This article provides a simple and easy format to learn Linux for Microsoft Windows and Mac users. As a Open-Source operating system, Linux continues to spread its wings, amassing attention from new and experienced people alike.
Whether you are a beginner, an intermediate, or an advanced user, there is already a distribution waiting for you. Traditionally, Linux was a reserve for developers, system administrators, and Enterprise users for hosting websites and other applications.
There was a time when Linux posed a great deal of complexity to beginners and simply discouraged them from embracing it. Over time, the Open source community has made enormous efforts in bringing Linux closer to the ordinary Microsoft Windows and mac users by making it more user-friendly and easy to use.
The first thing that confuses a newcomer is that Linux is not a single operating system. There are hundreds of Linux distributions. So, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 Best Linux Distros For Beginners.
This guide will focus on the key features that make them ideal for Beginners.
If you are an avid Windows fan, then you will love Elementary OS. This OS replicates Windows’s look and feel, proving to be an ideal platform for designers and creative people.
Its modern, sleek, and intuitive desktop design makes Elementary OS an easy-to-use distro for beginners. The initial installation and layout are pretty lightweight, which focus on productivity and privacy.
In the latest release, Elementary OS offers a multitasking view, Do Not Disturb, and Picture-in-Picture mode to ensure optimal productivity experience. Like Ubuntu, it has been built over GNOME and comes equipped with its desktop environment, Pantheon.
2. Deepin Linux
If performance or hardware requirement does not bother you, Deepin OS will be an interesting pick.
It is known for its eye-candy user interface that is one of the most gorgeous Linux distributions out there. Of course, it suffers from performance issues if you do not have a decent modern hardware configuration. But, if it works well on your system, it is easy to use and offers plenty of software tools to get started.
Some might mention that just because it is a project with based out of Mainland China, you need to avoid it.
So, if you have an issue with that, you might take a look at UbuntuDDE which is basically Ubuntu + eye-candy visuals of Deepin.
- Eye-candy visuals
- Easy to use
- Rich user experience
3. Modicia OS
Although you might not have heard of it, Modicia OS is a modern Linux desktop with an interesting twist on the conventional desktop design.
With an ISO that weighs over 3GB, the distro has a diverse and rather interesting collection of apps. It seems the distro is designed especially for audio and video editing tasks, based on the number of apps it includes for these tasks.
That said, for all intents and purposes, Modicia is a general purpose distro that can be used for all types of desktop tasks, straight out of the box. The latest release of Modicia is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and uses the Xfce desktop that’s been very innovatively customized.
The desktop has a slew of menus, including a unique circular one and its windows Exposè view is appealing too. Behind the scenes, the developers have also tweaked several aspects of the distro to maximize performance.
The project is complemented by a diverse support infrastructure, which in addition to text-based documentation also includes several video tutorials for common desktop functions. All in all, Modicia’s desktop tweaks make the distro fairly attractive and do a nice job of hiding away the complexities of managing a typical Linux installation.
- Attractive looking desktop
- Lots of documentation
- Good collection of apps
CentOS is an open-source community-driven operating system that is based on RHEL.
It offers beginners a gateway to try out an RPM-based Linux distribution at absolutely no cost, unlike Red Hat which is subscription-based. Unlike the earlier-mentioned distributions, CentOS is more geared towards stability and performance than the visual appeal and customizations.
In fact, due to its stability, it comes recommended for server environments and for beginners seeking to venture into System Administration and development. CentOS 8 is the latest release and ships with GNOME as the default desktop environment.
Software packages are provided for through 2 main repositories: AppStream and BaseOS. Though very commendable on stability and performance, CentOS 8 doesn’t have much to offer in the way of desktop customization.
If you are looking for an exciting desktop experience, you are better off with the first 6 distributions.
We’re pretty sure that Ubuntu needs no introduction if you’re a regular reader of Fossbytes.
But why is Ubuntu such a tempting distro for beginners while other “Easy-to-use” distros are struggling to get user’s attention? That’s because Ubuntu has been in the Linux market for a long time and has become a lot popular.
This Debian-based Linux distribution also enjoys the status of the most popular open-source operating system in the world. Every new release is more polished and comes loaded with new features and improvements—many PC makers like Dell and Lenovo design specific machines with preinstalled Ubuntu Linux.
After conquering the desktop world, Ubuntu has also managed to gain big in the cloud. Another major reason to use Ubuntu for a new Linux user is its vast community of users and online forums. On top of the already popular vanilla Ubuntu, it comes in various flavors like Ubuntu Kylin, Edubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu Budgie, and Kubuntu.
Why Choose Ubuntu?
- Large community
- Tons of free software in the Software Center
- Compatible with most hardware
- Lots of flavors to suit your needs
- Many more…
Solus offers an ideal desktop environment to developers, despite being a general-purpose Linux OS.
It supports several advanced editors and integrated development versions such as Idea and GNOME Builders. Developers can manage code in control systems like Git, GitKraken, Bazaar, and Git-Cola.
Additionally, Solus supports different programming languages, including Go, Rust, PHP, Node.js, and Ruby. Finally, you can download various developmental tools from its inbuilt repositories, to enhance your experience in the long-run.
Pop!_OS is a great beginner’s distro for gaming.
Hybrid graphics work well on this distro and one edition of Pop!_OS is designed specifically for Nvidia hardware.
As a distro that comes with all the features necessary for a solid gaming experience, it’s not a lightweight Linux distribution. Pop!_OS encrypts your installation by default and comes with a custom app store called Pop!_Shop where you can find most of the apps you’ll need.
Peppermint Linux is an interesting choice for beginners who prefer to use web applications as local applications using the out-of-the-box integration with Ice. It is based on Ubuntu, so along with all the goodies of Ubuntu it features a few extra options to give you a head start.
It isn’t pitched as a lightweight distro, but it works quite well with older hardware as well.
- Easy to use and simple
- Lightweight Linux distribution
- Ability to use web apps in the form of local apps
9. Nitrux OS
Nitrux is an Ubuntu-based distribution that takes inspiration and components from the KDE Project. Nitrux makes liberal use of the KDE Plasma 5 desktop and apps. Its NX Desktop has been specially tuned for inexperienced Linux users with the help of a host of plasmoids for the right blend of aesthetics and functionality.
The developers have also fine tuned other key components of the KDE desktop for user-friendliness. For instance, the system tray and the notification center have been redesigned and the media controls have been rolled with the volume controls for easier access. The distro packs in all the apps you’d expect from an everyday desktop distribution.
While there are apps from the KDE stable along with a few mainstream ones like LibreOffice, and Firefox, a majority of the apps in Nitrux are developed in-house by the project using its MauiKit lightweight framework. There’s the Index file manager, VVave music player, Pix image gallery, Nota text editor and several others.
Two custom apps that deserve special mention are the NX Firewall and Kup backup, both of which try to simplify the rather complex tasks, and do a nice job of catering to both first time and experienced desktop users.
They have simple interfaces, yet offer enough customizations to be of use to experienced users.
10. Manjaro Linux
Manjaro is one of the few distros on this list not based on Ubuntu.
Based instead on Arch Linux, Manjaro is fast and beginner-friendly, but does have a bit more of a learning curve than some of the Ubuntu distros.
You have several desktop options to customize it to your preferences and Manjaro has a rolling release update cycle. You can install a variety of software or access AUR to get software not officially available for Manjaro.
If you want to break away from Ubuntu and don’t mind a bit of a challenge, then give Manjaro a try.
11. Linux Mint
Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions around.
Over the years, it has grown to become one of the chief competitors of Ubuntu Linux, its parent operating system. It’s known to provide one of the most polished and complete desktop experiences to a beginner.
If someone asks me to recommend the best Linux distro for beginners, I’d promptly recommend Linux Mint. So, what makes Linux Mint a great distro for beginners? How can a typical Windows user adapt to Mint? The answer lies in the fact that Linux Mint was created to provide an out-of-the-box experience to the newbies.
Mint’s large set of pre-bundled tools ensure that Windows users transition to Linux Mint without regrets. It turns out to be equally good on laptops and powerful desktops. There are three major editions of Linux Mint: Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce
Why Choose Linux Mint?
- Full access to Ubuntu software repo
- Near-perfect desktop experience
- Great community
- Cinnamon desktop is a great option
12. Zorin OS
Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based distro that’s designed for the ultimate user experience.
The creators wanted to help Windows users acclimate to Linux as painlessly as possible, so it comes with a Windows 7-like start menu. You can also trade that in for a Windows XP layout if you’re not a Windows 7 fan.
Zorin OS comes in Lite, Core, Education, or Ultimate (Ultimate costs $39), to suit different system requirements or user needs.
The distro also comes with basic apps and a native app store, but you can use Wine to find software developed for Windows to add to Zorin OS.
13. Linux Lite
Linux Lite is yet another Ubuntu-based distribution that is easy to use.
It is specifically tailored as a lightweight distribution with some pre-installed applications that are not resource-heavy. Linux Lite is perfectly suitable for Windows users with a similar user interface featuring the Xfce desktop environment.
Compared to its previous iterations, Linux Lite has improved the user experience. Even though it isn’t meant to provide you the most modern experience, it still looks great as a desktop OS.
- Windows-like user interface
- Easy to use
- Tailored as a lightweight Linux distribution
The development of Netrunner is supported by Blue Systems, which also sponsors the development of the KDE desktop. It’s no surprise then that Netrunner uses the KDE desktop as well.
However, instead of the stock KDE, Netrunner ships with a customized rendition with some extra applications and other conveniences to make it attractive to Linux beginners. Netrunner is based on Debian stable and includes several everyday desktop apps.
By default it uses KDE’s full screen application launcher. The developers have also leveraged KDE’s famed configurability to ship with a desktop that’s easy to use. For instance, the task manager displays expanding icons and there’s a show desktop hot spot in the lower right corner.
The developers have also tried to simplify the KDE System Settings so as to not overwhelm new users. Netrunner highlights some of the apps for creating and consuming multimedia and also lists several popular webapps in its menus such as Skype Web, Telegram and WhatsApp.
The distro doesn’t have an onboarding utility like some of its peers and also relies on the distro-agnostic Calamares installer to help users anchor the distro to their disks. Linux Beginners can use the KDE Discover app store to find and install apps, while there’s also Synaptic for the experienced campaigners.
The distro also has adequate documentation and support options and there is a link to some introductory documentation on the desktop, which is really thoughtful.
15. MX Linux
MX Linux, a joint venture of antiX Linux distro and MEPIC community, places itself a bit differently when it comes to its highlights.
Unlike other distros that either call them lightweight or performance-focused, MX Linux labels itself as a midweight operating system. Thanks to its easy installation process and familiar looks, the new users find themselves at home while using MX Linux.
With a pretty good hardware recognition and automatic configuration for an out-of-the-box experience, this Debian GNU/Linux-based is also stable for dependable performance. The default desktop environment used by this beginner-friendly distro is Xfce.
- Familiar Xfce desktop environment
- Easy installation and configuration
- A unique midweight approach
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best Linux Distros For Beginners.
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