We have already been into this new year 2017 for several months, and it is time to carry out an analysis of Linux distributions that we can find, something we already did with the Linux distributions 2016. And although the subject always arouses some interest, it is also true that it tends to bring criticism and anger from some fans. And the thing is that there are many and very good distributions, as many as you like or even sometimes more, but we cannot include them all in the list.
So, without the intention of offending the communities of the distributions that are not present in our Top 17 Linux distros for this 2017, we are going to present the most popular ones. I repeat, the best distribution is the one with which you are most comfortable, and we are fully aware that there are great projects left off the list. That is why I encourage you that if you use another distro that we have not listed and you like more than these, leave us a comment with the distro you use and why ...
From LxA we have analyzed some of the most important Linux distributions and we have stayed with this selection of 17 of them. For the analysis, distributions of specific uses or designed only for certain niches have been omitted, such as light distributions, distributions for artists, for gamers, for SBCs and IoT, etc., leaving only those for the most generic use possible, which are the that interest the highest percentage of users. The rest of us will have time to create new, somewhat more specific articles ...
Well, without further ado we begin with our Top 17 of the most distros recommended for this year, to which we have put a "tag" to identify the intended users. Also, don't forget our post on lightweight Linux distributions in which you will also find many useful and consume few resources.
Table of Contents
- 1 Arch Linux: for advanced users
- 2 elementaryOS: for design lovers
- 3 Gentoo: to experiment
- 4 Ubuntu: for everyone
- 5 CentOS: for server-addicts
- 6 Linux Mint: for foodies
- 7 Debian: for seasoned veterans
- 8 Debian + PIXEL: for modern untethered
- 9 RHEL: for companies 1
- 10 SUSE: for business 2
- 11 openSUSE: I want to have a million friends ...
- 12 Antergos: I am advanced, but not so much ...
- 13 KDE Neon: for plasmoids without solution
- 14 Solus: lovers of minimalism
- 15 Fedora: I like things to work well!
- 16 Liri: for revolutionaries
- 17 Deepin: for those looking for something different
Arch Linux: for advanced users
Arch Linux It is a fantastic Linux distribution that you will surely know. For the newbies, say that it is not suitable for you, since it needs great technical skills, patience, nerves of steel and a good time reading its Wiki. Of course, the Wiki on the official website is so good that you will find practically everything you need there.
Arch Linux comes "bare" so to speak, if you want other extras like a desktop environment and other programs, you must install them yourself. That is why it is a bit complex for those who do not have so much knowledge, but in return you have a very powerful system operational to work with, with flexibility to tailor it to whatever you need.
It's based on the pacman package manager, which together with its AUR and ABS system may remind you of other BSD-type operating systems in a certain way (ports), as is the case with Gentoo and its package management, as we will see later ... In addition, the Arch developer community follows the Principle KISS, where elegance, simplicity (do not confuse it with ease of use), and minimalism predominate to create a perfect environment. The update method is Rolling Release.
More information and downloads - Arch Linux
elementaryOS: for design lovers
There are many other distros that we could have put into the field of design, but as I said, not all of them enter this post if we do not want to extend it too long. We could talk about PearOS (which also follows a similar design to Apple's MacOS), or about the fantastic Zorin OS (in this case with a Windows-style design for users who come from the Microsoft system), but it was elementaryOS's turn.
The system elementaryOS is an Ubuntu based distro in which emphasis has been placed on the graphic design of its interface. The rest of the characteristics are similar to those that we can find in a derived Ubuntu system, of the many that exist. However, the development team has created this desktop environment called Pantheon Desktop, which in turn is based on GNOME with its own shell called Pantheon and which gives it its name.
The design of the environment is very similar to what can be found in a Mac OS X or macOS as they now call it from the apple company. With a dock called Plank, and a proprietary window manager called Gala (based on Mutter). The truth is that it looks fantastic and makes you fall in love when you see it, and even more so with the App Store that they have developed now (called AppCenter) that we have already talked about in LxA other times ...
More information and download - elementaryOS
Gentoo: to experiment
Gentoo is another of the old, and now that I say that, it also comes to mind Slackware. They are similar in certain respects, but we have finally opted for the first one for our Top17. It is not easy to use, as with Arch and Slackware, so newbies should stay away from these types of distros. However, they will delight the most advanced, as they have incredible potential.
One of its attractions is based on the source packages it uses, with its Portage packages. If you remember in the Arch section, I said that Gentoo could also have similarities to certain BSD operating systems like FreeBSD, etc., due to the port-like packages that we see on these systems. So if you come from a BSD environment, maybe Gentoo together with Arch are the most suitable distros for you.
If you take a walk on the net, you will see that it is an off-road layout, since it can be adapted to a large number of devices. We have seen this distro installed both in a game console, as in a Tesla car, etc. That is why I have made it a distro for those who like to investigate and experiment.
More information and download - Gentoo
Ubuntu: for everyone
Again we enter another marshy terrain, because we talk about Ubuntu with Unity Shell and there are many flavors (Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu GNOME, ...) of this Canonical distro, equally good and easy to use for those who arrive. The good thing about the successful Canonical distro is that it has reached everyone, is used by both novice and advanced users and is being considered for numerous projects from SETI, NASA, etc. Therefore, it is a distribution for everything and everyone.
A few years ago she was presented as Linux for humans, since it is based on Debian and they had managed to make this monstrous project something more usable for the newest. An operating system that in certain aspects also reminds us of Apple and that everything has been designed to make your life easier while you are using it, with a large community behind it, many tutorials and help pages on the net, and most importantly, a lot of software packages for her.
If that seems little to you, it is a fairly stable and robust system, with all the benefits of Linux and a certain touch of simplicity and innovation. And this last quality is very present, since Canonical is making great efforts to distinguish it from the rest and they have launched great projects that go hand in hand with it (although some transcend beyond the borders of Ubuntu). I am talking, for example, of the convergence they promised, of the Mir graphics server to replace the big old X, or of other revolutions like Snap packages.
More information and download - Ubuntu
CentOS: for server-addicts
It is one of the "hot" distros, if you can say so. He is quite young, but lately he has been giving a lot to talk about and for the better. This is a fork of the Red Hat RHEL distro. But the community behind it has wanted to open it up a bit more and make it 100% free. It has nothing or little to envy its older sister for business, however, CentOS is free and it can be an interesting alternative to use both on your home computer and on your servers.
Its name comes from Community Enterprise Operating System, and as its name indicates, it has been thought for companies, and totally free to have removed the parts referring to the marks and logos of Red Hat and other packages. But it is made from RHEL code, and it is also very robust, stable, secure, and easy to install and use. Of course, it is based on RPM packages.
Its importance has permeated many companies and users who have adopted it as their main distro, and also in important scientific communities. It is the case of CERN, the cathedral of science have set aside their Scientific Linux (based on RHEL) to make way for their new system based on CentOS for use in their scientific facilities and that you can also download from the CERN website ...
More information and download - CentOS
Linux Mint: for foodies
If you want simplicity, minimalism, and ease of use without giving up a good distro, Linux Mint is what you are looking for. Since it appeared, it has captivated many, and no wonder. The development community that has and after it has been in charge of taking Ubuntu / Debian, on which it is based, and giving it a total facelift to transform it into its final product.
A stable system, always updated to the latest, usable, easy to install and oriented to the average user. It also includes many pre-installed software packages, so you won't have to worry about the software in most cases. Likewise, the community also emphasizes the integration of free packages. And from it came the Cinnamon project, which was originally going to be the desktop environment for Mint and then it has become widespread.
The integration of some extra tools that they have developed especially for her stands out, such as mintsoftware, some Mint tools that will help you with many of the daily tasks and based on a graphical interface. This is the case of Mintupdate, Mintinstal, MinMenu, Mintupload, MinBackup, MintNanny, etc. And all this, with light and complete desktop environments such as MATE and Cinnamon to choose from ...
More information and download - Linux Mint
Debian: for seasoned veterans
Again we can remember other distros, like MX Linux which we already talked about, but we will focus on Debian. It is one of the largest free software projects that I know of and considered by many to be the best linux for programming. A huge development community with a number of thoughts and philosophies of its own that are worth reviewing in the Debian Manifesto.
The project was one of the first in terms of Linux distros, emerging in the 90s thanks to the late Ian Murdock. The German was in charge of creating all this macro project that later has passed through other hands, since the leaders have been renewed. And although we are only interested in Debian GNU / Linux here, it must be said that the project goes further and there are also other kernels that give life to Debian such as GNU / Hurd, NetBSD, kFreeBSD, of which we have already talked a lot in LxA.
Well, Debian is a good option for your desktop, and of course it is if you want to build a server. It is based on DEB packages like their derivatives, and package management through APT. Its development is slow, it takes months and months of intense work until a new version of the distro appears, but the result is a reliable, robust and stable system, polished to the last detail. Among the available desktop environments, you can choose from many, so you can use the flavor you prefer without problems ...
More information and download - Debian
Debian + PIXEL: for modern untethered
There are many light distros, and in LxA we have already made comparisons of these, and we will continue to do so. We hesitated between LXLE and PIXEL for this category, and PIXEL has finally reigned for its youth and for being the novelty at this time. The Raspberry Pi Foundation have done a great job for their RaspbianOS distro that installs on the famous SBC boards, but their project for a new desktop environment that resulted in PIXEL, has transcended further and is also available to install on PCs with Debian base.
PIXEL comes from Pi Improved Xwindows Environment Lightweight, and its name leaves little to the imagination, since it is a lightweight desktop environment, based on the X graphics server and specially designed for the Pi board. Big changes have been made to the interface to make it minimalist, simple, light and functional. And that is noticeable in the appearance of the desktop, the icons, windows, fonts and menus, which denote a great aesthetic work.
If to that environment you add everything said above with Debian, then we have this Debian + PIXEL so that our PCs become a quite striking operating system, replacing LXDE, and in which some new apps have been integrated.
More information and download - PIXEL
RHEL: for companies 1
Red Hat Enterprise Linux or RHEL As it is known, it is an operating system that arises from the enormous work of the Red Hat company, yes, the one that has amassed millions of dollars selling ... something free and open source? when that kind of business seemed impossible. Red Hat is a giant, but there was a time when it started out as a small but pioneering company. Their objective was to create an open source operating system designed for companies, and for this reason they strive to integrate a large number of packages, technologies and make alliances to have a project at the latest.
RHEL is one of the best options if you have a company, because you will have a stable, robust, secure operating system and if you wish, with a fairly good technical support for your servers, mainframes and supercomputers. The objectives set have lately been focused on the cloud and virtualization, technologies on the rise and in high demand in the company.
More information and download - Red Hat
SUSE: for business 2
There is little to say about SUSE Linux Enterprise given what has already been said in the previous section of the American company. In this case, SUSE is a German company whose goal is the same, to create the best operating system for companies that exists. So the distro is a good choice for servers, supercomputers, and mainframes. Like Red Hat, they have been very focused on perfecting and enhancing the technologies of business interest, such as cloud and virtualization.
They have also created great alliances with third parties to offer many other interesting services, such as the well-known alliance with SAP, among other. Like RHEL, SUSE also relies on RPM packages, but there are some important differences. For example, RHEL uses SELinux as an extension for security, while SUSE has developed AppArmor, or the tools that we find in Red Hat compared to what is possibly one of the most complete, powerful and simple tools for system administration such as YaST from SUSE.
More information and download - SuSE
openSUSE: I want to have a million friends ...
openSUSE it is to SUSE what CentOS or Fedora is to RHEL. The developer community has created this derivative of SUSE for home users, a very complete, powerful, robust and stable distro based on RPM packages and that has the support of companies such as SUSE itself and AMD. It is possibly one of the most numerous development and user communities, so you will not be short of "friends" to help you if you have problems.
It comes with a variety of desktop environments to choose from, and it's one of my favorites. It has the Zypper package manager and also the great and powerful YaST2 tool that will solve almost everything. Also, like other distros, it has AppAmor for security, and it has the integration of large projects like Xen for virtualization, etc., sharing many features with SUSE Linux Enterprise.
More information and download - openSUSE
Antergos: I am advanced, but not so much ...
Perhaps some of you who are reading this have also come to mind Manjaro. In this case, the chosen one has been the Galician Antergos. Its name comes from the Galician word "ancestors" and shows the link with the past that this distro has. And speaking of Galician projects, surely you have also remembered another fantastic distro, Trisquel ... Returning to the topic, the project was previously known as Cinnarch, since it is based on Arch Linux (and now you will understand the title tag).
Alexandre Filgueira was its creator, and used the Cinnamon environment as the default base for its distro, although users are given the freedom to choose between other desktop environments (MATE, Xfce, Openbox, KDE, GNOME,…). Like Arch, it is based on the Pacman package manager, but in favor of Antergos, to say that it has been thought to be a bit less harsh on usage than its mother Arch.
More information and download - Antergos
KDE Neon: for plasmoids without solution
For lovers of the great KDE project and Plasma environment, you may like it KDE Neon. It is a distro in which they wanted to highlight the benefits of KDE Plasma. It is a fairly young project, and to sum it up in a few words, it is a rock solid, stable and beautiful distribution that has resulted from the hard work of the KDE developer community.
It's based on Ubuntu LTS, and take from it all the benefits of the Canonical distro to which they have added the Plasma desktop environment. It may remind you a bit of Kubuntu, but in this case I think it has some advantages, especially in terms of its updates, which seem quite fluid, a re-founding of Kubuntu under other acronyms that promises ...
More information and download - KDE Neon
Solus: lovers of minimalism
Solus is a young project that has appeared relatively recently and that has given much to talk about for innovation in terms of its desktop environment. Appeared as SolusOS and now SolusProject, They wanted to revolutionize the desks that we had seen to date, bringing a touch of freshness and something new with interesting innovations.
Key Doherty and Justin Krehel thought they could make something from scratch using the LFS (Linux From Scratch) project, using eopkg as a package manager, and most importantly and strikingly, their desktop environment. Budgie Desktop based on GNOME 3 and reminiscent of GNOME 2 for the nostalgic. It is light and with a very modern look, so you are sure to like it.
More information and download - SolusProject
Fedora: I like things to work well!
There is little to say about Fedora, is already an old acquaintance that emerged from Red Hat. It's stable, it works, what more do you want? Behind it is a good development community and users, also supported by Red Hat promotion, and based like this on RPM and the RPM Package Manager package manager. It also includes the DNF update system, and the hardware support usually fits quite well.
It is one of the most popular distros according to DistroWatch and shares some of its features with RHEL, as does CentOS. One of them refers to the security aspect, including SELinux. Thanks to its popularity, it has spawned many other distros based on it ...
More information and downloads - Fedora
Liri: for revolutionaries
If you have missed projects like Hawaii and Papyros, don't worry, lilies comes to unify both. The project is very very new, based on Arch Linux, so the base is impeccable, and bringing together the efforts of other development communities such as Hawaii (pioneers in Wayland, FLuid libraries, or QML / Qt5 in its day) , the Liri applications and the Papyros distro (or Quartz OS as it was known at first).
If you put all of that together and put it in a shaker, the result is LiriOS. A distro that will not only attract you technically, but also visually. And that's because they have broken with everything seen so far and created from scratch, and have used Material Design from Google (the same one used by the giant for the Android interface) to create a minimalist, innovative, light and simple desktop environment. All seasoned with animations and own programs that you will like.
More information and download - Liri
Deepin: for those looking for something different
We finish with another one that has been recruiting a large number of users in recent years. In this case it comes from China, and they have done a good job in many ways, although there are some details to be polished and that do not happen in Debian, the distro on which it is based. I speak of Deepin (formerly known as Hiweed Linux).
What its developers appreciate the most is creating a stable, secure, elegant and user-friendly environment. For this reason, much of the work has been aimed at creating an environment of new desktop named DDE (Deepin Desktop). It is based on Qt5 and includes an application store and its own apps that you will not find in other systems.
More information and download - Deepin
Remember leave your comments with doubts, recommendations, opinions, etc. I hope you liked this article and, for those new to this world, that it has helped you if you were undecided as to which distro to choose.
Tell us, what are the Linux distributions what else do you like?