The best Linux distributions for all types of users
The truth is that it is not as popular an operating system as Windows 10 macOS, especially when we talk about personal computers. On the other hand, when we talk about servers or programming environments, it is when Linux takes much more strength. Even so, more and more people are interested in trying this operating system. If you are one of them, surely you are interested in reviewing this complete compilation with the best Linux distributions for all types of users and their needs.
Now, the most inexperienced may wonder what exactly a Linux distribution is and what it includes. As there are so many different distributions and variations, we are going to help you choose the one that may interest you the most. Before that, let’s start at the beginning.
What is a Linux distribution?
A Linux distribution or also known colloquially as a distro, is a software distribution based on the Linux kernel and that includes certain packages to offer certain features or functions to the user. Therefore, a Linux distribution is software that contains other software packages, which are generally free, and which add certain applications or drivers to meet the needs of users.
In addition to the Linux kernel, a distro usually includes libraries and tools from the GNU project and the X Window System, and may also include other types of interesting software such as word processors, spreadsheets, multimedia players, etc. In the case of including software packages from the GNU project, then they are also called GNU/Linux distribution, which we have surely seen on numerous occasions.
There are currently a lot of Linux distributions. Each one of them can fit better for each type of user, that is, those who are starting in this environment, more advanced users who seek to get the most out of the system, those who seek greater privacy, a light system for computers or less powerful computers or those that have an interface as similar as possible to your usual operating system. For this reason, first of all, it will be better that we choose the distro that we are going to use based on our needs or knowledge.
Advantages and disadvantages of Linux
Like any other operating system, Linux has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is essential to take into account all aspects before delving into this software and installing it on your computer. However, Linux has very simple distros, so you can even use it with the same ease as Windows.
Among the advantages to emphasize are the following:
- Linux distros are very fast, agile, intuitive and efficient. Therefore, they work perfectly both on old computers and on computers with little power.
- It’s free. Therefore, you will not have to pay anything for the software. Also, if you are an advanced user, you can even make modifications or install free applications.
- As we mentioned before, it does not require great computer knowledge. Linux distros are designed so that anyone can access their software and resolve their doubts through the configuration and help wizard.
- Their distros have great stability and are very secure.
- Any instability or damage to the system is quickly recognized . In fact, vulnerabilities are fixed faster than any other operating system.
However, it also has some disadvantages that we should not ignore:
- Some games, especially if they require a lot of power, do not work on this operating system or do not work properly.
- You will have to adapt. Although Linux is very easy to use and does not require much knowledge, you may find it difficult to install specific applications or configure the hardware. Therefore, you may need to learn or ask for help.
- Many Windows applications are not available on Linux. And, although Linux has done a great job looking for alternatives to Windows programs (OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird…) it is possible that they do not have all the features.
However, its distros are still an excellent option , so it is worth getting into Linux, especially if your computer does not have great power.
If you haven’t started working with Linux or using it as your usual operating system yet, you can start with these simple and complete distros that are recommended for any user, without complications. They are in fact some of the most used by many users.
It is one of the oldest and most popular Linux distributions at the same time. For the vast majority it is the most stable distro, although there are other aspects to highlight such as the repositories, package managers and the community behind Debian. Debian is a free operating system that has been created by all kinds of users, it is a collaborative operating system in which all kinds of people work to update it, add features and keep it always up to date so that it is practical.
From its web page we can find all the information about it, but some of the reasons that its creators give for betting on it is that it is the seed and base of other Linux discs such as Ubuntu, for example. It’s been working since 1993 and has extensive hardware support plus frequent, hassle-free updates.
Download Debian .
It is another of the most chosen when it comes to installing a Linux distribution on any computer. And it is that its simple installation process means that we can have Ubuntu on our computer in the blink of an eye. It has an application store that allows the installation and updating of software from the graphical interface itself, which simplifies its use. It is very similar to Windows in terms of design, so the change will not be complicated for any user, from beginners to children. The community behind Ubuntu is another point in favor of this distribution.
It has a web page where you can find all the information and see all the download options, but also the details of its community or access a section of tutorials or videos on YouTube where they explain step by step how you can use Ubuntu on your computer. The tutorials can be ordered by difficulty so that you learn to install everything you need little by little, but also to create your own snaps , for example.
Download Ubuntu .
It is another of the most popular Linux distributions. It is based on Ubuntu, but there are big differences between both distros. Mint is much faster, lighter and easier to use, especially for users with little experience in a Linux environment. As soon as we install it, we will find a series of applications with which we will be able to start managing ourselves easily from the first moment.
Like the rest, Linux Mint has its own website where we can learn more details about the project, we can see the latest news or updates or we can go to “ Download ” to download the latest version. This distro is continuously updated and in the “all versions” section we can see how long each of them will have support for. Most of them have a support of about three, four or five years. In addition, you can also participate in forums or donate so that they continue working and improving the system.
Download Linux Mint .
It is one of the preferred distros for many users since it mixes an elegant and very manageable desktop with a simple configuration. In addition, MX Linux is stable and performant with an XFCE desktop environment that is easy for even novice users to configure and customize.
From its website we can see all the news and updates, continuously updated today, but we can also access a video section where we can learn to use MX Linux with simple tutorials and for all audiences.
Download MXLinux .
It is an open source Linux distribution that was born as a fork of Mandriva Linux and that, like its predecessor, KDE is its main and most used environment, although end users can choose among others such as GNOME, XFCE, Cinnamon, LXDE, etc Although it has its own installer, it is quite simple and easy to handle by anyone.
It is a stable and secure operating system for both your server and desktop where users can also collaborate. If you are interested, access the download section, if you want to know more you can do it in its documentation and community.
Download Magicia .
Although it is a fairly young distro, it has become one of the most used in recent years. It allows you to choose between three desktop interfaces, Budgie, GNOME or MATE, as well as making use of Firefox or Thunderbird . It also supports a large number of drivers for those who want to use one of these Linux distros to play the game from their computer.
It is an operating system for home use where you can easily manage your music, photos, documents, videos, other files, play music, browse with Mozilla Firefox, use email with Mozilla Thunderbird and much more. You can install and manage your apps from the Software Center .
Download solus .
It is another of the Linux distributions that has taken the most care of its interface, which simplifies its use for the most inexperienced users. A distro that is much more stable than in the beginning, is now based on Debian, and whose menus and interface elements are reminiscent of those of a tablet. Since its page is in Chinese, you better find a translator to deal with it.
It offers frequent updates with improvements to its features and security , in addition to having a good community behind it. Make sure you download the latest version. They have also warned that they will not provide the 32-bit version after version 15.4, although you can connect them for more tailored solutions.
Download Deepin .
Fedora is another of the distros that could not be missing from this compilation. It mainly uses the GNOME interface, although we can also use others such as XFCE , which makes its use quite simple. The high frequency with which it receives updates does not make it the most stable options, but it is certainly a great alternative for users who want to get started in the Linux environment.
It is a free platform for hardware, clouds and containers with which developers and community members build custom solutions for each user. If you have advanced knowledge you can not only use it, but also modify it to suit your needs and distribute it. It has a support and community section.
Download Fedora .
It is one of the distros that has one of the most attractive designs . It allows us to choose between several desktops depending on the resources our team has, KDE or QT, since it has been developed by Debian, KDE Technologies and Qt. If we have a powerful team we can choose one, while resources are more limited we can install the other.
They prioritize the use of AppImages to manage end-user software and have converged apps called Maui Apps, as well as free and open source software. Its installation is limited to a Live session without installation. There is direct installation or with mirrors, as well as more information so you know if it suits what you are looking for.
Download Nitrux .
Surely with the name they have already convinced you to give them a try, but this Linux distro is much more than that. If you are a beginner user, you will not know very well what we are talking about, but we are dealing with a distribution based on Ubuntu with some interesting new features that this system does not incorporate. Another interesting detail is that it is created and developed by System76.
Elements of Windows are mixed in its interface , both from version 10 and 11, something that will help the transition from these operating systems. But we also have elements of macOS, which gives it an interesting look, but also makes everything fast and intuitive. The desktop is clean and free of distractions so that we can be as efficient as possible when working.
Its creators confirm that it is compatible with the most popular programs such as Steam, Chrome (with Chromium), Firefox, Visual Studio, Atom, Spotify, VLC, Plex, Dropbox, Slack, Blender, Inkscape, Gimp, Discord or Telegram. These are just a few examples, but it is compatible with many more.
From this link you can download Pop!_OS Linux . We have several versions available there. A special one if we have an NVIDIA graphics card (since it includes the drivers), another special one to install on Raspberry Pi 4 and then the normal version. In addition, we have the traditional LTS version of extended support.
For advanced users
If you already have perfect control of Linux, there are some interesting distros that you can download and that are designed for those who are looking for additional features and better management of their operating system. Take advantage of your knowledge with them, you have several at your disposal, so we will tell you about the most outstanding ones. If you are a developer , you manage servers or you want something according to your specific needs and you know how to handle yourself, they are the most suitable.
It is another of the Linux distributions based on its large community, open source and, as its name suggests, derived from the SUSE system distributed by Novell. An RPM based system, so it has its origins in Red Hat Linux. Designed for both PC and server use , ideal for PC users, developers and system administrators.
With Tumbleweed you will have the newest Linux packages thanks to its continuously updated version. They include several notable tools like Open Build Service, OpenQA, Kiwi and others. It is distributed as an installable DVD that includes the KDE and GNOME desktop environments.
Download OpenSUSE .
A highly configurable and customizable distro but that requires some advanced knowledge to get the most out of it. It allows us to compile the software to our needs, although it does not have a graphical installation interface, which is why it is aimed at more advanced users.
To get hold of it for free, all you have to do is go to the download section of the website and choose the type of download that interests you. If you’re not sure which one you need to download, refer to the Gentoo manual for complete installation information. There are advanced options and other architectures. They are working to improve the distro.
It is one of the best server distros and a version of Red hat Enterprise Linux. This makes it very clear that this is one of the most stable and powerful Linux distributions. Of course, for the correct configuration and management of the system it is necessary to have certain prior knowledge about the Linux environment and to have previously worked with other distros.
You can download it from the page and even be part of the project as a collaborator. ISOs are available via Torrent. They give you advice if you are thinking of creating a USB bootable media. If you want to have more information about this distro, consult its page.
One of the best Linux distributions today, it is also of Spanish origin. However, it is more intended for advanced Linux users. During the installation, it allows us to choose which desktop environment and applications we want to install, although it does have an aesthetic that leaves a bit to be desired.
Keep it as simple as possible, with healthy defaults. Includes exclusive icon and desktop themes from the Numix Project. The catch is that the project has been discontinued.
Download Anteros .
It’s a Gentoo-based distribution, so that says a lot about it. A stable and reliable open source system that is easier to use than Gentoo itself, so it offers a user experience that is more accessible to everyone. With a single installation we can update with the latest version whenever we want and it offers multiple repositories.
It is a stable and reliable operating system, ready to use with the latest open source technologies in an elegant format, which you can download right now from its website. It is optimized for your hardware. It has multiple desktop environment: KDE, Gnome, Mate and XFCE and it is easy to customize.
Download Sabayon .
Although we could add it to the light Linux distributions, since it allows us to choose the packages that we want to install on our PC, the truth is that Arch Linux needs certain advanced knowledge to be able to configure and use it, which is why we have included it in this section, even though it is advertised as easy.
It is a flexible and lightweight solution , with official packages optimized for the x86-64 architecture. It has a great community that allows you to improve frequently. You can access their website to download it and learn more about this project.
Download ArchLinux .
It is one of the oldest and most stable Linux distributions . An advanced operating system that includes some of the most popular applications. Designed especially for more advanced users, SlackWare is compatible with both desktop and laptop computers as well as servers thanks to its great compatibility with all types of hardware.
Although when you log in it may have been updated again, today you can find the new stable version of Slackware 15.0 with many changes and improvements, including a revamped desktop experience. On their page you will find everything you need. You will also be able to meet Slackware Live Edition.
Download SlackWare .
Distributions that look similar to Windows or macOS
If you like other operating systems, but have discovered the benefits of working with Linux, we will tell you about some of the distributions that are most similar to Windows and macOS , so that it will be much easier for you to adapt to them. Some are based on the previous ones, including an interface very similar to these OS, so we will tell you about the main ones. They are also ideal for older people or those who do not handle much with technology.
Pear is a desktop Linux distro based on Ubuntu that stands out for its ease of use and for having an interface that is very reminiscent of macOS X. Therefore, if you are a Mac user , then it can be a great alternative to move to the Linux environment in a comfortable way.
Download Pear OS .
It is one of the Linux distributions that has taken the most care of its graphical interface, which bears a significant resemblance to macOS. But without a doubt, the most important thing is that this level of detail in its graphic interface does not imply that performance is affected , since it is a fairly light distro as long as we are going to run it on relatively modern computers.
Download ElementaryOS .
Zorin OS is a distribution of the GNU/Linux system based on Ubuntu and mainly oriented towards users less experienced in this environment. A distro that we could have included in the “for beginners” section and that, however, we have included in this one since it has a user interface very similar to that of the Microsoft operating system.
Download Zorion OS .
It is a very easy distro to install and use and that, in addition, requires low system requirements. Ideal for beginner users and especially for those who come from the Windows environment, since it has a similar desktop environment. It should also be noted that Manjaro uses Arch User Repositories, which further simplifies its use.
Download Manjaro .
To improve privacy
Beyond classifying them according to their difficulty, we can also classify them according to their functions. In the case of privacy , Linux is one of the great operating systems and these distros are designed to improve control of your data. If you are one of the people who is concerned about what use they can make of their data or what happens when they use their computer, you will like them. For those who want to browse anonymously, they are the most suitable.
It is perhaps the most popular privacy-focused Linux distro among users of the Linux environment. It can be run in live mode or persistent mode. All connections are made through the anonymous Tor network and each and every one of the tools that Tails has, have been carefully chosen to take care of the security of the users.
Download Tails .
Another Linux distro designed for anonymity and privacy is Ipredia OS. It is based on Fedora Linux and can run in Live mode or install to disk. It routes all connections through the I2P network so that we can browse in complete anonymity and therefore also allow access to special sites with the .i2p extension.
Download Predia OS .
Qubes OS is a Linux distribution developed to offer great privacy to users. It uses Xen Hypervisor to run different virtual machines where the risk applications will be executed and that allow us to protect our files against the download of any type of malware. Additionally, it uses sandboxing to protect system components.
Download Qubes OS.
It is one of the Linux distributions based on Debian and KDE desktop that offers a high level of security and privacy by completely isolating the system. It is made up of two parts, a virtual machine that acts as a gateway or gateway and is responsible for routing all connections to the Tor network and the one that contains all the tools and can only connect to the Internet through the gateway.
Download Whonix .
A distro specially designed to protect us against mass surveillance and any attack with malicious software and all kinds of Trojans. Aimed at users with special needs in terms of privacy. It is based on Debian and follows a strict isolation policy. It runs in Live mode, it allows us to store the configuration in an encrypted area or save our data safely offline.
Download DiscreetLinux .
Some still know it as LPS, but its name is TENS, which stands for Trusted End Node Security. It is a Linux distribution that has the approval of NASA itself. It has a public version designed to run in Live mode, although it can also be obtained in a Public Deluxe version, which includes tools such as Adobe Reader or LibreOffice.
Download TENS .
Light for less powerful equipment
If your computer can’t handle something too powerful, these distros are an excellent option because they offer you good performance while occupying or needing few resources. For those who can’t afford to buy a new computer or have a new one but it doesn’t have enough power. Find out what they are and how to get them.
Tiny Core is one of the lightest Linux distributions, so it is possible to use it on almost any computer. This means that we find ourselves with a very minimalist operating system, that is, it is basically a basic Linux that hardly has any pre-installed applications. Download TinyCore .
As its name already indicates, it is a lightweight distribution. A system based on Ubuntu LTS with an attractive and easy to use design, which makes it another great option for the most inexperienced users. The desktop environment is XFCE, light and easy to handle that may remind you of Windows XP. In addition, it has numerous tools ready to use as soon as you install it. Download linux lite .
It is a light distro based on Ubuntu and includes the Moksha desktop . A desktop that does not offer any window composer, although it does allow you to add Compiz effects. Another advantage offered by Bodhi Linux is access to the Ubuntu repositories , which allows access to a lot of free applications. Download BodhiLinux .
Another distro that could not be missing from this compilation of light distributions is Puppy Linux, since it occupies about 300 megabytes on our disk. However, it has a good number of packages and applications so that we can start using it as soon as we install it. Very fast and easy to handle even for users with little experience in Linux. Download PuppyLinux.
Peppermint is a fast and lightweight system that offers a combination of a high-quality cloud-based infrastructure with the most common desktop applications for Linux. It is based on Lubuntu, so it offers the advantage of being able to access the Ubuntu repositories. Download PeppermintOS .
It is one of the flavors of Ubuntu and one of the best that we can install if we have a computer that is a few years old and has limited resources . Of course, with this we are not going to give up having a distribution with a modern and attractive interface. The bottom dock is reminiscent of GNOME. Download Ubuntu Budgie .
A light Linux distribution but, in this case, it is ideal for those who are looking for a light distro that will run on relatively modern computers. As its name suggests, it is a “flavor” of Ubuntu in which the desktop and some of the pre-installed applications are replaced by lighter ones. Download Lubuntu .
Xubuntu is a Linux distro based on Ubuntu , as its name suggests. An Ubuntu derivative maintained or supported by a large community and using the XFCE desktop environment. It is designed for users with limited resource teams looking to find an efficient environment based on their capabilities. Download Ubuntu .
It is another of the light distros based on Lubuntu, so it offers the advantage of being able to access the Ubuntu application repository. In this case, LXLE has some very useful pre-installed applications such as LibreOffice, GIMP, etc. It uses the LXDE desktop environment and is easy to handle for novice users. Download LXLE .
One of the fast and light Linux distributions is AntiX. Highly recommended for use on older computers or computers with few resources, since they will allow us to have an operating system that demands too much from our computer and we get the best possible performance. So much so, that it only requires a minimum of 128MB of RAM , which today is almost insignificant. Download AntiX .
Point Linux is a Debian-based distro with the productivity of MATE, the fork of the GNOME 2 desktop environment. It is an easy distribution for novice users to set up and use . It has a minimum of tools and applications necessary to be able to start using the system as soon as it is installed. Download PointLinux .
One of the lightest is SliTaz, a distro in Live ISO format that only occupies 100 megabytes when we have it already installed. In addition, it has a series of packages and applications that allow us to use the device as soon as we install it without much problem, being able to add the ones we want depending on the resources of the device. Download SliTaz .
SparkyLinux is a fairly light and fast Debian-based distro of Polish origin . Specifically, it is based on the Debian testing version and not on the stable branch. Aimed at all types of users, beginners or advanced, and that allows you to choose between different desktop environments and window managers such as LXDE, E19, OpenBox, MATE, LXQt, KDE, among others. Download SparkyLinux.
From the following link you can access a compilation with the best lightweight Linux distributions for older computers or those with few resources. Among all of them, you will be able to know some of those included in this list and other similar ones capable of giving life to any team.
Porteus in a Linux distribution that allows us to use it as a Live CD , that is, we can boot from a memory drive or CD, although we can also install it on our hard drive. A very light distro, since it only occupies 300MB of space, and therefore it is recommended to try to speed up or give life to a team that has fairly fair resources. Download Porteus .
Another light distro is Slax, since it occupies only 210 MB on our disk and only requires that we have 256 MB of RAM for the system to offer good performance. Therefore, with Slax we are going to be able to give life to almost any old computer without any problem.
It is available in two versions, one for computers with 32-bit architecture and one for 64-bit ones. It is an open source Debian- based distribution that has an installer that allows us to choose the applications that we want to install. Download SLAX .
Dawn Small Linux
It is designed for those old computers that have very little power. Its interface is JWM and the minimum required to work well is really surprising, since we only have to have an Intel 486DX and 16 MB of RAM. You will understand that any computer today will be able to run this distribution perfectly. Download Dawn Small Linux.
This distribution is based on Debian and its interface is a version 3 of KDE (Trinity DE) but with an appearance quite similar to Windows XP. The minimum that it requires of us is really low (300 MHz Pentium, 128 MB of RAM and 3 GB HDD), so any computer today, however little powerful it may be, will move it. It works really well and from the short time it has been running, we understand that it has a lot of room for improvement. Download Q4OS .