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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is a Linux Distribution?
3.
10 Best Linux Distros You Should Use
3.1.
1. Ubuntu
3.2.
2. Fedora
3.3.
3. Debian
3.4.
4. Linux Mint
3.5.
5. CentOS
3.6.
6. Arch Linux
3.7.
7. POP!_OS
3.8.
8. Manjaro
3.9.
9. EndeavourOS
3.10.
10. Garuda Linux
4.
How to Choose the Right Distro
5.
Frequently Asked Questions
5.1.
Which Linux OS is fastest?
5.2.
Which is lightest Linux OS?
5.3.
Is Mint better than Ubuntu?
5.4.
What is the most difficult Linux distro to use?
6.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Best Linux Distros of 2023

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Introduction

The Linux operating system is celebrated for its flexibility, stability, and enhanced security features. However, one of its key strengths lies in the variety of distributions, commonly known as distros, it offers. This article will walk you through some of the best Linux distros, their features, and what they bring to the table.

Best Linux Distros

What is a Linux Distribution?

In essence, a Linux distribution is an operating system made from a software collection, which is based upon the Linux kernel and, often, a package management system. The different distributions simply come with various software options pre-installed and configured. Let's explore some popular distros.

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10 Best Linux Distros You Should Use

1. Ubuntu

ubuntu

Ubuntu is a popular, open-source Linux distribution based on Debian. It is known for its user-friendly interface, extensive community support, and regular release cycles. Ubuntu provides a robust and secure operating system for desktops, servers, and cloud environments. The Unity desktop environment (until version 17.04) and GNOME (from 17.10 onwards) offer intuitive interfaces. Ubuntu Software Center simplifies software installation. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, focuses on stability and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced users in various computing environments.

# Updating Ubuntu via terminal
sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Pros and Cons of Ubuntu:

Pros of Ubuntu Cons of Ubuntu
User-Friendly Interface Resource Usage can be high on older hardware
Vast Software Repository Transition from Unity to GNOME might be an adjustment
Community Support Privacy concerns have been raised, although addressed
Regular Updates Some proprietary software may lack native support
Security Features Default software choices may not suit all preferences
Stability (LTS Releases) Non-LTS releases have a short support cycle

System Requirements:

The system requirements for Ubuntu can vary slightly based on the specific version or variant (desktop, server, etc.), here are the general requirements for Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 LTS:

  • Processor (CPU): 2 GHz dual-core processor
  • Memory (RAM): 4 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 25 GB of free hard drive space
  • Graphics: A graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Display: Either a USB port for the installation media or a DVD drive for burning the image to a disc

2. Fedora

fedora


Fedora, sponsored by Red Hat, is a dynamic Linux distribution renowned for its commitment to open-source principles and its role as a testing ground for cutting-edge technologies. With a rapid release cycle, Fedora ensures users have access to the latest software innovations, kernels, and features. Its default GNOME desktop environment provides a clean and user-friendly interface, while alternative spins offer diverse options catering to various user preferences. Utilizing the dnf package manager, Fedora excels in software management with robust dependency resolution. The integration of Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) underscores its commitment to system security. Governed by the community-driven Fedora Project, the distribution stands as a testament to collaborative efforts and serves developers, enthusiasts, and those seeking a balance between stability and the forefront of open-source advancements in the Linux ecosystem.

Pros and Cons of Fedora:

Pros of Fedora Cons of Fedora
Rapid Release Cycle Shorter support period compared to some other distributions
Bleeding-Edge Software May have occasional stability issues with the latest features
Diverse Desktop Environment Spins Some proprietary software may not be readily available
dnf Package Manager Learning curve for users new to Red Hat-based package management
SELinux Integration Steeper hardware requirements compared to lighter distributions
Community-Driven More emphasis on bleeding-edge features than long-term stability
Focus on Free and Open-Source Software Principles Limited corporate backing compared to enterprise-focused distros

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for Fedora. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official Fedora documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 2 GHz dual-core processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 4 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 25 GB of free space
  • Graphics: A graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Display: USB port or DVD drive for installation

3. Debian

debian

Debian stands as a stalwart in the Linux community, renowned for its rock-solid stability, commitment to free software principles, and extensive software repository. Operating as the foundation for numerous distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian prioritizes system integrity and security. It supports multiple architectures, making it versatile but may be perceived as less user-friendly for beginners due to its initial setup complexities. While offering a reliable and stable environment, Debian's conservative approach to software updates might result in older versions lacking the latest features.

# Installing a package in Debian
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install package-name

Pros and Cons of Debian:

Pros of Debian Cons of Debian
Stable and Reliable Older software versions for stability may lack the latest features
Extensive Software Repository Longer release cycles compared to some other distributions
Community-Driven Slower adoption of new technologies compared to rolling releases
System Integrity and Security May require additional configurations for proprietary drivers
Supports Multiple Architectures Initial setup may be perceived as less user-friendly for beginners

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for Debian. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official Debian documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 1 GHz processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 1 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 10 GB of free space

4. Linux Mint

linuxmint

Linux Mint, derived from Ubuntu, embraces a user-centric approach with a focus on delivering a seamless out-of-the-box experience. Boasting a variety of desktop environments and a robust software manager, it offers stability and reliability. While it may lack the corporate backing of some distributions, Linux Mint's community support and emphasis on user-friendly interfaces make it an attractive choice, even if it occasionally experiences delays in adopting the latest features.

Pros and Cons of Linux Mint:

Pros of Linux Mint Cons of Linux Mint
User-Friendly Interface May not offer the same level of corporate backing as some distros
Robust Software Manager New features may be delayed compared to distributions like Arch
Desktop Environment Variety Heavy reliance on Ubuntu's repositories, inherits their policies
Stability and Reliability Rolling release model not available (but Linux Mint Debian Edition exists)
Community Support May have fewer pre-installed applications compared to other distros

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for Linux Mint. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official Linux Mint documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 1 GHz dual-core processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 1 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 25 GB of free space
  • Graphics: A graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Display: USB port or DVD drive for installation

5. CentOS

centos

CentOS, originating from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), positions itself as a stable, secure, and free enterprise-class Linux distribution. Ideal for servers and enterprise environments, CentOS boasts enterprise-grade support, a predictable release cycle, and long-term support (LTS). While it may lack the latest desktop features and user-friendly interfaces, CentOS serves as a conservative choice, emphasizing stability and security in server-centric environments.

Pros and Cons of CentOS:

Pros of CentOS Cons of CentOS
Stable and Secure Slower adoption of newer software compared to Fedora
Enterprise-Grade Support Limited desktop environment options
Predictable Release Cycle May not have the latest hardware support out of the box
Ideal for Servers and Enterprise Environments Less emphasis on desktop features and user-friendly interfaces
Long-Term Support (LTS) A more conservative choice, not as feature-rich as some desktop-oriented distros

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for CentOS. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official CentOS documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 2 GHz dual-core processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 2 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 25 GB of free space

6. Arch Linux

arch linux

Arch Linux is a minimalist and rolling-release distribution known for its simplicity and customizability. It employs a "build-as-you-go" philosophy, allowing users to tailor their system components. Arch embraces the Arch Wiki for documentation, fostering a hands-on and learning-centric approach. Its rolling-release model provides access to the latest software, but the initial setup demands a higher level of user involvement.

Pros and Cons of Arch Linux:

Pros of Arch Linux Cons of Arch Linux
Minimalist and Customizable Steeper learning curve, more suitable for experienced users
Rolling-Release Model Initial installation can be challenging for beginners
Extensive Documentation (Arch Wiki) No default desktop environment, users build their preferred setup
Access to the Latest Software Requires manual configuration and maintenance
Highly Active and Supportive Community May lack the conveniences of more user-friendly distributions

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for Arch Linux. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official Arch Linux documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 1 GHz dual-core processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 512 MB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 10 GB of free space
  • Graphics: A graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Display: USB port or DVD drive for installation

7. POP!_OS

pop!_os

POP!_OS, developed by System76, is an Ubuntu-based distribution designed for simplicity and out-of-the-box hardware compatibility. It focuses on providing a user-friendly experience, especially for System76 hardware, with features like the Pop Shell tiling window manager. POP!_OS features a curated set of applications and aims to enhance productivity with a streamlined interface.

Pros and Cons of POP!_OS:

Pros of POP!_OS Cons of POP!_OS
User-Friendly Interface Limited software availability compared to larger repositories
Out-of-the-Box Hardware Compatibility System76 hardware optimizations may not fully benefit all users
Pop Shell Tiling Window Manager Not as many customization options as some other distributions
Focus on Productivity and Workflow Relatively smaller community compared to more established distros
Regular Updates and Support May not cater to users who prefer a more traditional interface

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for POP!_OS. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official POP!_OS documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 1 GHz dual-core processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 2 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 46 GB of free space
  • Graphics: A graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Display: USB port or DVD drive for installation

8. Manjaro

manjaro linux

Manjaro is an Arch-based distribution that strives to provide the power of Arch with a more user-friendly approach. It offers multiple desktop environments, a user-friendly installer, and its own software repositories. Manjaro inherits the rolling-release model, ensuring users have access to the latest software without the complexity of Arch's initial setup.

Pros and Cons of Manjaro:

Pros of Manjaro Cons of Manjaro
Arch-Based with User-Friendly Approach Occasional delays in receiving the latest Arch software updates
Rolling-Release Model Potential for compatibility issues due to rapid updates
User-Friendly Installer Smaller community compared to more established distributions
Multiple Desktop Environment Options May not suit users who prefer the strict simplicity of Arch
Access to Arch's Extensive Software Repositories Customizations and modifications may introduce system instability

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for Manjaro. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official Manjaro documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 1 GHz dual-core processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 2 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 30 GB of free space
  • Graphics: A graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Display: USB port or DVD drive for installation

9. EndeavourOS

endeavouros

EndeavourOS, also based on Arch, aims to provide a more straightforward installation process while preserving the power and flexibility of Arch. It follows a rolling-release model, offering users access to the latest software. EndeavourOS encourages users to build their systems and fosters a supportive community.

Pros and Cons of EndeavourOS:

Pros of EndeavourOS Cons of EndeavourOS
Simplified Arch Installation Process Less polished than some more mainstream distributions
Rolling-Release Model Not as user-friendly as distributions specifically designed for beginners
User-Driven and Supportive Community May require more manual configuration compared to beginner-oriented distros
Access to Arch's Extensive Software Repositories Limited official support compared to larger corporate-backed distros
Options for Desktop Environment and Package Selection May not be suitable for users seeking a fully pre-configured system

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for EndeavourOS. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official EndeavourOS documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 1 GHz dual-core processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 2 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 30 GB of free space
  • Graphics: A graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Display: USB port or DVD drive for installation

10. Garuda Linux

garuda linux

Garuda Linux, based on Arch, emphasizes performance and aesthetics. It offers various desktop environments, pre-installed themes, and system optimizations. Garuda strives to provide a user-friendly experience while maintaining the flexibility and power of Arch Linux.

Pros and Cons of Garuda Linux:

Pros of Garuda Linux Cons of Garuda Linux
Performance Optimization and Aesthetics Rapid updates may lead to occasional stability issues
User-Friendly System Configuration Customizations may impact system stability
Access to Arch's Extensive Software Repositories May have a steeper learning curve compared to more beginner-friendly distros
Multiple Desktop Environment Options Smaller community compared to more established distributions
Gaming Optimizations Heavy use of system resources compared to lightweight distros

System Requirements:

Here are the general system requirements for Garuda Linux. Keep in mind that these requirements may change with newer releases, and it's advisable to check the official Garuda Linux documentation for the most up-to-date information.

  • Processor (CPU): 1 GHz dual-core processor or equivalent
  • Memory (RAM): 2 GB RAM
  • Storage (Hard Drive): 100 GB of free space
  • Graphics: A graphics card capable of 1024x768 resolution
  • Display: USB port or DVD drive for installation

How to Choose the Right Distro

Choosing the right Linux distro depends on your individual needs and level of expertise. For beginners, Ubuntu or Linux Mint can be a great start. For more advanced users seeking a customizable experience, Arch Linux might be the right choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Linux OS is fastest?

"Speed" can depend on various factors, but lightweight distributions like Alpine Linux, Arch Linux, or Void Linux are known for speed.

Which is lightest Linux OS?

Lightweight options include Puppy Linux, Tiny Core Linux, and antiX, known for minimal resource usage.

Is Mint better than Ubuntu?

Mint is based on Ubuntu and adds user-friendly features. The choice depends on preferences; both are popular and stable.

What is the most difficult Linux distro to use?

Arch Linux is often considered challenging due to its manual installation and rolling release model, requiring more user involvement.

Conclusion

The beauty of Linux lies in its versatility and the array of distributions it offers. Whether you're a beginner dipping your toes into the world of Linux or an experienced user seeking control and flexibility, there's a Linux distro perfectly suited for your needs. As always, the choice ultimately depends on what you want your operating system to accomplish for you.

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