17 Best Linux Distros

The Linux distros from multiple organizations come with distinct features to fulfill the needs of all types of users. Finding the best Linux distro with desired features can be a tiring process for you. This article recommends the 17 best Linux distros for all users with basic to advanced knowledge of working with these operating systems.

The Best Linux Distros of 2022 in Full:

We have included the best Linux distributions tailored for everyday users, developers, professionals, programmers, and corporate organizations. Here is the list-

1. Alpine Linux

Alpine Linux is a non-commercial, autonomous & general-use Linux distribution operating system created for intelligent users who appreciate simplicity, resource efficiency, and security.

Best For – new Linux users

Notable features

  • They are designed around busybox and musl libs, making it resource efficient and small.
  • Its container needs up to 8 MB in size and a minimum installation of approx. 130 MB storage space to disk.
  • It provides a complete-fledged environment for the Linux operating system.
  • It offers many packages to select from the repository.
  • It contains binary packages that give you more control over the installation process.
  • Lightweight.
  • Open source software packages.
  • It allows you to integrate with popular tools such as Apache Traffic Server, Netdata, DockerSlim, Trivy, and Grype.
  • Its userland binaries were created as Position Independent Executables (PIE) using stack smashing protection to make it more secure.

2. Arch linux

Arch Linux is an independently developed flexible and lightweight Linux distribution with easy to understand user interface.

Best For – new and experienced Linux users, from programmers to developers.

Notable features

  • Best for users who want to assemble their customized installations from the start.
  • Linux distribution is primarily created for computer systems incorporating x86-64 processors in their desktop environments.
  • It has no default desktop environment. That’s why you can select and install the best suited to your tastes and PC.
  • One of the best documentation found in the Linux distros.
  • It’s a general purpose Linux/GNU distribution that offers a stable operating system by incorporating a rolling-release model.
  • More features include user centrality, simplicity, and pragmatic distribution.
  • This Linux distro includes a predefined collection of apps.
  • All the steps starting from partition to installation are done manually. Its configuration files are set manually.
  • It is one of the Highly stable, customizable, and flexible Linux distributions.
  • Ideal for users switching their computer systems from macOS or Windows.
  • The minimum device requirements for Arch Linux are x64 CPU. and 512MB RAM.
  • The minimum requirements of Arch Linux are a modest 512MB RAM and an x64 CPU.

3. CENTOS Linux

The short form for this open-source Linux distro is Community Enterprise Operating System. It’s based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), whose backend is made with RHEL code.

Best For – web development and software professionals.

Notable features

  • Its owners have opened its Linux server operating system for free distribution and use.
  • CENTOS Linux distro is available in two variants – CentOS Stream and CentOS Linux.
  • CentOS Stream is widely used for setting up servers as it supports Yum packages and RPM through its community support.

4. Chakra Linux

The Chakra is a community-developed free operating system designed with focusing on QT software and KDE. It is built on the rolling release model.

Best For – all users

Notable features

  • It features the latest KDE desktop environment, graphical installer, diverse tools, automatic hardware configuration, detection, and more.

5. Debian

Debian is considered the Best Linux distro for beginners in education. Other popular Linux distros like Linux Mint and Ubuntu are based on its framework. Its modern version offers more than 59,000 packages integrated with various desktop environments, with Gnome being the main supported interface. Debian is the ideal choice for server stations and workstations.

Best For -Beginners.

Notable features

  • It includes valuable tools and many desktop apps, allowing users to use them in their daily needs.
  • One of the best features of this popular Linux distro includes a pre-installed terminal server that meets the requirements of a different educational institution.
  • You can install it on multiple computers in an office or lab.
  • It’s a stable Linux-based operating system that provides timely updates with extensive hardware support.
  • Its workstation version includes some pre-installed software programs such as GIMP, LibreOffice word processor, Photoshop alternative, Ice weasel internet browser, and VLC media player.
  • It’s a reliable Linux distro with different branches such as testing, stable and unstable. You can customize their use based on the testing and maintenance you want to utilize in your desktop operating system.
  • It allows you to access some features of Debian live before installing it on your device. Some actions can be downloading or using a cloud image, buying a pre-installed pc, purchasing an installed CD, USB stick, or DVD, etc.

6. Elementary Os

Elementary os is a ubuntu-based Linux distribution system with an elegant look designed to assist advanced users in quickly switching and adapting to the Linux operating system.

Best For – Professional developers and creators.

Notable features

  • Its user interface reflects a modern look that resembles the macOS user interface.
  • It is widely used as an excellent replacement for Windows and mac os.
  • Its latest edition, OS 6 Odin, includes a unique revamp feature.
  • This best Linux distribution’s recent versions in the past have introduced some critical updates such as dark style, multi-touch, new installer, and app sandboxing.
  • It includes some unique features for digital creators, such as do not disturb mode, picture-in-picture, and multitasking view.
  • Easy-to-understand and access UI.
  • Surprisingly, It offers many applications for daily use, such as mail clients, music players, text editors, photo managers, and others.
  • Elementary os contains an App Center, which is an app store to access free and paid Applications.
  • Every application has been designed by carefully reviewed to provide a privacy-respecting secure experience for its users.

7. Fedora

Fedora is an open-source Linux distro sponsored by Red Hat. It’s famous for developing innovative open-source platforms for clouds, containers, and hardware.

Best For – Students and software developers.

Notable features

  • Fedora 34, its latest edition, includes distinct features, such as NodeJS, updated Python 3, GNOME 40, and updated hardware support.
  • Fedora Workstation supports developers (students and professionals) in corporate sectors.
  • Its Server allows you to run the software on physical Linux-based servers.
  • Fedora Workstation includes project hosting and repositories that allows you to share and create code throughout its community.
  • Fedora is famous for regularly bringing the latest version updates by integrating unique features and programs for Linux systems.

8. Frugalware

Frugalware is a general use independent Linux distro especially designed for professionals with basic knowledge.

Best For – Individuals with prior experience in working on Linux distribution systems.

Notable features

  • It includes desktop environments such as Openbox, flukebox, KDE Plasma, GNOME, and Razor-qt.
  • It incorporates similar designs like Slackware and the “Pacman” package from Arch Linux.

9. Kali Linux

Kali is the best Linux distro for digital forensics, security research, reverse engineering, and ethical hacking. This Debian-derived Linux distro is designed for penetration testing and funded and maintained by Offensive Security Ltd.

Best For – Hackers and forensic professionals.

Notable features

  • Extensive and advanced tool.
  • It contains in-built tools to assist in ethical hacking tasks and digital forensics.
  • You can install it on Chromebooks, Android smartphones, and Raspberry Pi.

10. Linux Mint

Linux Mint is among the top Linux distributions based on Ubuntu-based Linux distribution and  Debian, which is widely popular for new learners. It is highly recommended for every user who wants to switch from macOS and Windows. All its editions provide three unique desktop environments to download – MATE, Cinnamon, and XFCE. You will find some of its functions similar to Ubuntu.

Best For – Students, Developers, and anyone switching from windows.

Notable features

  • It provides an elegant and simple UI that is easy to understand and use for beginners.
  • All editions are in-built with pre-installed software categorized into essential applications that users can easily locate on their devices.
  • Some of its unique features, such as the Timeshift snapshot restore function and LibreOffice productivity suite, have helped in surpass top Linux distributions like Ubuntu.
  • It includes helpful features for gamers and graphic designers.
  • Gamers can explore over 7,500 compatible titles.
  • Graphic designers can access Gimp, Blender, and Inkscape.
  • Mint offers almost 30,000+ best software managers packages.
  • Linux Mint 20.3 version quickly installs through blank DVD and USB.
  • Mint users can instantly access media through MP3s, CDs, and videos because of its exceptional in-built support for proprietary files.
  • Linux Mint removes headaches like situations for its users by including the update manager.
  • This Linux distro offers complete multimedia support.
  • Incorporating multiple desktop environments allows users to customize their schedules of updates as per their choice.
  • Its Cinnamon desktop environment is a light resource that loads faster and consumes less memory than different Ubuntu versions.
  • Windows users find adjusting its user interface easy due to its resemblance with Windows 7 and Windows XP. That’s why It becomes the ideal choice for window users.
  • Students can find many open-source and free valuable applications such as Mozilla Firefox, GIMP, LibreOffice Suite, VLC media player, etc.
  • Linux Mint operates in synchronization with Ubuntu’s latest releases. You are entirely safe from facing scary situations like malware outbreaks and zero-day scares.
  • Its desktop environments utilize fewer hardware resources, making it an ideal choice for operating systems for use in older computers and laptops.
  • It also has an online helping community.
  • All applications available on Ubuntu also work on Linux Mint.

11. Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a lightweight distro that uses the desktop environment of LXDE and LXQT. It is available in two versions – intel x86 and 64-bit AMD64.

Best For – Professionals at homes and institutions.

Notable features

  • Fewer hardware requirements.
  • Easy to use user interface.
  • This Linux based operating system is ideal for everyday use.
  • It contains useful tools such as office suites and internet browsers.

12. Manjaro

Manjaro is popularly known as the “Best Arch-based Linux distro” that incorporates the benefits of a vanilla Arch install removing all the complications. It needs an intermediate to the advanced knowledge level of the command lines.

Best For -newbies and experienced users.

Notable features

  • This Linux distribution system primarily provides users with a user-friendly and smooth Arch Linux experience.
  • It provides a variety of fast desktop environments to select from – Budgie, GNOME, MATE, and Cinnamon.
  • This Linux OS offers different customization settings, such as widgets, icons, and themes for new learners.
  • This Arch-based Linux distro requires no assembly.
  • This Linux distro incorporates the benefits of the latest software and automated tools to reduce manual interventions.
  • Its distinct features automatically detect your device’s hardware to install the required software, similar to Windows programs.
  • It has four essential features- The plasma edition offers a complete-featured desktop environment. Second, The XFCE Edition is lightweight and fast. Third, the Gnome Edition comes with a customizable user interface.
  • It provides the benefit of accessing Arch’s huge repositories that are regularly updated.
  • It’s an ideal Linux distribution developed keeping in mind the necessities of users with basic experience.
  • Windows and macOS users can access their hand-picked software through some compatibility applications such as Steam, Proton, Wine, and PlayOnLinux.
  • This Linux distro is made with ample documentation and a supportive community of users.
  • It comes with a helpful tool called Hello, that provides valuable tips, hints, and web links to learn how to operate this system.

13. Opensuse

OpenSUSE, previously named SUSE Linux, is among the most easy-to-use and learn Linux distributions available. This Linux distro was developed with the motive to provide open-source tools to system administrators and developers worldwide. Learners highly depend on this software.

Best For -Beginners, advanced users. It is an ideal choice for education institutes.

Notable features

  • It provides a user-friendly and feature-rich desktop environment.
  • It is available in two flavors – First, Tumbleweed, which is based on the rolling release, and second, Leap, which best suits the student.
  • Interface flexibility
  • Easy file installation.
  • It contains Yast, which makes it stand out among other Linux distros. It’s a configuration tool that performs various tasks such as software updates, hardware configuration, package management, a system enabling/disabling services, and network and firewall management.
  • Yast assists in installing famous desktop interfaces such as Gnome, KDE Plasma, LXDE, and Mate.
  • Robust Security Protocols.
  • The presence of the rolling release model allows you to download the latest packages as soon as they are out.
  • Tumbleweed is convenient for daily PC users by including apps that function and update reliably.
  • It comes with pre-installed apps such as browsers, office tools, multimedia apps, and games that ease the learning process for beginners and learners.
  • OpenSUSE Studio Express allows users to create customized versions, including your system settings, desktop & software suite.

14. Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is one of the best lightweight Linux distributions with an extensive collection of essential apps for almost all requirements on desktops. While developing this, the primary concern of its developers was to create an easy-to-use operating system based on Linux with minimal memory footprint.

Best For – Beginners to advanced users.

Notable features

  • It can run entirely within your device’s RAM. This assists you in performing quick tasks. You can run your complete operating system from the available Ram occupying 210 MB of space.
  • Fast and Reliable Linux distro.
  • Occupies less storage space.
  • Highly customizable.
  • It comes in handy with apps and tools for regular use.
  • Binary compatibility.
  • The FossaPup edition of this Linux distro fits compatible with all Ubuntu’s repositories. That means you can select and add comprehensive apps from its vast collection.
  • The presence of the fox-filer file and joe’s window manager makes it unique among many Linux distributions.
  • Some of its variations are built on Ubuntu and Slackware, with many similar tools.
  • It has variations built on Slackware and Ubuntu, but they both have the same tools for the most part.

15. Qubes Os

Qubes OS is an open-source and free security-focussed operating system for desktop computing. It utilizes Xen-based virtualization to manage and create Qubes, which are isolated compartments.

Best For – All users

Notable features

  • The vital isolation feature isolates different software pieces as they are installed on individual physical machines utilizing advanced virtualization techniques.
  • Template System that includes app qubes for sharing root files without compromising security.
  • It allows running multiple operating systems simultaneously, like windows, fedora, and Debian.
  • Split GPG to provide safety to private keys.
  • Whonix integration feature then Runs Tor using it with Qubes.
  • U2F proxy Operates to use the two-factor authentication devices to reduce your browser risk of exposure to the USB stack.
  • You can modify and copy Qubes OS.

16. Solus

Solus is an elegant-looking and beautiful operating system independently developed and based on the Linux kernel. It offers multiple choices of desktop environments such as KDE Plasma, MATE & GNOME.

Best For – Beginners, Developers, and programmers.

Notable features

  • Solus is a general-use rolling release Linux distro useful for all regular desktop tasks.
  • Its website advertises one unique feature that supports many integrated development environments (IDEs) and advanced editors like Idea, Atom, and Gnome Builder.
  • It contains many pre-installed development tools for developers.
  • You can manage here code in many versions of control systems such as Bazaar, Git, and Gitkraken.
  • The distro’s website claims that its Operating system supports many programming languages such as Rust, GO, PHP, Ruby, and Node.js.
  • It allows you to install and download useful libraries and development software from its repositories.

17. Ubuntu

Ubuntu has been one of the market’s most popular and oldest Linux distros for more than a decade. It’s a most reliable, easy-to-use Linux distro whose Ubuntu server is equally famous as its desktop version.

Ubuntu base knowledge has been utilized in developing many other Linux distributions such as Lubuntu, Kubuntu, and LinuxMint. Due to the immense popularity of the Ubuntu Linux distro, many manufacturers develop their systems with pre-installed software instead of Windows. It comes pre-installed on laptops and desktops manufactured by Dell, HP, and Acer.

You will find its vanilla version via built-in stores for Windows users.

Best For – Programmers, Professionals, and everyday Linux Users. Every age of user can use this, starting from kids for their educational activities to software developers and administrators.

Notable features

  • Ubuntu is based on a similar functional approach to Debian. That’s why it features a robust LTS release cycle which means it receives updates and the latest features at definite time intervals.
  • It’s made up of a user-friendly GNOME desktop environment that needs fewer efforts to learn and navigate.
  • Ubuntu includes pre-installed applications like a VLC media player, document viewer, LibreOffice suite, scanner, Firefox web browser, and many different productivity applications useful for learners from diverse backgrounds.
  • Well documented.
  • Its Server operates on different architectures, including ARM64, x86-64, IBM s390x, POWER9, RISC-V, etc.
  • Many popular windows applications run efficiently on it by using Wine.
  • Windows users can switch from their operating system to Linux easily.
  • Due to its user-friendly interface, new Linux users adjust in less time with this Linux distribution.
  • Ubuntu offers a total of six flavors available, all with unique features, desktop environments, and programs.
  • For example, Ubuntu MATE offers many critical apps, including Thunderbird, Firefox, Rhythm box, LibreOffice, VLC, Shotwell, and Steam.
  • Ubuntu users can get long-term community support worldwide from developers.
  • It is used to build cloud computing platforms.
  • The ubuntu community is supportive in terms of providing solutions through online discussions via its official forums.
  • They provide you with Optional paid community support.
  • Ubuntu operating systems offer yearly developer canonical releases along with providing long-term support. This means that Linux users can benefit from 5 years of security, maintenance, and general updates. You won’t need to update your devices in a few months.
  • Its version is based on the desktop environment of Mate, comes with different tool sets, and provides an attractive and intuitive interface.
  • It includes all these critical applications, such as browsers, office suite, media apps, email, etc., that almost all devices need.
  • You can make professional spreadsheets, documents, and presentations on it using LibreOffice.

What is a Linux Distro?

A Linux distro is a popular OS based on the Linux kernel. This is made up of different open-source parts created by different organizations. Like Microsoft, all of its Windows programs are developed by themselves. That’s not the case with the Linux distros. Anyone can develop any of its parts.

The best advantage of using a Linux distro is that you won’t have to spend lots of time fetching and assembling all programs of a Linux operating system. Compiling all the software takes time and can confuse new learners. You can set them up with minimum effort and less configuration.

A Linux distro is pre-built with open source codes and compiled into an operating system that you can easily install. All the Linux distributions are made to fit and compatible with different components such as desktop computers, servers, PCs, home theaters, etc.

How to Choose the Best Linux Distro for You

All Linux distros are developed for various purposes and users.

Which one to choose depends on the following factors.

  • Your experience level – Many Linus distros are specially created for the general use of new users.
  • Your purpose of using a Linux Distro – different professionals install Linux distros to serve their goals, like a student who needs to learn for his course, a developer who needs to create new software, or a working professional who wants to use it in their organization. Decide what your purpose is for needing a Linux distro. Look for the desired features.
  • Your preferences – You’ll explore Linux distros for gaming, home entertainment servers, security and privacy, software development, and many specific tasks.

Wrap Up

There’s no perfect distribution for a particular user. Anyone can make their distribution by assembling it from the source code themselves or even taking an existing distribution and modifying it. That’s why we have explained the 17 Best Linux distros. Check all the features provided, installation process, set of principal components, interface-friendliness, etc., to make an intelligent decision.