Top 10 Best Linux Distributions

A Linux operating system is an operating system based on the free and open-source Linux kernel. While not as popular on personal computers as Windows or Macintosh operating systems, although Google's Chrome OS has quickly gained market share, Linux based operating systems are the preferred choice of IT professionals and other more advanced users.

Linux has a number of advantages over Windows and MacOS. One of the most notable benefits of Linux and a reason so many people switch to Linux in the first place is that Linux is free and that includes all updates. Compared this to Microsoft and Apple operating systems that cost over $100 for the basic consumer versions. Other benefits of Linux include superior performance, more flexibility, lightweight footprint, and a large number of distributions so users can get an operating system that fits their needs.

It is this last benefit if Linux that is the topic of this list. Linux distributions, also known as distros or flavors, are different versions of Linux operating systems. Some are better for new users. Some are better for programmers or power users. Some are better for business environments. Some are stripped down and better for older computers and some look every bit as beautiful, or moreso, as any of the mass marketed operating systems out there.

This list contains the very best Linux distributions available today.
The Top Ten
1 Ubuntu

Rock-solid stable. Don't let the comments about other Linux distributions confuse you. You can add anything they have to this. If you want, say, the Kali hacking tools, you can download them. Likewise, you can customize the desktop, etc.

Don't run this on an old throwaway computer. It deserves 32 GB of RAM and a 1TB solid-state drive. I run Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and a dozen programming languages. This is Linux for a professional developer. Do yourself a favor and install the server version.

For a beginner, this is the absolute best. You want Linux? Everything is built for this. It's stable as a rock. While Mint should be better, I've had more technical difficulties with it than with Ubuntu.

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2 Linux Mint

If you want a Linux for the non-techie in your life, then Linux Mint is the way to go. I rebuilt her virus-corrupted Windows 7 Toshiba laptop with it. It looks like her old system, so she is able to play her Facebook games, email friends, and play music from our network-based hard drive just like she used to.

Linux Mint Cinnamon is the best operating system, and it's the best replacement OS for Windows. It looks simple and neat - good-looking. It's a classic-style operating system. Thanks to the Mint team.

Way better than Ubuntu in my opinion. I have had nothing but issues with fresh Ubuntu installs, but Mint is solid as a rock. Their Debian-based OS is also awesome. It's just based on Debian testing instead, so it's not as reliable.

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3 Fedora

Fedora is best for the development process, which is based on Linux, and it is also updated with its repository. My friends have already discussed the importance of Fedora, but I have one thing to say. The main thing is that it is very helpful for newcomers who don't even know about Linux. It's easy to learn and easy to understand the environment of Linux-based projects.

Fedora is up to date with its repository, unlike Mint and a few other OSes out there. It seems to be very user-friendly. Since I installed this at our local contact crisis line, we have had no computer issues, which, to me, is a huge improvement over the other systems I had them use.

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4 Linux Lite

For me as Linux and Windows user Linux Lite is the best and fastest distro there is. It is also a very good choice as alternative for Windows.

5 Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Best Linux for enterprises. Well-secured and up-to-date. However, it may not come free of cost. One may need to pay RHEL for their support and services.

6 Debian

Rock-solid but powerful. Easily the best operating system once you learn how to use it.

Remarkable quality control.
Includes 25,113 software packages.
Supports more processor architectures.

Too stable. Ubuntu is based on Debian.

7 Raspberry Pi OS
8 Zorin OS

I have a problematic hard drive and an old computer. I couldn't get any other OS to install except this one. It works great also.

Easy, fast, with great stability and just the bee's knees!

This OS really works well on a low-level netbook. It seems to be user-friendly. I would recommend it to others.

9 Arch Linux

Once I became used to the step-by-step command-line install (which is as simple as following a recipe), Arch became the easiest of all to install. All the hype about how hard it is isn't true. Yes, there are a few things to learn, but it is EASY. Look at the Lifehacker article on making a killer Arch installation and the Linux Veda Arch install instructions.

Arch's documentation is easy and straightforward too. And Arch is so much faster than any other distro (and I've tried them all).

While it's not for the typical beginner, if the beginner in mind is willing to study, then this distro would be a great learning experience. Besides, it's extremely fast and minimal, just how I like it.

10 Kali Linux
The Contenders
11 Netrunner
12 openSUSE

I personally prefer openSUSE because of its good ratio between performance, stability, and features. It's also the first open-source operating system I ever used. I started using it back when I was 12 years old, and now I'm 14 years old. My second favorite OS is probably Garuda Dr460nized, because it's optimized for gaming and has good overall performance, even on my extremely slow laptop.

I don't know why this is so much lower on the list than Fedora. If I'm picking a corporation-backed distro, I'll take openSUSE over Fedora any day. My experience with openSUSE Tumbleweed has always been smooth and usable, and it even comes with BTRFS out of the box.

13 BOSS (Bharat Operating System Solutions)

Best available system in India, especially designed for Indian users.

14 Elementary OS

It's like having a Mac for free. Super elegant design. A joy to use. It's one of the only OSes that didn't seem like it was fighting me. It comes with all the basic apps and the Ubuntu app store, so you will always have plenty of good, safe software.

Excellent OS, easy to use, beautiful design.

Clean and fresh. I wish Microsoft would create an Office for Linux.

15 CentOS

I'm not such a great techie, but I see that most people choose CentOS for their web servers.

16 Black Lab Linux
17 Manjaro

Manjaro Linux is a new Linux distribution that is based on Arch Linux. Welcome to the official Manjaro Linux Installation Media page.

I don't think it's the best one, but it definitely deserves a higher position (in the top 5, in my opinion).

Fabulous, neat, classy OS. Easy to install and upgrade. You will love it.

18 Slackware

Slackware is the oldest Linux distribution, beating Debian by eight months. Pat Volkerding is the man behind Slackware. Pat has followed the Linux standards in delivering his distribution.

The best part of Slackware is that you install it once, then simply update the packages from there, staying current without having to upgrade. Slackware is the best distribution for a technical treatise on Linux. It has great documentation on all aspects of the kernel, shell, and applications.

Slackware will require your full attention, ability to read, and understand during installation and configuration. It is not, nor will it ever be, a simple replacement for Windows like Ubuntu. If you learn Slackware, you'll learn Linux.

19 PCLinuxOS
20 KNOPPIX

I have used several Linux OSes. KNOPPIX is one of my top picks as it is both powerful and simple to use.

Yes, I agree too. And Knoppix can be installed on even a simple USB flash stick.

21 Peppermint OS

I needed a "lite" distro for an eeePC that came out-of-the-box with Windows 7. The version of Windows 7 on the eeePC was atrocious! A decent programmer could write code faster than that piece-of-junk OS could process it.

Peppermint met all my needs with this netbook. It's fast, easy to use, and intuitive. It has access to the Ubuntu app repository. As a first-time Linux user, I have found it to be very stable and reliable. I'm now dual-booting my home desktop with Windows 8 and Peppermint, but I'm going to look at other distros too.

What I like about Linux thus far is that you can try different distros to find what fits you. Windows and Apple force you to fit them.

22 Bodhi Linux

In addition to the standard version of Bodhi Linux, which is for Intel-compatible processors, there was an alpha release version for tablet devices with ARM processors, based on Debian. The tablet device version of Bodhi is not officially supported anymore, because of the amount of time needed to keep it up to date. Package and image updates will rarely be made, if at all, in the future.

23 Kubuntu

Ubuntu with KDE, the best desktop environment for Linux systems. This should be #1 as it features all of Ubuntu but without some sketchy third-party tools and has compatibility that even outperforms standard Ubuntu. Every app from every distro runs perfectly on KDE-Ubuntu. However, it's not for low-end computers as Plasma (the KDE desktop) has the highest system requirements of all Ubuntu flavors.

24 Mageia

Mageia can use all major desktop environments. As was the case with Mandrake and Mandriva Linux, KDE is the main and most-used environment. End-users can choose from KDE and GNOME 64-bit Live DVD editions, 32-bit and 64-bit Xfce Live DVD editions, and any environment in the full DVD installation edition.

It uses the Mageia Control Center. LXDE, LXQt, Cinnamon, MATE, and Enlightenment are also available.

Best OS ever:
- Stable, secure operating system for desktop and server
- Free software, co-produced by hundreds of people
- Elected governance, nonprofit organization
- You can be a part of it
- Simplistic design and great features!

25 BackTrack

That's great to use! That is very useful and more beautiful than kali or... ! That is easy to use! I really like it!

Capable of detecting and exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems (typically Windows).

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