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You’re using Ubuntu, but you want your desktop experience to be a little more… eye catching. While you could always add a new desktop background, or switch desktops completely How To Install The MATE Desktop On Your Linux System How To Install The MATE Desktop On Your Linux System The MATE desktop might well be the right choice for you. If you're interested in using the MATE desktop, here are several ways to get it, including on your favorite distributions. Read More , you also have the option of switching to a completely different distro.

We’ve compiled this list of five utterly stunning Ubuntu alternatives for you to watch demos of, and perhaps download and install on your Linux computer.

Why Not Just Use Ubuntu?

Quite simply, there is more to Linux than Ubuntu. This may surprise you, it may not; here at MakeUseOf.com we generally focus on Ubuntu for desktop and laptops, and Raspbian (based on Debian) for the Raspberry Pi Optimize The Power Of Your Raspberry Pi With Raspbian Optimize The Power Of Your Raspberry Pi With Raspbian As befits a man with too much tech on his hands, I’ve been playing with my Raspberry Pi recently, configuring the device so that it works to its fullest potential. It continues to run as... Read More , and occasional looks at Kodi How to Set Up Your XBMC/Kodi Media Center How to Set Up Your XBMC/Kodi Media Center Discs on your shelves. Files on your computer. Websites around the web. You, the modern media consumer, don’t get your entertainment from just one place: you get it from many different sources. Read More , OpenElec and other media center distros 5 Options to Consider For Your Next Media Center 5 Options to Consider For Your Next Media Center I've spent the last 5 years of my life searching for it and countless thousands of dollars in the process. I'm talking of course about the holy grail - the ultimate media center. Truth be... Read More .

In reality, hundreds of Linux distros The Best Linux Distributions The Best Linux Distributions There are many Linux distributions available for a number of different purposes, which makes it difficult to choose at times. Here's a list of the very best to help you decide. Read More are in daily use; DistroWatch.com features a top 100 list of the current most-downloaded distros, where Mint, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, and Fedora hold the top 5 spots.

Now, if you’re new to Linux, Ubuntu is a very good place to start off. But if you feel like refreshing things while remaining in the Linux environment and making use of the command line tricks 9 Quirky Linux Commands You Need to Know (And Will Love) 9 Quirky Linux Commands You Need to Know (And Will Love) Make ASCII art, talk to your computer and play text adventures. Your Linux command line isn't just for work: it can be weirdly entertaining, if you know the right commands. Read More you have learned, then spreading your wings and trying a new distro is a good idea.

Of course, you could choose any old distro, but why not do a little bit of research and find one with a stunning GUI to impress your family and friends, and show them that Linux isn’t all about command lines and Unity?

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Elementary OS Freya 0.3

Employing Pantheon desktop, Elementary OS Freya 0.3 has an OS X-inspired GUI. Inspired might not be the right word, actually; if you’ve recently switched from OS X to Linux, then the GUI on Freya might just make you feel right at home.

Features include the lightweight Midori browser, which is HTML5 compatible What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is HTML5, And How Does It Change The Way I Browse? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few years, you may have heard the term HTML5 every once in a while. Whether you know anything about web development or not, the concept can be somewhat nebulous and confusing. Obviously,... Read More , players for photos, music and video and a file explorer with three ways to find what you’re looking for, grid, categories and search.

Elementary OS Freya 0.3 is donationware.

Zorin OS 10 Ultimate

We often dedicated pages to Ubuntu on MUO as it has a popular position as the best OS for switchers from Windows. But is this deserved? Perhaps once upon a time it was, but these days Zoris OS can be considered far more Windows-like.

As well as stated support for Wine and PlayOnLinux PlayOnLinux Brings Windows Games & Programs To Linux PlayOnLinux Brings Windows Games & Programs To Linux Read More , Zorin – which is based on Ubuntu – has a very useful Look Changer tool that enables you to customize the look and feel of the desktop environment. You can use this to either style something a little unique, or make the OS resemble Windows 7, XP, 2000, Ubuntu Unity, Mac OS X, or GNOME 2.

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Makulu 9 XFCE

Several editions of Makulu are released, but we recommend XFCE, not least because of the features it packs it. Windows switchers in particular can forget about adding the usual office/Steam (which runs on Linux How to Install Steam and Start Gaming on Linux How to Install Steam and Start Gaming on Linux Installing Steam on Linux computers is straightforward, and the result is usually the same seamless gaming experience you had on Windows. Read More )/Wine software as all of these are included in the install (with WPS on offer as the Microsoft Office 2003-esque office experience).

Also supported are Netflix and Popcorn Time The Truth About Popcorn Time, And How To Torrent Safely The Truth About Popcorn Time, And How To Torrent Safely Read More , and Makulu 9 XFCE includes a firewall and an antivirus tool (potentially useful if you’re running Windows software!). The GUI is particularly handsome, and with the Variety Wallpaper changer active you can gain complete control over the images that decorate your desktop.

Pear OS

Formerly Pear Linux, this French-programmed distro (based on Ubuntu) is no longer maintained, but you should be able to gain all of the standard day-to-day desktop use from this.

As you can see in the accompanying video, Pear OS takes design elements from iOS and OS X (from the logo all the way to the desktop) including a Mac OS X-style dock and also offers a virtual desktop switcher and everything from menu layouts and fonts to the shade of grey used resemble OS X, arguably more than with Elementary OS.

If you don’t subscribe to the idea that OS X represents a visual high watermark for GUI design, then much of this may leave you cold, but if you want a Mac-like experience without the Mac-like price, then Pear OS is an option without having to resort to building a Hackintosh Tech Recipe: Optimum Hardware Components for a Perfect Hackintosh Tech Recipe: Optimum Hardware Components for a Perfect Hackintosh Thinking of building a Hackintosh? You can make a Mac Pro for half the price of the real thing. I put together a custom Hackintosh using information gleamed from several Hackintosh enthusiast sites. Even with... Read More . Beware, however, that there will be no future updates.

Solus

Built from scratch and featuring the Budgie Desktop, Solus (previously evolve OS) is a sweet-looking OS which takes inspiration from Android’s material design and adds to it.

The focus with Solus is productivity; it is an OS that “gets out of your way” to let you get on and do what you need to do without notifications and nags to change, edit and fix things. What’s also interesting about Solus is that the developers seem to have a focused idea of what they’re trying to achieve, and release the OS without the distraction of multiple releases for servers, mobile phones, etc. This alone makes it worth your while to take a look, with the shiny GUI a pleasant bonus.

So, Are These the Most Gorgeous Distros?

What do you think? Which stylish Linux distros would you recommend for lovers of visually pleasing operating systems? Or would you simply install a different desktop? Tell us in the comments.

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