7 Best Linux Distros for Beginners in 2020
Just like Windows, iOS, or Android, Linux is an operating system and the one which has managed to penetrate almost everywhere. From smartphones to laptops, enterprise servers to supercomputers, you will see Linux everywhere. Android, which has 2.5 billion active users, is powered by the Linux operating system, and the same goes for MacOS.
If you have developed a keen interest in open-source, then Linux will get your attention. The entire process of switching from one operating system to another takes time and patience. With a plethora of options at your disposal, the Linux operating system becomes quite overwhelming for the newcomer.
Fortunately, there are numerous distros designed especially to counter this problem. In this article, we will be looking at some of the best Linux distros that you can go with if you’re just entering into the world of Linux operating system.
The Best Linux Distros for Beginners
Before we go ahead and talk about these distros, we would like to point some vital general
aspects of Linux OS!
- Linux is very customizable, giving you much more choice in terms of interface and base software.
- Since it is open-source, it is completely free and transparent. This means that you can see the code to see if it has any security holes or not.
- As a whole, the Linux operating system follows a secure design ideology. You don’t need to worry about viruses or malicious attacks with Linux.
- Linux is quite useful when it comes to managing resources. Even less capable setups can run Linux churning out better performance.
These are just a few of many reasons why you should choose Linux over other operating systems. With that cleared out of the way, let’s jump right into the listicle and check out some of the best Linux distros for beginners!
There is a solid chance that you have already come across Ubuntu distro and might have already used it somewhere. A beginner researching about the best Linux distributions always find Ubuntu as the top pick. Most of the beginners generally begin their journey with Ubuntu distro before moving on to the more complicated alternatives.
We always emphasize the fact that Ubuntu is perfect for beginners, and there are numerous reasons that we can use to back it up. Since its inception, Canonical has managed to work efficiently on the usability with its offering. Right from the installation to set up, everything is quite simple and straight forward. Furthermore, you can even try it using the live media disk feature.
Just like the core installations, adding applications and software to the distro is quite simple as well. There is a pre-installed App Store that offers all the popular software to the user. With the GNOME user interface, Ubuntu focuses both on productivity as well as simplicity. Thanks to a massive community like Ask Ubuntu as well as several other forums, there are numerous guides on the internet covering all the essential aspects to help you get started.
For instance, if you want to install a particular package or want to customize the appearance, you can simply follow online tutorials to get it done. With each new release, the company keeps on adding new features and polishing the present ones. There’s a reason why Ubuntu calls itself a ‘Linux for Human Beings.’
You can learn more about Ubuntu on its official website by clicking right here.
2. Linux Mint
Linux Mint is the only distribution that comes close to Ubuntu. For a long time, it was sitting on the throne, which soon changed when MX Linux started gaining popularity. According to DistroWatch, Mint is still taking the lead when compared with Ubuntu, and that makes sense.
Linux Mint comes in three different desktop environments, namely Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce. For beginners out there, we will highly recommend the Cinnamon environment since everything there is user friendly. All the applications are accessibly grouped so that the user can easily find them. Furthermore, the overall user interface is quite similar to Windows and Mac, creating a smooth transition.
In terms of features, Ubuntu and Linux Mint are quite similar, and there is hardly any feature that would be a deal-breaker. Thanks to constant updates, the distro is free of unexpected crashes, glitches, and bugs. Linux Mint offers an out-of-the-box experience to the newbies, which would be the reason why I would recommend it to the beginners.
With Linux Mint, you also get full access to Ubuntu software repo and near-perfect desktop experience. Just like Ubuntu Linux, the community behind the Mint is also quite large and helping. Whenever you come across any queries or difficulties, you can simply make use of the great community.
You can learn more about Linux Mint on its official website by clicking right here.
3. Zorin OS
Zorin OS is a perfect alternative to the Windows operating system, and if you’re coming from the latter, then the former is a good choice. It’s Linux with a goal of creating a comfortable environment for those who’re coming from Windows 10. If you don’t want to feel overwhelmed, then Zorin OS might be the choice for you.
In terms of performance and functionality, Zorin OS is like any other Linux operating system with Linux kernel, GNU tools, a package manager, and some plaintext configs. The distro comes with a massive list of pre-installed software perfect for those who’re new to the Linux. With a vast library of applications, you don’t need to worry about the package manager while setting your desktop.
Furthermore, Wine and PlayOnLinux comes pre-installed as well. The former will let you install Windows software while the latter will allow you to play Windows games. In terms of customization, there is a Zorin Look Changer, which nothing but a theme engine. You can make use of presets to make your desktop look like older Windows versions and even Mac if you want to.
With all these features combined, Zorin OS offers a comfortable environment for Windows refugees and lines up perfectly with your muscle memory. It is a stable distro for those who generally are not comfortable with sudden change. It brings forth the capabilities of Linux while still offering you a familiar space.
You can learn more about Zorin OS on its official website by clicking right here.
4. Elementary OS
When most of the Linux distros looked quite similar to each other, Elementary OS jumped into the scene bringing its clean and minimal design approach. Since its inception in 2011, Elementary OS has managed to become one of the best looking distro out-of-the-box. Of course, you can customize any Linux distro to make it fall in line with your taste. But the fact that it looks beautiful right out-of-the-box makes it a perfect option for beginners out there.
With Elementary OS, you don’t need to worry about customizing the distro from scratch. Just like any other beginner-friendly distro, Elementary comes pre-installed with AppCenter with free and paid apps available. Each of the apps is curated by the developers themselves to deliver native and secure experience.
Apart from just looking better, Elementary also offers a productive environment thanks to features such as multitasking view, picture-in-picture, and DND. All the apps are categorized, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. If you share your desktop with children, then you can also make use of Parental Controls. With Parental Controls, you can set screen time limits, internet usage limits, and restrict apps.
If you’re somewhat like me, then you will also like the keyboard friendly environment that it brings. You can literally control every aspect of the distro by just using keyboard shortcuts. It is an LTS distribution meaning the developers will offer long term support for all the versions. If you are looking for one of the best linux distros for beginners that is beautiful with a minimal appearance, then Elementary OS is what you need to try.
You can learn more about Elementary OS on its official website by clicking right here.
5. Linux Lite
Linux Lite is yet another Linux distro built from Ubuntu packages featuring the Xfce desktop environment along with some custom tools. At the time of writing this, the current version is the 4.8 released on 14th January 2020. The installation process of Linux Lite is also pretty simple and straight forward, and is perfectly suited for beginners!
Generally, Linux Lite is perfect for older computers with low-end hardware since it runs smoothly, churning out better performance. If you’re looking for something like that, then this distro is suitable for you. Since it is based on Ubuntu, you get every basic stuff pre-installed out-of-the-box. We’re looking at Firefox, GIMP, LibreOffice, Thunderbird, VLC Media Player, and many must-have stuff.
This distro is also similar to Windows, making it easier for you to switch easily. In essence, there is nothing impressive here in Linux Lite but a lightweight nature, a Windows-inspired design, and easy to use capabilities. All this makes it a suitable choice for a beginner with an old PC.
You can learn more about Linux Lite on its official website by clicking right here.
6. Manjaro Linux
It is a common misconception that Manjaro Linux is complicated for beginners since it is based on Arch Linux. But that’s not true at all. Manjaro offers user-friendliness and simple installation procedure. You don’t need to worry about installation, setting it up, installing drivers, and much more.
Being a beginner, you will face numerous issues, which is alright, especially with Manjaro, but with a fantastic supporting community, you can easily find a solution. Almost all the applications and software are compatible with Manjaro. Furthermore, it has its own software repository.
Another good thing about Manjaro is the fact that it offers a stable experience no matter what. In fact, the devs delay package releases to make sure that they are entirely bug-free. Since it based on Arch Linux, you can easily tweak the distro when you elevate from beginner to intermediate in Linux. And it doesn’t hurt to know that Manjaro is one of the best Linux distros for gaming, so you can enjoy playing games as well!
You can learn more about Manjaro Linux on its official website by clicking right here.
Solus touts its Linux distro as an operating system designed for home computing. A key aspect of home computing is the easy to use functionality and beautiful looking design. Well, Solus hits both the elements pretty sweetly and brings cohesive computing experience to the table.
In terms of updates, Solus follows Install Today and Updates Forever model. The developers deliver updates regularly, giving you a stable experience. Thanks to the simple look and feel of the distro, Solus is not just one of the best Linux distros for beginners but also a pretty perfect one. You can, of course, customize it as per your liking.
Solus comes with a minimal number of dedicated software locations, but the present ones are really refined. If you’re looking for a smooth experience, then Solus is what you’re looking for. The distro makes use of the company’s flagship Budgie experience, which seems pretty modern. Right from installation to usability, this distro makes everything simple for you, which makes it a perfect alternative to Elementary OS.
You can learn more about Solus on its official website by clicking right here.
These are some of the best Linux distros that are perfectly suitable for beginners who are just entering into the realm of Linux. Ubuntu and Linux Mint has always been the first choice for the newcomers. With that said, we will recommend exploring other distros as well, once you get comfortable in the new environment, since each focuses on a particular set of users.
Zorin, Elementary, and Solus all offer a clean, modern, and simple appearance, which makes a very comforting environment for new users to streamline in easily. And even Manjaro Linux sounds complicated; it is not if you really give it a go. Lastly, we are left with Linux Lite which is a very decent option for beginners, but we would only recommend it if you are struggling with low-end hardware.
With that, we are now concluding our listicle on the best Linux distros for beginners. In this journey, which can sometimes be overwhelming, we will keep on helping you make the best out of it. There are still numerous Linux distributions out there, and these are just some of the best ones that you can make use of.