The Best Beginner Linux Distros
A Linux distribution, or “distro” is a type of operating system that’s based on the Linux kernel, but has been altered and modified to suit a particular set of user needs. And what started out as a way of putting out free and open-source software for developers quickly turned into a massive online world that’s now home to thousands of different distros. Long-time Windows users might be blown away by the sheer amount of choice when it comes the number of Linux distros available.
So, for those that are feeling a bit overwhelmed by which to try, these are the distros that are the most user-friendly for beginners.
1. Linux Mint
By far the most recommended distro for those first entering the Linux scene, Linux Mint is known as being a user-friendly, stable, and easy-to-use operating system that provides all the tools necessary for a user to do work, play video games, and much more.
It’s free to download, it’s quick to set up, and it requires very little learning on the user’s behalf. Transitioning from Windows to Linux Mint is extremely easy, but users can expect snappier performance, more customisation, and a great community.
Ubuntu is arguably the most well-known of the distros, and is the most popular in use today. Based on Debian, Ubuntu is what most new Linux users will use when they first switch over due to the prevalence of the distro and how widely distributed it has become over the last few decades.
The latest iteration offers a fast, sleep experience that, while quite different to Windows, does not take long to get used to, and offers some of the best support in terms of software.
3. Manjaro Linux
Debian and Arch are the two big players in the Linux world, where Debian tends to release updates slowly and focus on stability, and Arch is all about the latest, cutting-edge software, with less of a focus on stability. Manjaro bridges this gap somewhat by being based on Arch, but all updates are first checked out by the Manjaro maintainers before being released to the public.
This means that users of Manjaro can enjoy some of the latest software while avoiding much of the instability that’s associated with bleeding edge tech, perfect for gaming, work, or just checking out the latest games. It’s also easy to install and use, although it’s worth noting that due to its rolling-release schedule, large updates can happen frequently.
4. MX Linux
MX Linux, unlike Manjaro, is instead based on Debian, with a specific focus on stability. It comes with the XFCE desktop environment, allowing for endless customisation and plenty of software support. MX Linus has become a fan favourite over the last few years, and the latest version, 19.3 is one of the very best yet.
MX Linux is worth checking out for those that have older hardware that they want to get going again. For really older hardware, MX’s sister operating system, antiX, can bring just about any ancient system back to life.