Linux is not a single operating system. Instead, you can customize different distributions or “distributions” for different purposes.
Every Linux version uses the same kernel. That is, the “kernel” of Linux. But these Linux versions may differ in all other respects. This includes what they look like, what features are included, and what software packages are preinstalled.
Below are the best Linux distributions that we think most people should try.
Perhaps the most famous major Linux release, Ubuntu Linux is focused on competing with Windows 10 and macOS as desktop operating systems. We often recommend Ubuntu as your Linux distribution if you are looking for a more or less suitable replacement for these two market leaders. It is considered by many to be the best Linux distribution.
Ubuntu also gets most of the third-party software support when compared to other Linux distributions. If there is a Linux version of a commercial software package, you can be sure that it has at least been tested with Ubuntu
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If you are some kind of gamer, Ubuntu offers the best features as well. Steam has done a great job of offering Linux versions of games, or getting Windows versions to run on Linux through their SteamPlay initiative. This cannot be done on other distributions, but development has been focused on Ubuntu and seems to have the least amount of problems.
Ubuntu also has the best support of any desktop Linux distribution. It is maintained by dedicated organization Canonical and does not rely solely on the kindness of the community to stay updated.
Aside from Ubuntu, the name Linux Mint may be just as common. While not backed by an institution as large as Canonical, Mint is preferred by many users. Mint requires fewer system resources, making it a good choice for older computers or netbook-class laptops.
It’s a little more minimal than Ubuntu and, depending on how you look at it, is more simplistic as a result. Peppermint also has several features that make it a little safer for beginners. For example, software repositories can be returned to their default state.
Mint also includes a number of apps and features out of the box that need to be installed as add-ons on Ubuntu You can also easily add proprietary add-ons like codecs straight from the software repositories. This is a more convenient approach for novice users.
Finally, Cinnamon, which is one of the main interface options for Mint, offers a smoother transition for users transitioning from the Windows interface. This is why Mint is so often recommended for those new to Linux.
Due to how popular and successful Ubuntu is, many small distributions are based on the vanilla version of Ubuntu Manjaro, on the other hand, is based on the respected Arch Linux. Arch is built around the idea of ??being completely customizable, so the installation process is quite complicated, but for the Linux guru it is one of the best Linux distributions out there.
Manjaro takes all the good stuff about Arch and tries to keep it that way by offering a beginner-friendly Linux distribution. Manjaro also has great hardware support and direct access to the Arch software repository in addition to its own Manjaro repository. Manjaro also receives updates as soon as the Manjaro team can test them. Whereas, you will have to wait for major planned releases when it comes to big distributions like Ubuntu
Many people think Linux is always free, but the truth is, it costs money to use Linux for professional, mission-critical purposes. You may not have to pay directly for the software, but you will need paid support. This is the licensing model for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is often the operating system that the servers of large organizations run on.
CentOS is a free community add-on for Red Hat Enterprise, so it is compatible with any software packages developed specifically for this commercial distribution. Since stability and reliability are the main goals of CentOS, you won’t find the latest features and updates in the operating system. Updates are filtered to CentOS only when they are considered sufficiently bug-free and not a security risk.
Each CentOS release has a ten year support cycle, making it a great choice if you want to run your own server. However, those looking for a desktop operating system might be better off looking elsewhere. Since CentOS is pretty weak as a desktop OS.
Tails is a special version of Linux that is not intended to be used as the main permanent operating system of a computer. Instead, Tails is a portable operating system that you can boot almost any computer from an external drive.
Tails is an abbreviation for The Amnesiac Incognito Live System . This tells you pretty much everything you need to know. However, to be clear, this is a privacy-focused version of Linux that is very popular with journalists, activists, and others who want to use the Internet anonymously.
Tails leaves no residue on any computer it is used on. After you have rebooted the machine, it is as if you were never on it. Likewise, every time you boot Tails, it resets to its factory defaults. It also integrates the Tor browser, ensuring that you not only don’t leave fingerprints on the respective computer, but also hide your real identity from the sites you visit.
Tails is not intended for everyday use, but it is a Linux distribution that should be part of your toolbox. It is better to have and not to need than the other way around.
Linux goes places
While Linux still has a tiny share of the desktop market that can be called its own, the versatile open source OS is not going anywhere. We are seeing more support from developers and a big move to the cloud. So the era of desktop Linux may only now begin its golden age.
If, after reviewing these best Linux distros, you’re still not sure about moving from Windows to Linux, check out 5 Good Reasons to Ditch Windows for Linux. Alternatively, if you’re already a Linux user but are worried about what software is available, take a look at the top 20 Linux apps ever. If you are thinking about Linux because you want to be cool H4XX0R, then redirect yourself to the 9 best Linux distributions to crack. If you just want to play games, then your next stop is “What’s the best Linux distribution for gaming?”
Finally, if you’re still worried that Linux is too complicated for you, take a look at Introduction to Linux for Beginners and The Ubuntu Linux Guide for Beginners. Linux need not be afraid! Once you embrace its quirky culture and philosophy, you’re bound to (at least) broaden your horizons as a computer user.