Choosing the Right Linux Distro for Youby@danarel
502 reads
502 reads

Choosing the Right Linux Distro for You

by Dan ArelOctober 17th, 2022
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

When most people buy a new computer, they decide first if they want a Windows based system of a MacOS based system. Yet, on the rise is the user deciding that they no longer want to be stuck in a Mac vs. Windows world any longer and are looking for alternatives. Where does someone even start? There are a lot of Linux distros on the market, ranging from first time users to some of the most advanced users out there. Ubuntu is really the best distribution for a new user if there ever was one.

Companies Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail
featured image - Choosing the Right Linux Distro for You
Dan Arel HackerNoon profile picture

When most people buy a new computer, they decide first if they want a Windows-based system or a macOS based system. From there, you make your decision on the model, price, etc., and buy your new computer.

Yet, on the rise is the user deciding that they no longer want to be stuck in a Mac vs. Windows world and are looking for alternatives. For this, people are looking at Linux-based operating systems.

What happens next, however, is often a sense of overwhelming confusion. First, aside from a handful of manufacturers, there aren’t a lot of out-of-the-box Linux options for computers. But for many, they use a Windows machine, or sometimes a Mac, and erase the Big Tech OS and replace it with a Linux distribution.

But which Linux distribution? This is where the confusion often lies. Where does someone even start?

There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of Linux distros on the market. They range from first-time users to some of the most advanced users out there. So where does someone start?

Ubuntu is the best distribution for a new user if there ever was one. It has a very simple installation process and endless documentation. Also, it’s based on what is called Debian, which is one of the oldest and most supported Linux operating systems. What this means is that Ubuntu has a large variety of software and support because it’s based on one of the most trusted operating systems out there.

What sets Ubuntu apart from Debian, is that it user friendly and feels more like a cross between Windows and Mac, making the switch even easier.


Another incredible option for beginners is Pop_OS! This OS is based on Ubuntu itself and comes pre-loaded on computers from System76. This has more of an Apple feel as you’re buying a computer pre-loaded with the compani’s own distribution, but it’s incredibly user friendly, but also robust enough for most advanced users.

Pop_OS! Is only incredible for gamers. It offers a separate installation for popular gaming graphics cards like Nvidia, and its app store has the popular gaming platform Steam as well as Lutris Gaming Hub.

Once you’ve established yourself on Linux and understand using the command line more comfortably, you don’t ever have to venture off an Ubuntu distribution if you don’t want to. However, many begin to explore the more customizable and advanced world of Linux. We won’t go through all of those here, because you can ask 50 different Linux users what the best advanced OS is, and you might get 50 different answers.

The answer you will get here is, Arch Linux.

Arch Linux, for many, is seen as one of the more complicated installs as it does not offer a graphical interface and must be installed from the command line. You format your disks, choose your desktop environment, and you don’t see a graphical user interface until you restart and hope you did everything correctly!

Why choose such a complicated OS? For some, bragging rights. Saying you can do it. But for the most, it’s because Arch Linux offers an incredibly customizable experience. You can choose stable or cutting-edge options, and you have a lot of control over how heavy or light the installation is based on your needs.

This brings us to the next point, choosing your OS based on the computer you’re using. For some, you have a newer system you can run most any OS you want without issues. But one popular reason for switching to Linux is often to give life to an older machine.

For that, you want to choose a lightweight OS but still one with modern features that don’t make it feel like you’re using an old computer.

For that, you have a few choices because one of the best resource-efficient desktop environments is KDE and the best utilizing KDE in an OS are KDE Neon, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu. As you can guess, the last two are based on the Ubuntu OS just without Ubuntu’s modified Gnome Desktop Environment.

All three choices (and there are more!) offer old life to an old machine, but also just offer an amazingly fast experience on a new one.

And finally, what would a blog about Linux on a privacy-focused search engine’s blog be without discussing Linux and privacy?


As I have written before, most Linux distributions are private from the start, and you can do a few minor tweaks to add to that privacy. However, for some, just basic privacy isn’t enough, and they need a hardened system that not only is harder to hack, but that if their system were to fall into the wrong hands, date would be safe.

For those users, Qubes OS is one of the best choices. Trusted by the likes of whistleblower Edward Snowden, and journalists and privacy experts such as Micah Lee from The Intercept, Qubes gives you a secure environment to operate in.

Qubes isolates every application in “cubes” so that they all appear to be operating on different computers. It may sound confusing, and it can be, but if you’re not looking for that level of security, you don’t need to stress about it. But for those who need it, Qubes OS can be a lifesaver.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of choices. This year, I launched a site called TryLinux that highlights many of the most popular choices and ranks their level of expertise,ise and tells you a little more about them.

Good luck and have fun with the experience. It’s an eye-opening world once you leave Big Tech behind.