Unlike mini Linux distributions, we will concentrate on the full-featured and popular Linux distros for desktop users. Learning Linux is easy and there is an active online community where you can find out the solution for any problem if necessary.
The Best Linux Desktop Operating System
Linux is a leading operating system on servers and supercomputers. Android operating system from Google is also built on Linux kernel and it is the most popular OS for smartphones and tablets.
In the last two years, from June 2012 till May 2014, Linux usage on desktop computers is increased by roughly 60% and market share for this operating system continues to rise (source).
Linux distros are known for great stability, speed and security. I believe these are the main reasons why popularity of this operating system is going to rise in the future.
Ubuntu – The Best Linux Distro
Ubuntu is a Debian-based, open-source Linux operating system and probably the most popular Linux distribution of all. For me, it is also the best Linux and I have it installed on my laptop computer.
Unity is default Ubuntu desktop environment, featuring a pretty nice and fast desktop UI which consists a top bar, launcher for installed applications, HUD menu and advanced notifications support.
Unlike most Linux distros, Ubuntu was the first one to include the Software Center where applications for the system can be found and installed with only a few clicks – instead of installing them through the Terminal window using commands.
People who are used to Windows and looking to find a free Linux-based operating system where they can easily install the apps.
Download the latest Ubuntu Linux release for free.
Debian – Popular Linux Base
Debian has been used as a base for other Linux distributions. Ubuntu and many other Linux distros are actually based on Debian. There are currently 138 active Debian derivatives (source). Ubuntu and Linux Mint are also based on this Linux distribution.
The main desktop environment of Debian is based on GNOME. This is the most popular desktop environment for Linux operating systems. It is a full open-source free project developed mainly by community.
Debian is one of the best Linux distributions out there, especially when it comes to stability and security of the system. The community take at least a couple of months to scrutinize every package for stability and security flaws.
Debian Linux distribution has an extremely powerful kernel(s) with a community concentrated to the latest security and stability fixes. It is best Linux for those who want a full-secured operating system.
Download Debian Linux distribution
Linux Mint – Ubuntu-based Distribution
In the last year or so, Linux Mint has quickly climbed the ladder to one of the best Linux distros when it comes to popularity. Instead of Debian base (although it is available), this Linux distro is based on Ubuntu. And for me, this is also one of the best Linux operating systems.
This means that all the binaries supported and working on Ubuntu should work on Linux Mint operating system. Unlike Ubuntu, it uses a GNOME desktop environment.
The main difference between these two Linux distributions are: a.) Default desktop environment and b.) Included codecs which are not initially supported by default on Ubuntu.
If you like Ubuntu but you are not a huge fan of a Unity desktop then you should try Linux Mint. It has a highly customizable desktop and it comes with a pre-installed codecs. Additionally, all the apps that work on Ubuntu should work on this distribution.
Download Linux Mint
Download and use Linux Mint operating system
Mageia – Discover KDE
Mageia is a community-developed GNU/Free open-source distribution of Linux which is based on an older Mandriva Linux.
Unlike most Linux distributions, Mageia uses the KDA desktop environment by default. You can also use GNOME environment if you are more familiar with it.
Mageia has an additional Control center (apart from the integrated KDA settings). I found it to be useful, providing more settings like auto-login, software and hardware management, etc.
This is also one of the best Linux distros now available. If you want to work in KDA environment I believe there is no better alternative than this Linux distribution.
Download Mageia Linux free of charge
Fedora – Sandbox Linux Distro
Fedora Linux distribution is well-known for its support for the latest software updates and a leading-edge technology. The latest Fedora Linux releases comes with the latest software versions.
The default desktop environment for Fedora is GNOME. Of course, you can select other environments upon installation. The latest Fedora releases are also known for a great performance in most tasks.
This Linux distro comes with a lot of useful apps (usually in the latest available stable versions) that might be useful to you. Featuring a decent backup tool, system rollback support, advanced troubleshooting application, scanning support and even support for iPhone devices.
If you like to have a bleeding edge software integrated upon system installation, than this is the right distribution for you. Fedora is one of the best Linux distros when it comes to performance also.
Download and install Fedora Linux on your computer
There are many other Linux distributions available. However, these are the best Linux distros for me. Choose the one you would enjoy using because they are all free to download, install and use.