Linux has come a long way from a command-line interface to an intuitive and stunning graphical user interface. Today all the Linux distros come with a beautiful desktop environment, easy to use interface, and user-friendly motto implementation in the core. I rather just say that Linux does not only come with a nice looking desktop manager but also it offers a wide range of a useful and effective set of free and open source software for completing all the basic and advanced needs. I personally use one of the best and popular Linux distros, Ubuntu, and always recommend others to use or at least try all the most popular Linux distro and get settled with anyone which shows promising and best fitted for that individual users.
Most Popular Linux Distros
The global operating-system market is majorly settled on three platforms that include: Windows, Apple macOS, and Linux distributions. With Linux, the underlying essence might be the same; software solutions around it can be combined in different ways by vendors known as distributions. This post speaks about some of the popular Linux distributions of all time that beginners may find ideal.
8. Zorin OS
Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that was initially released in the year 2009. The installation of the operating system is straightforward. You just need to use a bootable USB maker like Etcher and Rufus.
Zorin OS is built based on Ubuntu; therefore, the installation will be pretty much the same. Just follow the installer instruction to set it up. Moreover, as per your wish, you can install Zorin OS on the entire hard disk or multi-boot with an operating system.
One of the key features of Zorin O.S. is its theme engine known as “Zorin look changer.” This theme engine offers heavy customization options and allows you to change your desktop according to the environment you are familiar with, whether it is Windows, macOS, or Ubuntu Unity.
With Zorin, you get some amazing applications that improve the user experience to a large extent. These applications include Maps, Weather, Photos, and videos. These applications further support other applications. For instance, photos application supports Google Photos, whereas video application works with popular video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
7. Elementary OS
Elementary OS is another popular Linux distro based on Ubuntu. It has been marketed as an operating system designed for users who are new to Linux-based computer systems.
Initially released in 2009, the O.S. lets users change the entire appearance of the interface and make it look like Microsoft Windows or Mac operating system.
So, this is an advantage to Windows or macOS users switching to Linux. Its menu is quite simple that you can customize according to your preference.
With Elementary OS, you will find a very small number of pre-installed software. If you are looking for more software, you can go through their AppCenter. This application center has all the important applications under one roof.
6. Gentoo Linux
Gentoo Linux is built using the portage package management system that was initially released on 26th July 2000. This Linux distribution is believed to be the hardest one to install. The amount of time it takes to be installed is the biggest hurdle. Still, it has a lot of benefits, making it popular among web developers.
Its biggest advantage is that it comes with comprehensive documentation that tells you exactly what you need to know. You get to know which kernel modules you have to add. The documentation also provides a step-by-step guide to installation, update, and troubleshooting for your desktop.
Their community is limited relatively, but you easily get the help you need. You will find a lot of volunteers that are ready to help you.
5. Manjaro Linux
Manjaro is one of the popular Linux distros based on Arch Linux. This Linux distro is best fitted and user-friendly for both newcomers and advanced users. As it’s based on Arch Linux, it does support a total of three sets of software repositories, including Unstable, Testing and Stable software repositories. Manjaro supports both command-line packages and GUI software installation – “Pacman.”
Developed by Guillaume Benoit and Philip Muller, Manjaro Linux is one of the top Linux distributions. It was first released on July 10, 2011. The operating system is exceptionally beginner-friendly. A lot of things are automated now like driver installation does not need manual installation.
The O.S. automatically negates the hardware driver issues. Still, if you get one, you can go through their community support. The operating system has its own distinct software repository where you find the latest software.
The Manjaro Linux comes in Gnome, KDE, and XFCE. To install any of these operating systems, you need to create a bootable USB stick.
What makes this operating system distinct from other distributions is that it is not based on Ubuntu. Instead, it is built using Arch Linux. With some Linux OS, it can be daunting to get all your hardware working. Luckily, this is not the case with Manjaro. It is designed in the manner it automatically scans the systems and installs the required drivers.
- Supports both cutting edge software base and stable application base in line with Arch.
- Comes in many flavors like KDE, Cinnamon, LXDE, MATE, LXQt, Gnome, Xfce, and much more.
- Offers a very easy and intuitive installation process.
- Comes with a set of pre-installed packages including multimedia codecs to enjoy audio and video.
- Extensive desktop configures ability.
- You can install multiple kernels and offers a special bash script for managing graphics drivers.
Recommended System Requirement
- 1GB of memory
- 30GB of hard disk space
- 1Ghz processor
- A high definition (HD) graphics card and monitor
- A broadband internet connection
OpenSUSE is a community-sponsored one of the stable Linux distro made by SUSE Linux and other companies – Novell. After using the same code base in collaboration and sync with SUSE Linux Enterprise – SLE, it stops to release the regular version rather than focusing on stable and long life cycles. So basically, OpenSUSE code takes all the useful features from SUSE Linux Enterprise and gives vice versa.
- OpenSUSE has total three main goal – make OpenSUSE the easiest and widely used Linux Distro, make OpenSUSE the most usable desktop environment for newbie and experienced users based on openly sourced collaboration, make OpenSUSE simple, easy, and best choice for development and packaging processes to Linux developers and software vendors.
- Comes with a lot of variations, including Cinnamon, GNOME, IceWM, KDE, LXDE, Openbox, WMaker, Xfce.
- It does not focus on regular release rather rolling for a long-term cycle and cutting edge stable features.
Minimum System Requirement
- Pentium 4 1.6 GHz or higher processor (Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or higher or any AMD64 or Intel64 processor recommended).
- Main memory: 1 GB physical RAM (2 GB recommended).
- Hard disk: 3 GB available disk space for a minimal install, 5 GB available for a graphical desktop (more recommended).
- Sound and graphics cards: supports most modern sound and graphics cards, 800 x 600 display resolution (1024 x 768 or higher recommended).
- Booting from DVD drive or USB-Stick for installation.
Ubuntu is one of the most popular, stable, and best fitted for the newcomers, which is a Debian based Linux distro. It has its own software repositories, which regularly synced with the Debian repository so that all the applications get stable and latest release. Canonical develops ubuntu, and this company has devoted a great effort to make the ubuntu as popular and well known in the Linux community, which now greatly supports a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets, PCs, servers, and cloud VPS.
According to W3Techs, Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions on web servers. It has a market share of 32.1%. If you are looking to start your Linux journey, Ubuntu can be an ideal path. Ubuntu is considered Linux for human beings. The reason is, the platform has put in a lot of effort to make it more user-friendly. It does not require you to be technically sound to use it.
The installation procedure is also very easy as you get instructions in plain English language (You may choose other languages as well). Moreover, you are allowed to try out Ubuntu before you go through the installation procedure.
With Ubuntu, you get options to:
- Install Ubuntu deleting the older operating system.
- Install Ubuntu alongside the existing operating system. You get this choice at every startup to choose the operating system to boot.
- Configure partitions for users.
Since Ubuntu, by default, comes with Bash in its command line, it can be the right choice for people learning programming or web coding. With Ubuntu, it is easier to work on servers, local files, and development environments.
Moreover, with this operating system (OS), you hardly get issues with drivers download and installations. Usually, the installation comes with basic software solutions such as a music player, video player, and an office suite.
Speaking of customer support, it is not as devoted as you get with the Windows operating system. However, it has comprehensive documentation and community support. Users may raise their queries in forums and Ask Ubuntu.
- This Linux Distro is a rock-solid stable and secure OS.
- Ubuntu comes with various desktop environments like Gnome, Unity, KDE, XFCE, MATE, etc.
- Though Ubuntu is based on Debian, it’s also the foundation for Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Deepin, and much much more.
- Users can try all the core features before installing the full Ubuntu desktop using the installation image.
- Best and Most user-friendly for new users on Linux who do not know Gnome from bash.
- Many of the essential apps come pre-installed, and the user can install all the necessary software from the official apps repository.
- It’s one of the best customizable Linux distros for the advanced users.
- Ubuntu comes with one of the best, smooth, modern, and unique in-house built desktop environment, “ Unity.”
- Each after six months, it offers new releases, and every two years, it releases a Long Term Support (LTS).
Minimum System Requirement
- 700 MHz processor
- 512 MiB RAM
- 5 GB of hard-drive space
- VGA capable of 1024×768 screen resolution
- Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media
- Internet access is helpful
Debian is the most stable Linux distro, which comes to a motto of free OS and a huge set of free software for everyone. Debian does not focus on new releases frequently like Ubuntu and Linux Mint, but its prime focus on a super stable release. For that reason, Debian releases a stable version every 2 years. Debian basically a grandfather distro, which is used for making many popular and effective distros, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Deepin, Elementary OS, etc.
In the Linux distributions market, Debian has been a consistent climber. It is counted among one of the earliest operating systems. However, relatively, it has fewer numbers of hits. Moreover, it seems they commit to a slow-and-steady release.
Debian makes it easy to install new applications and configure the old ones. Being an administrator, you won’t need to be worried about library problems, overwriting previous versions of configuration files, etc. as the package system itself handles these things.
The OS comes with a large number of software programs (almost 51000). Even if you have proprietary software which runs under GNU/Linux, you can still use Debian. Currently, the O.S. is supporting a large number of kernels and architectures such as alpha, armel, hppa, i386, mipsel, sparc, etc.
In comparison to other Linux distributors, Debian is quite fast and easy on memory. Speaking of security, Debian is utterly responsive. It ensures the quick fixes of security problems. The good thing is that the fixed packages are uploaded within a few days.
- Debian always comes with a super stable version that is thoroughly tested and bug fixed.
- More than 50000 stable and free software is there in the Debian repositories.
- Literally, a user can find each and every effective and useful application in the Debian software repository, which is entirely free.
- Comes with all the desktop flavor that a user can imagine like AfterStep, Awesome, Black Box, Cinnamon, Fluxbox, flwm, FVWM, GNOME, i3, IceWM, ion, JWM, KDE, LXDE, MATE, Openbox, pekwm, Ratpoison, LXQt, WMaker, XBMC, Xfce.
Minimum System Requirement
- Minimum RAM: 256MB.
- Recommended RAM: 512MB.
- Hard Drive Space: 10 GB.
- Minimum 1GHz Pentium processor.
1. Linux Mint
Linux Mint is the #1 most popular and best user-friendly Ubuntu-based Linux distro available out there. Linux Mint is a similarly perfect fit for both newcomers and advanced users. The main motto of Linux Mint is “From freedom came elegance” which provides a stable, powerful, easy to use, and a complete out of the box experience.
Linux Mint is a community-driven Linux distribution that is considered both easy to use and powerful. It does not disappoint the newbies who are in the phase of habituating themselves with Linux software packages. Not only its software easy to use but also grouped under the categories.
Linux Mint offers multimedia support without any need to install any software. Clement Lefebvre formed the project Linux Mint and developed by the Linux Mint Team and Community.
Linux Mint is also earning praise for its performance. It runs fine on older computers as well. It is built upon the robust Ubuntu base and uses the same software solutions as Ubuntu. If you had been a Windows 7 lovers earlier, the good news is that Linux Mint desktop is quite similar to Windows 7. You will find a similar toolbar, menus, and tray icons.
- Linux Mint is a Ubuntu-based Linux distro so that it will be fully compatible with Ubuntu software repositories.
- Comes with a full-packed system including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java, and other components.
- Linux Mint comes with a set of different flavors as per user’s need, including Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, MATE, Xfce.
- Its installation process is super easy for any newbies to go ahead.
- If you like Mac OS, then definitely, you must go for the Linux Mint Cinnamon desktop environment, which is super stable and looks elegant.
Minimum System Requirement
- 512MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
- 9GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
- Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution (1024×768 recommended).
- DVD drive or USB port.
Linux Adoption In Server Market
In the past few years, Linux has gradually taken over the web server market as well. According to W3Techs.com, Linux Server is being used by 37.0% of all the websites whose operating we know. Check out the percentages of websites using various Linux distributions below.
Reasons for Linux Popularity
1. Open Source Nature
As compared to other operating systems, Linux is entirely open sourced. The plus point of Linux is that you can look at its source code, which has allowed it to become quite popular.
With Linux being an open source, various distributions are accessible to the end-user. The few of the distributions that are available to the end-user are Mint, Debian, Ubuntu, and Fedora. You can download these distributions for free.
Linux is a lot more secure than the other operating systems. Its concept of repositories, the process of package management, and a few other features make it more secure.
With Linux, you don’t need to purchase or download antivirus programs to keep your desktop free from malware and hacks. But, there are a few software tools available to keep your computer away from threats.
Having a secure operating system by nature will not only make things easier for you but also help you to save money that you would have otherwise spent to purchase a premium antivirus software.
3. Software Updates
With the Linux operating system, you will observe more and regular updates to fix the issues you might be facing. Not only that, but you will also notice quick software updates. Whereas, the other operating systems force a software update only when a system gets a couple of issues together or if something big has to be fixed.
One of the biggest advantages of using a Linux operating system is that it comes with a large number of customization options. So, if you like adjusting or setting up the looks of your system, then Linux is the best choice for you.
With Linux, in addition to installing themes, you get various other icon themes. Also, you can do a lot more with wallpapers in Linux.
5. Variety of Distributions
As you can read in this post as well, there are various Linux distributions available to cater to different needs. So according to your requirements, you can select to install any of the Linux distros available.
There are Linux distributions available for programmers, hackers, and even for extremely old computer systems.
6. Free to Use
Linux is available for free to the public, which is not the case with other operating systems. You don’t have to pay a hefty amount to get a genuine copy of Linux distributions such as Fedora or Ubuntu.
What’s Your Favorite One?
So here are some of the well-known and popular Linux distributions. Whether you are new to Linux or wondering which Linux distribution you should choose to start your journey, hopefully, this post will help you make an informed decision.
Which one did you like from the above list of most popular Linux distro? Did you try all or just one? Share your Linux experiences and suggestions with the other users in the comment below. And share this article with your friends and family through social media and spread Linux love to all.