if you miss it.
While Timeshift was introduced in version 18.3 and to all Linux Mint releases, it is one of the main features of Linux Mint 19. Timeshift enables users to restore their computer from the last functional snapshot.
All these desktop environments offer a good deal of customisation options, so feel free to download a few and boot as Live CD prior to installing to see which works best.
You can get started with Mint here
3. Arch Linux
Massive potential for customisation
Antergos represents a more user-friendly spin
Arch Linux itself isn’t for the faint of heart
If you’re willing to try a slightly less user-friendly distro, Arch Linux is one of the most popular choices around. Arch allows you to customise your build using the terminal to download and install packages, and it’s particularly handy for developers and those with older machines who may not want unnecessary packages taking up space.
Of course, this used to be the way all Linux distros were set up, but there are now much more user-friendly methods available. There’s even such a version of Arch Linux, named Antergos (pictured above). Antergos comes with more drivers, more applications and a load of desktop environments to let you change the look of the system. Its aim is to hold your hand and get you up and running with all the basics right from the initial install, but it’s still Arch Linux underneath.
The hardcore crowd may turn their noses up at packages like Antergos, but when it saves those newer to Linux hours of potentially frustrating fiddling about, we’re all for it.
Antergos’ graphical installer can guide you through the setup process and boot you to the Gnome 3 desktop environment. It can also use the Cinammon, MATE, KDE and Xfce environments if you prefer. Antergos doesn't come with an office suite but you can install this and other programs via the delightfully named Arch package manager ‘pacman’.
You can get started with Arch Linux here or Antergos here
Very accessible for novices
Security and stability of LTS version
Lubuntu spin is great for underpowered PCs
Ubuntu is one of the most popular flavours of Linux and along with Mint is strongly recommended for Linux newbies, as it's extremely accessible.
New versions of Ubuntu are released every six months. At the time of writing we’re up to Ubuntu 18.04. Every other year the developer Canonical releases an LTS (long term support) version of Ubuntu. These guarantee five years of security and general maintenance updates, so you can carry on using your machine without the hassle of running a full upgrade every few months. Standard releases are supported for one year only.
The current LTS version of Ubuntu (18.04) uses the Gnome 3 desktop environment, which may be less familiar to Windows and macOS users.
There are variations of Ubuntu which employ different environments such as Lubuntu, which uses a minimal desktop environment based on LXDE and a selection of fast, lightweight applications. This places far less strain on system resources than the graphic-intensive Unity.
You can get started with Ubuntu here and Lubuntu here
Emphasis on security and privacy
Yet maintains a user-friendly UI
Something of a niche OS
Tails is a privacy-oriented Linux distro which has the aim of concealing your location and identity as much as possible. Even Edward Snowden used it.
The OS routes all its internet traffic through the anonymising Tor network, which is designed to prevent data from being intercepted and analysed. Underneath all the security measures, it’s based on Debian Linux and uses the Gnome desktop so the interface is still clear and user-friendly.
Tails isn’t for everyone, but this niche OS does give you some peace of mind if you’ve been fretting about all the worrying privacy-trampling legislation being passed these days.
You can get started with Tails here
6. CentOS 7
Built for stability
Ideal for a server
Not so great for daily desktop usage
CentOS 7 is a community offshoot of the Enterprise version of Red Hat Linux, and its focus is on stability rather than constant updates. Like Red Hat, security and maintenance updates for CentOS are pushed out up to 10 years from the initial release of each version.
CentOS is designed to be super-reliable, which is why it’s a great choice for a server. It's not quite such a good bet for someone looking for a new OS for daily use on their desktop PC or laptop.
On the plus side, you can enjoy the pleasure of having something for nothing – packages compiled for the commercial version of Red Hat Linux are fully compatible with CentOS, so you can use them free of charge.
You can get started with CentOS here
7. Ubuntu Studio
Great alternative to costly production software
Support for audio plug-ins and more
Still allows access to packages in main Ubuntu OS
If you want a home music recording studio or a video production workstation without spending the thousands of pounds involved with industry standard software, consider installing Ubuntu Studio.
This officially recognised flavour of Ubuntu Linux has been designed for audio and video production, as an alternative to paid software such as Pro Tools. Support for audio plug-ins and MIDI input is built in and a virtual patch bay comes preinstalled.
Ubuntu Studio’s repositories have access to the packages in the main Ubuntu OS as well as a few digital audio sequencers. Its main strength is in audio recording through tools like the JACK Audio Connection Kit.
You can get started with Ubuntu Studio here
Very polished distro
Can create your own version of the OS
Previously known as SUSE Linux and subsequently SuSE Linux Professional, openSUSE is aimed at developers and system administrators. For that reason, it’s extremely stringent on security protocols.
The operating system is divided into two main distributions: openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed. Leap uses the source code from SUSE Linux Enterprise, which makes it much more stable. New versions are released roughly once a year and are supported for three years, making Leap perfect for business applications.
Tumbleweed (pictured above) is based on Factory, openSUSE's main development codebase. It follows a rolling release model – in other words, packages are made available for download as soon as they've been tested in Factory. This means Tumbleweed contains the latest stable applications and is good for day-to-day use.
The OS makes uses of the shiny KDE Plasma desktop, which is perfect if your machine can handle the more advanced graphical features.
One of the more polished Linux distros around, openSUSE is consistently ranked in the top five distros on DistroWatch.com. What’s more, the SUSE Studio Express website allows you to create your own version of openSUSE, complete with tailored preinstalled software packages, desktop and system settings.
You can get started with openSUSE here
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The Best Linux Operating Systems and Distributions
Thinking about trying Linux? There are so many Linux operating systems (called “distributions” or “distros”), and each offers different benefits.
With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose. What’s the best lightweight Linux operating system? What about a Linux distro for gaming? What if you just want one that’s pretty like macOS?
This curated list features only Linux distros that have seen significant activity (update or maintenance) throughout 2018 and 2019. We only recommend Linux distros that are safe to use and regularly updated with security patches.
Jump Ahead: Business | Gaming | General | Lightweight and Minimal | Multimedia Production | New to Linux | Raspberry Pi Distros | Security and Recovery
Business Linux Distros
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a commercial derivative of Fedora, designed with enterprise customers in mind. There are several variants and addons, and certification is available for both administrators and applications.
SUSE Linux Enterprise
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is designed for business use and is enterprise-ready from installation, making it easy to work with a variety of office programs.
It’s flexible enough to run on many devices and reliable enough for critical systems. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server edition is also available.
Gaming Linux Distros
SparkyLinux Game Over Edition
Various editions of SparkyLinux are available, but this game-focused one is probably the most useful. With an LXDE desktop and a host of preinstalled games, you’ll find Steam, PlayOnLinux, and Wine preinstalled.
That’s a vast library of free and premium games at your fingertips!
Gaming on Linux is becoming increasingly popular, and the OS has its own Steam client. However, you might prefer to simply install SteamOS.
One of the best Linux distros for gaming: SteamOS optimized for gaming performance with proprietary graphics and sound drivers built in, along with the Steam client.
General Purpose Linux Distros
Ubuntu is Debian-based and ships with GNOME as the default desktop environment. One of the most popular Linux operating systems around, Ubuntu improves with every release. The latest releases are designed for desktops, laptops, and hybrids. In short, if you’re switching from Windows or macOS, Ubuntu is probably the first OS you’ll try.
The openSUSE distribution is a general distro for Linux built by the openSUSE Project. It aims to be both a great beginner distro and something that appeals to experienced Linux users. openSUSE comes with YaST, an administration program that controls installations, package management, and more.
Fedora, sponsored by the IBM-owned Red Hat uses the GNOME desktop environment by default. Users can easily switch to KDE, Xfce, LXDE, MATE, and Cinnamon, among others. Custom variations of Fedora, known as Fedora spins, are available for users with specific requirements.
Debian is a long-established Linux distribution that comes with the GNOME desktop environment. However, it’s also available with the FreeBSD kernel, and work is in progress to support other kernels such as the Hurd.
Many other notable Linux distros are based on Debian. These include Ubuntu and Raspbian.
Slackware is a distro built specifically for security and simplicity, aiming to be the most UNIX-like Linux distribution. It’s particularly useful for server management, as it has FTP, email, and web servers available to use immediately.
Have you ever tried UNIX or managed a server? If not, try Slackware as a live disc (or as a virtual machine) to get to grips with it.
The French Mageia began as a community-driven, non-profit fork of Mandriva Linux, and features all the major desktop environments. KDE and GNOME are available as default desktops.
SparkyLinux evolved from the “testing” branch of Debian. The main edition comes with a customized version of the lightweight LXDE desktop, with other customized desktops available.
Image Credit: fforget via Flickr
You can adapt Gentoo Linux to almost any requirement. Its versatility and performance are what make it one of the best Linux operating systems. Gentoo Linux also comes with an advanced package management system called Portage.
While this adaptability can cause problems for newcomers, Gentoo offers complete control of your computer.
CentOS (Community Enterprise Operating System) is a community rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Do you want to use an enterprise-standard distribution for free?
If you use Red Hat at work, it makes sense to use CentOS at home—from a user perspective, there is very little difference.
Lightweight Linux Distros
Based on Ubuntu LTS releases, Linux Lite is a minimal-footprint distro with a clean and simple Xfce desktop. It adopts a Windows-style Start menu, helping any Windows refugee feel right at home.
Linux Lite’s small resource footprint means that you can install it on a PC with a 700 MHz CPU and just 512MB of RAM. That’s what we call light! This makes it one of the best Linux distros for old computers or users looking to maximize laptop battery life.
Lubuntu is a lightweight distro based on Ubuntu that’s perfect for laptop usage. It uses the minimal desktop LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) and comes with lightweight applications designed for energy-efficiency and speed.
It’s great for most older computers, netbooks and mobile devices as it uses minimal RAM and has low system requirements.
If you’re looking for the best Linux operating system for laptop battery life, Lubuntu is a definite contender.
The Xubuntu derivative uses the Xfce desktop environment, making it an elegant and lightweight version of Ubuntu. It’s great for laptops and netbooks, as well as low-spec desktops.
Because it is light and uses few system resources, Xubuntu is perfect for older computers.
This is a fantastically small distribution that can be run entirely from RAM. This means Puppy Linux is great for older computers, even those without hard drives! It is also easy to use for malware removal.
Manjaro Linux is a fast, easy-to-use, lightweight distribution based on Arch Linux. It aims to give all the benefits of Arch Linux with more user-friendliness and accessibility, making it easier on newcomers. The Xfce desktop is the default, but other options are available.
Arch Linux is a distribution designed with experienced users in mind. This lightweight minimalist distribution aims to keep things simple and uses a rolling release model for updates.
Arch features a custom-made package manager called “Pacman,” which makes it easy to build, modify and share packages.
It might not be the best Linux distro for beginners, so we recommend waiting until you’ve gained some experience before giving it a shot.
Image Credit: NuTyX.org
Want to customize your Linux system? NuTyX is for you! Shipping barebones and bloatware-free, NuTyX lets you customize using the collection concept, where you’ll find a choice for everything you want to use. For example, you’ll find a selection of desktop environments or window managers to choose from.
The result is a user-determined Linux operating system with endless possibilities. It might be a versatile desktop, or a focused home theater.
This Ubuntu-based distribution comes with the lightweight and beautiful Enlightenment desktop. Bodhi is extremely customizable, with themes and apps readily available to expand on the light beginnings.
Fedora Design Suite
Save time installing artistic tools and applications to Fedora by simply installing this spin from the Fedora artistic design team. You’ll find tools like Inkscape and GIMP are among those preinstalled in this art-, illustration-, and DTP-focused distro.
First released in 2007, Ubuntu Studio is probably the default choice for Linux users with creative talents. With the inclusion of the Xfce desktop environment and low kernel latency, everything is geared towards media production.
While many other distros will serve you well, Ubuntu Studio might just be the best Linux distro for designers, music producers, photographers, and other creative users.
All the creative distros listed here offer a good mix of tools, and while KXStudio is no different, it focuses on audio production. Throw in the KDE desktop and you have a digital studio capable of considerable performance.
Linux Distros for Newbies
If you’re new to Linux and want to keep things simple, Endless OS might be the distro you’re looking for.
Intended for family use, Endless OS comes with 100 apps preinstalled, ideal if your system doesn’t have an internet connection. It’s also useful if you don’t know what Linux apps you need.
This prescribed approach might not be ideal for seasoned Linux users. However, if you’re coming to open source operating systems green, this is very useful. See our overview of Endless OS Endless OS May Be the Best Linux Version for New Computer Users Endless OS May Be the Best Linux Version for New Computer Users Switching to Linux and looking for an operating system that can serve your whole family? Endless OS might just be what you need. Read More for more information about this simple operating system.
Linux Mint is an elegant, modern distro that is easy to use, yet powerful. Based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint is reliable and comes with one of the best software managers.
Mint has been the top-rated Linux operating system on DistroWatch since 2011, with many Windows and macOS refugees choosing it as their new desktop home.
Mint comes with a wide range of desktop options 5 Flavors of Linux Mint 18 You Can Try Today 5 Flavors of Linux Mint 18 You Can Try Today Linux Mint is a distro that has roots in Ubuntu but lots of changes that make it worthwhile. In this article, we explore the five flavors of desktop environment that you can try. Read More . You can have the default Cinnamon desktop, or with MATE, KDE, or Xfce (XForms Common Environment). Linux Mint Debian Edition, aimed at experienced Linux users, is also available.
This Ubuntu-based distro 5 Reasons Why New Linux Users Will Love Deepin 5 Reasons Why New Linux Users Will Love Deepin There are plenty of Ubuntu-based derivatives that try to solve problems in their own ways, but one distribution that's gaining some special attention is Deepin. Read More , packaged with the stylish Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE), is intended to appeal to newer Linux users. Simple and intuitive and featuring a great system settings panel displays, Deepin is clearly inspired by Apple’s macOS desktop.
Deepin also features an easy-to-use software center that’s far superior to similar tools in other distros. These factors make it one of the best Linux operating systems for migrating Mac users.
Pop!_OS is Linux hardware manufacturer System76 Ubuntu-based default operating system complete with the GNOME desktop. Offering its own desktop theme, the blue, brown and orange interface matches the System76 brand identity.
With its own app installation browser (Pop!_Shop), you’ll find it easy to install your preferred Linux apps on Pop!_OS. Although some apps don’t quite match the theme, this is an exciting Linux operating system. Bonus points go to System76 for producing a separate version for devices with Nvidia graphics.
Zorin OS is another distro designed specifically for Linux newcomers to ease the transition from other platforms. The Ubuntu-based distro features several apps that will be familiar to Windows users and makes it easy for users to run the Windows apps they still need.
The Zorin OS desktop can be configured to resemble Windows, macOS, or even Linux.
Yet another Ubuntu-based distro, Elementary OS has differentiated itself superbly since its emergence in 2013. It features beautiful, simple default apps that follow the OS’s aesthetic appeal, such as Mail for email, and the Epiphany web browser.
Elementary OS also features several useful Linux productivity apps 10 Elementary OS AppCenter Apps That'll Make You More Productive 10 Elementary OS AppCenter Apps That'll Make You More Productive Having an app store of its own has really brought Elementary OS to life with a great choice of apps. I use these AppCenter tools to improve my productivity -- perhaps you will too. Read More . If you want something that evokes the look and feel of macOS, Elementary OS is a Linux operating system you should try.
One of the big problems of switching to Linux from Windows is the lack of app compatibility.
Several distros deal with this issue, but RoboLinux offers a better solution: an easy to set up Windows virtual machine. Windows XP and later can be set up in RoboLinux, avoiding the need to dual boot. This potentially gives you access to your favorite Windows applications whenever you need them.
Ubuntu has many derivatives. One popular option is Kubuntu, which uses the more traditional KDE desktop environment. Beneath this, it is essentially the same as Ubuntu and is released on the same schedule.
Raspberry Pi Linux Distros
The Raspberry Pi is a popular Linux machine, but the distros seen elsewhere in this list probably won’t work. This is due to the Pi using an ARM processor rather than an Intel or AMD 32-bit or 64-bit CPU.
As such, specialist distros have been developed for the Pi. Some of these are Pi-friendly versions of existing Linux operating systems, like those listed below. For more distros, see our list of operating systems for the Raspberry Pi 11 Operating Systems You Can Run on Raspberry Pi 11 Operating Systems You Can Run on Raspberry Pi The Raspberry Pi's hardware is only one side of the coin. Here are some different Raspberry Pi operating systems you can install. Read More .
The default operating system for the popular Raspberry Pi is the Debian-based Raspbian Stretch, produced by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
This ARM distribution features a bunch of programming tools, such as Scratch, aimed at helping newbies get started with coding.
Raspbian includes the LXDE-based PIXEL desktop environment. It’s not the only option, but Raspbian might just be the best Linux operating system for Raspberry Pi.
Similar to Raspbian is Kano OS, with greater focus on coding, this time aimed at children. A more intuitive user interface provides all the tools a child needs to get coding with the minimum of fuss.
Running a project that requires a bare bones operating system? The answer is DietPi, an ultra-lightweight Debian-based OS for all models of the Raspberry Pi. It’s also available for several other single-board computers (or SBCs for short).
While Raspbian Stretch Lite is perhaps the go-to option for Pi users looking for a small footprint from their chosen OS, DietPi has several advantages, as outlined in this table.
Perhaps the key difference for many is the amount of space DietPi takes up on an SD card. To run Raspbian Stretch Lite you’ll need 2GB of storage; for DietPi, just 1GB.
Linux Distros for Security and Recovery
You probably know Linux is more secure than Windows, but the most secure Linux operating system is Qubes. Version 3.2 is currently available, calling itself “A reasonably secure operating system,” boasting testimonial from none other than Edward Snowden.
That name alone should tell you Qubes is one of the best Linux operating systems for security-conscious users.
With an onus on security, freedom, and integrated privacy features, virtualization enforces sandboxed isolation between apps and your hardware.
Formerly known as BackTrack, Kali Linux is a penetration-testing distro, widely used in the online security community. This Debian-based Linux distribution makes it easy to perform digital forensic tasks.
Parted Magic is essentially a disk management tool, with hard disk partitioning and copying as primary tools. It also makes it easy to perform data recovery and secure erasing.
GParted is a single-purpose distribution, intended to make it easy to partition hard drives using a graphical interface. Linux users will be familiar with the standard version that appears in many distributions.
This version is a standalone, dedicated OS, however, ready to run as a live CD. Need to perform some disk management without booting into your computer’s operating system? Use GParted.
A distribution revolving wholly around the concept of privacy and security. It is a live operating system you can use from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card so you can be safe using any computer and leave no trace of your activities.
All internet connections are routed through TOR (the Onion Router) for the best possible anonymity. Meanwhile, cryptographic tools are readily available to protect all your communication methods from prying eyes.
Bruce Schneier is a fan of TAILS, and that’s a big endorsement. It’s the best Linux operating system for users looking for highly portable and highly secure tools.
The Best Linux Operating System for You
With so many Linux operating systems to choose from, you’ll need a distro that does what you need. Fortunately, there are distros for pretty much every purpose.
Do you feel you should pay for open source software? If so, most Linux developers will happily accept a contribution to help maintain the operating system long term.
Ready to enter the world of Linux? Read our guide to getting started in Linux Getting Started With Linux and Ubuntu Getting Started With Linux and Ubuntu You're interested in switching to Linux... but where do you start? Is your PC compatible? Will your favorite apps work? Here's everything you need to know to get started with Linux. Read More and make sure you know the most important Linux commands An A-Z of Linux - 40 Essential Commands You Should Know An A-Z of Linux - 40 Essential Commands You Should Know Linux is the oft-ignored third wheel to Windows and Mac. Yes, over the past decade, the open source operating system has gained a lot of traction, but it’s still a far cry from being considered... Read More .
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25+ Best Linux Distributions for 2019 | Lightweight, Gaming, Hacking [Linux OS]
There are so many Linux Distributions available, finding the best Linux Distribution is a bit of challenge for you. In this Post, Get the Best Linux Distributions (Distros) for Beginners to Advanced users from Gaming to Hacking. We have collected and filtered out the top best Linux Distros from the list of Linux Distributions out there in the Linux world. The question of what is best Linux Operating System Suitable for new users often arise. It’s fairly tough question to answer. Because your distribution of choice may have a sweet-looking desktop, easy to use Interface or light on system. Different Distros offer different Destkop environments, configurations and various features.
Well Good news is that, there are some truly brilliant Linux Distros available to choose. You can choose from Advanced Desktop interface to familiar, standard type of Desktop.
You may know Most Popular Linux Distributions like Linux Mint, Debian, Ubuntu, Open SUSE and Fedora. My favourite Distro is Linux Mint which is the combination of modern, fast and offers user-friendly Interface.
See Also : 60+ Best Linux Software Applications for All Distros [Most Useful]
Recommended : 10 Best Linux Desktop Environment for Ubuntu & How to Install it
Best Linux Distros For 2019
Ubuntu is the Popular Linux Distribution out there and has followed by the most users after the Proprietary Operating systems like Windows and Mac OS. Most of all know that Ubuntu is based on Debian. It offers its own collection software repository. One can easily install any Linux Software Applications using the terminal or Ubuntu Software center. Kubuntu is the Official derivative of Ubuntu Operating system which uses the KDE Based desktop environment instead of the Ubuntu’s Unity GUI.
Linux Mint is the most Popular Linux Distribution. Mint is elegant, modern and comfortable and offers some Proprietary software packages for media Playback. Mint offers two GNOME based Desktop environments: Mate and Cinnamon. The Mate is designed from the Outdated GNOME 2 desktop and cinnamon is modern and gives neat menus and awesome Nemo which is much like Windows explorer. This Popular Linux Distro is based on Ubuntu and Debian.
Download Linux Mint
Debian Linux is the one of the most Popular and best Linux Distro for Servers and Personal computers. Many Linux Distros derived from the Debian operating system. Because, it is considered as the solid Linux. Debian Project offers the Software repository which has a wide range of Free Linux Software applications in one Place.
Arch Linux is developed predominantly with free and open-source software, and supports community involvement. A package manager written specifically for Arch Linux, pacman, is used to install, remove and update software packages. It is a x86-64 general purpose GNU/Linux distribution versatile enough to suit any role.
Download Arch Linux
Fedora Linux Distro
Fedora is unix like Operating system based on the Linux kernel and GNU programs. Developed by the Community-Supported Fedora Project and sponsored by the Red Hat. Fedora has relatively very short development life cycle, every 6 months new version will be release and maintenance period is only 13 months. Last few years, it has come with many server oriented features rather than desktop oriented features.
Download Fedora Linux
OpenSUSE project is supported by Open-Source community and sponsored by SUSE Linux GmbH and other companies. OpenSUSE supports thousands of free Linux Applications. It offers many Desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, LXDE GUI’s.
SUSE includes an installation and administration program called YaST which handles hard disk partitioning, system setup, RPM package management.
elementary OS is also based on the Ubuntu Operating System. It is the flagship distribution to showcase the Pantheon Desktop Environment. The basic principle of this OS is that without learning too much, they can use elementary OS. The core rules of the elementary OS are “concision”, “avoid configuration” and “minimal documentation”.
User Interface of the elementary OS resembles much like Mac OS. You may not expect the same user experience like Mac OS, but you can certainly feel that UX in elementary.
Download elementary OS
Slackware is one of the earliest operating system that built-on top of the Linux kernel. This is the oldest Linux Distribution still maintained. Slackware has been the basis for many other Linux distributions, including the initial versions of openSUSE.
PCLinuxOS is shortened PCLOS, runs on the KDE Plasma Desktop. In the intial stage, This Linux Distribution has been developed from Mandriva Linux Package. It offers nVIDIA and ATi fglrx driver support, Multimedia playback support for Popular formats. Users can easily play any multimedia files in PCLOS, all media codes pre-installed.
Mageia is forked from the Mandriva Linux distribution. It was developed by the former Mandriva employees and other users, supporters of Mandriva. KDE is the default desktop environment, however you can choose the GNOME as your Desktop GUI. LXDE, LXQt, Cinnamon, MATE and Enlightenment are also available. Mageia users can install RPM Packages in their system. It offers very large repository of software, such as productivity applications and a large variety of games.
Gentoo Operating system built on top of Linux kernel and based on the portage package management system. Unlike traditional software distribution, You have to compile the software packages in your own system based on the system configuration.
Hence, Installing the Gentoo Operating system is very time-consuming process. Because, It downloads all the package source codes from the internet for you to compile locally. If you select many packages during the installation, then it may take hours for the installation. However, investing your time and building on your, you can build very efficient Gentoo desktops and servers.
Download Gentoo Linux
Sabayon is the Gentoo-based Linux Distribution. It provides wide range “Out of the box” Linux Applications and pre-configured operating system that builds on Solid platform. It has its own software repository and a package management system called Entropy. Portgage is inherited from Gentoo. Unlike Portgage, the Entropy compiles the software and gives only the Binaries to the system.
It supports the following Desktop GUIs: GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and MATE. Even though, It is based Gentoo Linux, Sabayon can be installed within 30 minutes.
Download Sabayon Linux
Chakra is based on the Arch Linux Distribution, and it is the best looking KDE Linux Distro available for Linux Users. It offers a beautiful flat styles theme desktop. Chakra is a unique distribution that offers an interface and stability. The Chakra does not have scheduled release system but uses a “Half-Rolling release” system. It has its own official repository and user-driven Software repository.
Knoppix is the Debian based Operating system which is the first OS available as LiveCD to boot directly from PenDrive or memory card. Also, it is available as two editions: CD edition and DVD edition. 1000 software packages are included on the CD edition, and more than 2600 are included on the DVD edition. It comes with 3 different Desktop Environments: By default LXDE, GNOME and KDE.
Many Distributions are derived from Knoppix. Notably, Adriane Knoppix is a variation that is intended for blind and visually impaired people, which can be used entirely without vision oriented output devices.
# Best LightWeight Linux Distributions
Xubuntu is a community-maintained derivative of the Ubuntu operating system. The Canonical Ltd. who is behind the Ubuntu, recognised Xubuntu Distro. The name Xubuntu is a portmanteau of Xfce and Ubuntu, as it uses the Xfce desktop environment, instead of Ubuntu’s Unity.
Whether you have a high-end computer or even a moderately older machine, Xubuntu is able to provide you the stable, smooth User experience.
Recommended : Top 5 Best Lightweight Linux Distros for old PC and Laptop
Lubuntu is derived from the Ubuntu, uses the LXDE desktop environment which makes the Lubuntu as a Lightweight Linux distribution. LXDE is known for it lighter, less memory hungry and more energy-efficient interface. Lubuntu includes many default applications like Ubuntu such as Synaptics Package Manager, Abiword, Mplayer etc..You can also install the Linux Applications from Ubuntu repository.
Bodhi Linux is one the best Lightweight Linux Distro that is based on Ubuntu and uses the Enlightenment Window Manager. By default the Bodhi Linux does not have any many software packages other than basic Applications like File browser (EFM), Browser (Midori) and a Terminal emulator. Bodhi Linux has a list of Lightweight Linux Software Applications in online database that can be installed one click using apturl. Since it is based on Ubuntu, Bodhi Linux users can install any packages that was created for Ubuntu.
Download Bothi Linux
PuppyLinux is Lightweight Linux Distribution. It only runs on minimal memory and provides easy to use interface, features. You can run the entire system on the RAM itself, it only takes 130MB memory only.
By default the lightweight word Processor (Abi Word), MediaPlayer(Mplayer) and lightweight web browsers included. It has its own Package manager. The Packages are identified .pet extensions. You can install any Packages from the Puppy repository and other users developed Puppy repositories.
This Puppy Linux is most useful for older computers and net books. Since it has been using only smaller memory footprints.
Download Puppy Linux
Porteus is the Portable Lightweight Linux Operating system that has been derived from the Slackware Linux. It is a lightning fast and small but powerful Linux operating system. You don’t need install this Linux OS on Hard Disk, you can directly run this Linux Distro from the USB Flash Drive or CD. However, if you need, you can install in the Hard Disk. Like Puppy, Poreteus also directly runs from the RAM memory, so it is very fast.
Currently, Porteus comes with the LXDE and KDE desktops.
Tiny Core Linux
Tiny Core Linux is known for its size 12 MB. It is the minimal Linux OS that only focuses on the base system using Busybox and FLTK. You can extend the Tiny Core Linux by installing many extensions from the package manager. If you want to install the Tiny Core on your Hard Disk, first you have install the Installer from the package manager.
# Linux OS for Specific Purpose
Kali Linux OS
Kali Linux is derived from the Debian Linux and it is specially developed for the Digital forensics and Network Penetration testing. This Linux Distro was rewritten from the Back Track Linux Operating system.
Kali Linux Pre-installed with numerous penetration testing applications such as nmap (a port scanner), Wireshark (a packet analyzer), John the Ripper (a password cracker), and Aircrack-ng (a software suite for penetration-testing wireless LANs).
Download Kali Linux OS
Parted Magic Linux Distro provides the complete Hard Disk Management solutions. It has loaded with hard disk partitioning tools, Disk cloning, Data Rescue, Disk Erasing and benchmark testing tools.
Easily, any Linux user can partition your hard drive, rescue files, reset windows password to rescue files, retrieve data from the disk even if it shows read errors. It has system stability checker, stress testing tools and more.
Download Parted Magic
SystemRescueCD is not the general Purpose operating system. It is specifically designed to repair unbootable or otherwise damaged computer systems after a system crash.
SystemRescueCD has come with several Computer Rescuing tools like GNU Parted and GParted to partition disks and re-size partitions, including FAT32 and NTFS, fdisk to edit the disk partition table, File system tools, Ability to create boot disk, Support for Windows registry editing and password changing from Linux.
Enterprise and Commercial Linux Operating Systems
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Red Hat Enterprise Linux has developed by the Red Hat, and they mainly concentrates on the server-side. In addition, You can also get the desktop edition from Red Hat. This is Commercial Linux Operating System.
Download Redhat Enterprise Linux
SUSE Enterprise Linux
SUSE Enterprise Linux offers many Admin tools than other Enterprise Linux system that makes Admin job easier. In addition, SUSE also, develops multiple products that has long life cycle typically 7 to 10 years. Besides, It gives the stability and full technical support for users.
Download SUSE Enterprise Linux
#Windows Like LINUX OS
If you want to move from Windows to Linux, Just Install the Zorin OS in your system which is Ubuntu-based Linux Operating system. Zorin OS is an alternative to Windows and macOS, designed to make your computer faster, more powerful and secure. It offers Windows-like Graphical User Interface and many windows like Linux Applications for users.
Download Zorin OS
# For Gaming
The Steam Os is the the best gaming Linux Distribution. This is primarily designed for playing video games that provides console like Gaming experience. It is based on the Debian Linux Distro. Users can play native linux games, Multi player Online games provided by Steam.
Since this Linux Distro is Primarily for gaming, You can’t expect the File Managers ,Image viewers by default. The OS natively supports the Nvidia, Intel, and AMD graphics processors.
Download Stream OS
# Mac Like Linux OS
Pearl Linux is the Ubuntu-based Linux Operating system for new Linux users. A stable Mac OS X Styled Linux Distribution.