The Best Linux Distros

On this page you will find the best Linux distros for various purposes. We've taken the effort to categorize them and picked only those we believe to be the best ones and which will most likely be useful to you.

General Use


Ubuntu/Kubuntu/etc

ubuntu oct13 image
One of the most popular general-use distributions with one of the largest selections of software. Based on: Debian

Fedora

fedora oct13 image
The most cutting-edge general-use distribution on a 6-month release cycle. It's cutting edge in two ways: new versions of software, and it uses new software before other distributions use them. Based on: Itself; Originated from: Red Hat

openSUSE

opensuse oct13 image
A stable, general-use distribution for everyone that excels in enterprise environments. openSUSE includes a few different defaults such as it's package manager and the KDE desktop environment. Based on: Itself; Originated from: Slackware

Debian

debian oct13 image
One of the most stable and best Linux distros in existence, with a large selection of software. It is often used as the base of many other distributions. Based on: Itself

Linux Mint

linux mint oct13 image
A highly-customized distribution that includes many features out-of-the-box that other distributions do not, including codecs. Linux Mint has such a large following that it's starting to look toward going in its own direction. Based on: Ubuntu, Debian

elementaryOS

elementaryos bop image
A simple and elegant distribution which is entirely compatible with Ubuntu. Based on: Ubuntu

PCLinuxOS

pclinuxos oct13 image
Another general-use distribution that combines technologies from different distributions to present an overall great experience. Originated from: Mandrake Linux

PinGuy OS

pinguyos oct13 image
A general-use distribution that comes with a number of customizations to make an easier out-of-the-box experience. Based on: Ubuntu

Slackware

slackware oct13 image
One of the oldest living distributions, Slackware allows plenty of configuration and is a great general-use distribution. It requires some knowledge of Linux and isn't recommended for new users. Based on: Itself; Originiated from: Itself

Gentoo

gentoo oct13 image
A general-purpose distribution that is centered around machine-specific optimization. Until recently, all software was compiled on the system rather than installing binaries. Not recommended for new users. Based on: Itself

Mageia

mageia oct13 image
A multi-purpose distribution which aims at creating an easy desktop computing experience. Based on: Mandriva

Minimal


Arch Linux

archlinux oct13 image
A minimal rolling-release general-use distribution where you install only what you want or need. It's highly cutting-edge and there are no default installations. Most customizations are done manually in text files. Based on: Itself; Originated from: Itself

Manjaro Linux

manjaro bop image
A fast distribution that uses Arch Linux as a base but aims to be easier to configure and use. Based on: Arch Linux

Puppy Linux

puppy linux oct13 image
A very small distribution that uses an extremely low amount of resources. Great for older systems or those that need every drop of power for their tasks. Based on: Itself; Originated from: Itself; Compatible with: Slackware, Ubuntu, others with Woof tool

Bodhi Linux

bodhi oct13 image
A great lightweight alternative for systems that can't run other desktop environments. Still very functional and relatively elegant. Based on: Ubuntu

Tiny Core

tinycore oct13 image
An extremely minimal distro which you can build up yourself.

Crunchbang

crunchbang oct13 image
A very lightweight Debian-based distribution which uses the Openbox desktop environment as its default.

Commercial


Red Hat Enterprise Linux

red hat enterprise linux oct13 image
A commercial solution from Red Hat for a great enterprise system, both desktop and server. Costs of the distribution come from support packages. Based on: Fedora; Originated from: Itself

SUSE Enterprise Linux

suse ent oct13 image
One of two preferred enterprise systems for most Linux administrators. SUSE includes plenty of tools to make the admin's job a lot easier. Based on: openSUSE

Enterprise (Free)


CentOS

centos oct13 image
A great, free clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for a pure, stable enterprise system. Based on: Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Specialised Purpose


Hybryde Fusion

hybryde fusion oct13 image
An Ubuntu-based distribution which lets you switch between desktop environments without restarting. Based on: Ubuntu

Joli OS

jolios oct13 image
One of the best Linux distros for use on netbooks and working with different cloud services. Who needs ChromeOS? Based on: Ubuntu

ArtistX

artistx oct13 image
A specialized distribution that includes virtually every single multimedia application for Linux that you can think of. Great for work on images, sounds, and videos. Based on: Ubuntu

GParted

gparted oct13 image
A distribution made especially for partitioning hard drives. The distribution comes as a LiveCD only and contains only the GParted partitioning software and a console. Based on: Debian

Parted Magic

parted magic oct13 image
A distribution aimed specifically at partitioning your hard drives, but includes plenty of other features that make it more of a rescue disc than a lone partitioning tool.

Kali Linux

kali linux oct13 image
A fantastic distribution that is specialized for network penetration testing and security auditing. It includes all kinds of software and needed patches to do the job. Based on: Ubuntu; Originated from: Whoppix

For Mac and Windows Users


ZorinOS

zorinos oct13 image
A general-use distribution that mimics the look, feel, and functionality of Windows. This is geared for those who prefer the Windows interface or need an easier way to transition from Windows to Linux. Based on: Ubuntu