Pop!_OS is a Linux distribution geared for computer scientists and programmers. Its features of quality of life and ease of installation make it a popular option for the average user looking for a sleek and functional Linux experience.
Linux is rapidly increasing to be one of the most popular operating systems for those who want user customization and speed for their desktop or laptop systems. Experiences on Linux aren’t homogenous and there exist many distributions of Linux operating systems that all offer different features for their users according to their requirements.
There are a lot of Linux distros out there. It can be difficult to know which from which – and it is very easy to lose interest in the Linux community. This list will list the best picks for distros and hopefully guide you to decide what to install to start your Linux journey.
If you’ve heard about Linux before, chances are it was about Ubuntu. Ubuntu was released in 2004 and continued regularly updated to become the most popular Linux distribution. Its interface is immediately recognized as “that Linux UI” and is even bundled with some OEM laptops by HP, Dell and Acer.
Ubuntu is great if you’re looking for a Windows or MacOS alternative for a system with already powerful hardware – it’s the easy way for you to use it all on your own. Modern builds of Ubuntu are roughly as resource-intensive as Windows, but a lighter version of Lubuntu’s operating system is available for underpowered PCs.
Ubuntu is very easy to use and Ubuntu is great for beginners as its really accessible. Most Linux distros make use of command line interface for performing tasks, but Ubuntu strays from this approach. It is incredibly simple to install Ubuntu – use their installer to create a bootable USB drive – or even use their Windows Store app to update directly on your system – If you’re looking for a different experience from Windows and macOS, Ubuntu is a strong option.
Elementary OS is one of the most beautiful and easy to use desktop operating systems currently out there. Its UI adopts a sleek and minimalist design language that is really refreshing from Windows’clunky interface. While other Linux distros can seem dated and nerdy, Elementary OS bills itself as the operating system for everybody. Elementary OS is heavily inspired by the interface of macOS and is ideal for anyone who aims for a similar experience moving from Mac.
The installation of Elementary OS is a breeze. While Apple and Microsoft’s bloated OS can take hours, even on old hardware, Elementary OS can get you up and running in a few minutes. It comes with a very small number of pre-installed apps, so that you won’t run across any bloatware — and if you miss out on a program you need, you can easily download it from the AppCenter.
U.S. developer System 76 Pop – The OS bundled in 2017 with their high-end laptops and desktops and it is based on Ubuntu with a couple of additional features aimed at the software development and computer science professional market. It supports a ton of different programming languages – comes bundled with useful programming tools – and power users will enjoy its streamlined window and workspace management engine.
Pop!_OS supports out-of-the box compatibility for Nvidia and AMD GPUs, making it very popular with gamers who want to plug into and play their latest titles. Pop!_OS is worth a look if you are a serious gamer.
Reviewers comment on how well designed and attractive the interface is. By adopting the GNOME desktop interface, users appreciate how much more efficient it is than Ubuntu – and System 76’s installation wizard makes the look and feel of updating to Pop!_OS as simple as any other mainstream OS installation experience.
Pop!_OS is a Linux distribution designed for computer scientists and programmers, but its quality of life features and streamlined approach to installation make it a popular option for the average user looking for a sleek and functional Linux experience.
OpenSUSE primarily targets software developers and system administrators that use their very strict security protocols. OpenSUSE comes in two variations, both with a similar experience, but different in upgrades and stability.
Leap is their rolling release build, with an eight-month release cycle where you don’t worry about updating and lack of support if something goes wrong. This version is great for home computers or work systems where you want a good, fast OS without having to replace version versions every so often to increase productivity.
Tumbleweed is the bleeding edge of OpenSUSE – a great tool for developers and system administrators who want the most up-to-date and high-performance version of their OS. As indicated on their site:
” — Tumbleweed is the best choice for you if you require the latest software stacks and Integrated Development Environment or need a stable platform near cutting edge Linux.
For openSUSE, a big plus is the installation tool YaST, which allows automating tasks such as ensuring systems or servers are managed. Feinfeilt your installations, inspects modules and sets up unattended installations.
Arch Linux adheres to five principles: simplicity, modernity, pragmaticity, user centrality and versatility. This ethos makes this distro the go-to for hardware enthusiast or anyone who accepts nothing less than complete control over their operating system. If you feel blocked by Windows or macOS, and painstakingly close Ubuntu-based distros, Arch Linux is a great choice.
Arch Linux is not a easy-to-install distro. If you choose Arch Linux, you’ll have to learn how to create partitions and create filesystems using the command line. Whilst it can initially be intimidating, you are not alone, and the Arch Wiki is a great resource to start with using Arch Linux.
Arch Linux is created and owned by its community and follows a roll-out schedule. This means that as soon as features are developed, they are immediately released to you, making use of Arch bleeding edge. However, this update ethos makes Arch less stable and possibly breaks your system once a while. But hey — that’s the Arch way of trying.
Linux Mint recently outranks Ubuntu to become the most popular Linux distribution available – and a good reason. Mint is a great choice for new Linux users as it comes with the software needed when switching from Windows or MacOS and thus is a solid choice for those who want to take their first steps in the Linux world. It comes with LibreOffice productivity suites, Timeshaft restore function and their latest version comes with their new file transfer tool Warpinator. Mint has out-of-the box support for NVIDIA Optimus, which is perfect for high-performance laptops with dedicated graphics and its driver manager makes it easy to ensure all your hardware and peripherals are working properly.
Obviously, while Elementary OS was designed to be familiar to MacOS users, Mint is perfect for those accustomed to Windows. From its familiar start menu to its file manager and’s Settings app, after a few days you will feel right at home with Mint.
If you have an underpowering desktop or old laptop there are many flavours of Mint using different desktop environments for older or less powerful hardware. The midrange is Mint MATE, good for old laptops – requires 20GB of space and recommends 2GB of RAM. If you need a light OS, Linux Mint Xfce is your choice for a simple and efficient OS.
Tails uses a GNOME desktop environment which makes Tails quite straightforward to use despite privacy and security measures. Installing Tails is a long process, but if you’re really serious about privacy, it’s a process that should be worth navigating through. Tails is supported by partners such as DuckDuckGo, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and even Tor itself.
Are privacy minded folks out there meet your best choice? Tails If you are concerned about surveillance or cyber-attacks, an OS that lives in RAM and overwrites it on shutdown to prevent cold boot attacks guarantees your privacy. You know Tails is effective if the NSA considers Tails to be “a major threat” to its surveillance mission. If you like the idea that the NSA is afraid of tails, this may be the Linux distro for you.
There you are, a snapshot of the best Linux-Desktops out there. If you are searching for an OS that just works, where you don’t have to worry about a complicated installation process or driver-related problems, Ubuntu is still our top choice for you. It’s fast, features-rich and a great step into GNOME – desktop interfaces and the “Unix way” If you are a professional developer administrator or gamer, Pop!_OS is a great choice for a quick, new, and customizable OS. Tails is the best choice for ultra-concerned privacy-loving people. Yet all of these options will bring an enjoyable experience and I promise you that you’ll never want to switch back to macOS or Windows.