If you’ve never used Linux before but you’d like to give it a try there’s no need to feel intimidated. Some of the best Linux distributions for beginners are quite user-friendly and you’ll get used to them in no time.
What everyone calls Linux is not the entire operating system, it’s just the kernel. Other projects are used to make the rest of the operating system, including command-line tools and the GUI. Linux distributions use various projects to make the entire operating system in its usable form.
Best Linux distributions for beginners
Once you download a Linux distribution you can use a tool to burn it as a bootable DVD or create a bootable USB drive. Then, you can restart the computer to boot from the removable media and use the Linux distro in “live” mode – this means the operating system will run from the bootable drive or disk leaving the existing system unaffected. However, the live environment also lets you install the Linux distribution if you want to do so.
When it comes to popular Linux distributions, Ubuntu is certainly at the top of the list. While Ubuntu can please advanced users, it’s also one of the best Linux distributions for beginners.
It comes with a straightforward installer and a practical desktop. During setup, it will automatically install codecs, and even detect drivers required by your hardware. Since Ubuntu is so well-known, it has a huge community that can help you but there’s also a large database of already answered questions on the web.
Thanks to Ubuntu’s popularity, there are also plenty of compatible apps, and popular software products will always ensure they support this Linux distro.
There’s no way we can omit Linux Mint from the list of best Linux distributions for beginners. It’s partially based on Ubuntu but relies on MATE or Cinnamon desktops. These desktop environments include a taskbar and pop-up applications menu, so Linux Mint is a great choice if you want a classic desktop.
Since this Linux distro is also based on Ubuntu, installing it is quite easy, and there are still a lot of apps that support it.
If you’d like to try something fresh that’s still user-friendly, Fedora makes a great choice. Fedora is known to include just open source applications, although this comes with a drawback. You’ll need to manually search and install closed-source hardware drivers.
However, if you’re passionate about open-source software, Fedora will always include the best of it, plus this distro offers easy access to development software and features. New releases come about twice a year, and each comes with security updates that are supported for a little over a year.
Other Linux distribution worth considering
Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Fedora might be some of the best Linux distributions for beginners, and also popular but it doesn’t mean there aren’t more suitable options out there.
For example, Debian is the Linux distribution on which Ubuntu was developed, so it’s an excellent choice, although Ubuntu gets more frequent updates and has a more polished desktop. Another interesting choice is Elementary OS – it has a unique visual aspect compared to most Linux desktops.
If you’re into tweaking every existing setting Arch Linux is worth a try, and when it comes to unparalleled security you may want to try Tails.
Of course, there are other great Linux distributions out there, but the list of ones suitable for beginners is not that large. What Linux distribution did you get started with, and are you still using it?