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The best Linux distros for 2024

Linux has options for beginners, power users, and everything in between.
Updated by:

Published onJune 18, 2024

As we head deeper into 2024, it’s the perfect time to explore the best Linux distro for your needs, even if you’re a Windows or Android veteran. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, a Linux distro exists for you. This article aims to guide you through the best Linux distros of 2024, helping you select one that allows you to dip your toes into the vastness of the Linux ecosystem. Read on to learn more, or watch the more detailed video above.

Save time and find your best distro!

What is a Linux distro?

A desktop operating system comprises different parts, be it Windows, Linux, or macOS. You need the core of the OS, known as a kernel (in this case, the Linux kernel), and the desktop environment, which includes window and mouse support and allows you to move things around. A Linux distro, or distribution, combines these different components. There are numerous versions of the Linux kernel, long-term support versions, bleeding-edge versions, and versions with bespoke backport patches that a specific Linux distro might want to include.

Desktop environments are also varied, with popular ones including GNOME, KDE, MATE, LXQT, and XFCE. Each environment has its unique way of writing a program, toolkit, and APIs.

A Linux distro also needs a mechanism for installing security updates. The size and popularity of the distro often determine the resources available for providing these updates. Additionally, you need a method to install the application. Unlike Windows or macOS, which have a standardized system, Linux uses a package and a package manager to install the dependencies.

Many combinations of these different components result in a dizzying number of Linux distributions. This variety is both a strength and a weakness, offering many choices and potentially causing confusion.

The best Linux distros for beginners

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The best Linux distro for beginners is Ubuntu, a stable, well-known distro with a large community. Manjaro is another excellent choice with its user-friendly interface, excellent installation process, and good hardware detection. Pop!_OS, an Ubuntu-based distro with a custom GNOME desktop from Linux company System 76, is also worth considering.

Other notable mentions include Elementary OS, EndeavourOS, MX Linux, Zorin OS, and Linux Mint.

The best Linux distros for experts

For experienced users and IT experts, Debian, the source of many Linux distros, is a solid choice. openSUSE is known for its flexibility and suitability for both desktops and servers. Arch Linux, lightweight with a rolling release, is popular among advanced Linux users who prefer a hands-on approach. Kali Linux, designed for ethical hackers and cybersecurity professionals, comes pre-installed with numerous tools.

Other distros worth exploring include Alpine Linux, Gentoo, Slackware, and NixOS. Following Red Hat’s decision to stop releasing the source code for its distro, we no longer recommend any distros that support Red Hat’s objectives.

How to use a Linux distro

If you’re new to Linux, you might wonder where to start. There are four ways to test or use a Linux distribution: install it directly on your main PC, install it on a spare PC, install it on a virtual machine, or boot directly from the USB.

In conclusion, whether you’re a Linux newbie or a seasoned user, 2024 is a great year to explore the diverse world of Linux distros. We’d love to hear about your experiences with Linux below and whether you plan to try it this year.

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