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easiest version of linuxWith each day that passes, more and more people are giving Linux a try. It’s free and it can hold its ground against both Windows and Mac, so why not? And maybe you want to give it a try, too–but you keep hearing about how difficult Linux is, how it’s a “geek-only” operating system, etc. Thankfully, there are certain versions of Linux that will help ease you into the process.

But before you decide to switch to Linux, you should think about why you want to switch. If you just want something prettier than Windows, for example, then maybe Linux isn’t for you. Consider some of the key differences between Windows and Linux 7 Key Differences Between Windows & Linux You Should Know About Before Switching 7 Key Differences Between Windows & Linux You Should Know About Before Switching Read More before switching. Similarly, when switching from Mac, think about your reasons for doing so.

If you’re still reading this, then that means you’re still considering the switch. Great! Let’s take a look at some of the easiest version of Linux that will make the switch as easy and painless as possible for you.

Ubuntu: The Most Popular

easiest version of linux

For those who have heard about Linux here and there but haven’t really looked into it much more than that, Ubuntu is often synonymous with Linux. And for newbies, why shouldn’t it be? Ubuntu is one of the largest, if not the largest, Linux distributions in the world. With that kind of size, Ubuntu brings to the table something that smaller distributions can’t: userbase.

With so many Ubuntu users out there, if you run into a problem while using Ubuntu, it’s almost a guarantee that someone else has run into that same problem. And with the abundance of community activity, you can ask for help and receive it almost immediately.

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Another benefit of Ubuntu’s prevalence is that Linux developers almost have no choice but to support it. For the most part, any Linux program will run on Ubuntu.

But personally, I believe Ubuntu is the easiest Linux to learn because of WUBI, the Windows Ubuntu Installer. When you using WUBI, you can install a copy of Linux straight inside Windows which can be accessed through dual booting. If you don’t like it, you can uninstall it just like any other Windows program. In other words, zero risk.

Zorin OS: The Most Familiar

easiest linux distro

Zorin OS is a distribution of Linux built off of an Ubuntu foundation. But even though it has roots in Ubuntu, the developers have made some significant decisions that clearly differentiate Zorin OS. What is the driving philosophy behind Zorin OS? To offer an interface that closely resembles the Windows interface so that users from Windows will feel more comfortable.

Everything from the desktop layout to the start menu will look familiar to you. But as you grow more accustomed to the Linux environment, Zorin OS allows you to venture into different interfaces using its Look Changer feature. It also uses Nautilus Elementary over Nautilus–the Linux counterpart to Windows Explorer–because it’s tighter and cleaner.

For more information on Zorin OS, read our Zorin OS overview Make Switching From Windows To Linux Easier With Zorin OS Make Switching From Windows To Linux Easier With Zorin OS Linux is not hard to use or understand, but it simply doesn't fit the Windows mindset that most people have. Expecting to do everything in Linux exactly like in Windows is where problems start appearing,... Read More .

Linux Mint: The Most User-Friendly

easiest version of linux

Linux Mint is the second most popular Linux distribution, right behind Ubuntu. Interestingly enough, Linux Mint is actually built on top of Ubuntu. Though Ubuntu might have a larger audience, Linux Mint is often hailed as one of the most user-friendly distributions available.

What makes it so user-friendly? Unlike Ubuntu, which doesn’t come with many prepackaged goodies due to licensing issues, Linux Mint comes loaded with plenty of codecs, drivers, browser plugins, and more. This means that most programs will work right out of the box without needing to be tweaked or troubleshooted.

When I first started learning Linux, I actually started on Linux Mint. I’ve tried a few other distributions over the years but I still like Mint the best. Is it any wonder why DistroWatch has it ranked as the #1 Linux distribution?

Conclusion

I don’t mean to say that your Linux experience will be incredibly difficult if you don’t use one of the three distributions above. Similarly, I don’t mean to say that these three distributions will make your Linux experience full of flowers and happiness. All I’m saying is that these three distributions are known for being some of the easier ones on a relative scale.

With that said, I think you’ll have a lot of success switching over to Linux if you are prepared beforehand. Research as much as you can, as that will be the primary factor in determining how difficult a switch is.

And remember: if you don’t like Linux, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  1. Ritchie
    May 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    The easiest version of linux of learn? That's Linux 0.12 from February 1992, when source was first released under the GPLv2 and it was tiny enough so it could be easily learned. It was also one of the first self-hosted versions, meaning you could compile Linux in a computer running it.

    Oh! Perhaps you refer to GNU/Linux distributions. Then my recommendation would be to use Arch or Gentoo, because you actually "learn" something with those. They are the most comprehensible ditros out there by far. Others just install a lot of crap that makes you confused and impotent.

  2. Tran Mere
    May 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I've little doubts about popularity of Ubuntu. As we all know Canonical have made decisions during the last 3 years which have made millions of former Ubuntu users adopting other Linux distributions, especially Linux Mint. In my dual boot computer i have 3 OS, two of them Mint (MATE&KDE) and third is now Open SUSE 12.3 KDE.

    I won't install Ubuntu, not to my computer and not to computers of my friends and relatives. Instead i'll recommend Linux Mint.

  3. Anandu V R
    March 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I am using linux mint 13 xfce on my asus eee pc 1015cx.its working perfectly.only thing i added is the intel cedar drivers for resolution changes. Zoris is also good but a bit heavy i think.ubuntu am using as file sharing server (ubuntu server 10.04)

    http://www.ananduvr.com

  4. harley
    March 9, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I had Joli OS, which I think, is Ubuntu based, installed on a netbook & an old decrepit laptop (which is now gone). I loved it and found it very easy to navigate. The only thing was my connection was a bit slow and music & such would skip and lock up. Otherwise, I would install Ubuntu in a heartbeat.

    • dragonmouth
      May 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      "The only thing was my connection was a bit slow and music & such would skip and lock up. "
      Music skipping is usually caused by too little memory or the CPU not being powerful enough. No O/S will speed up your connection. The speed is determined by your Internet Provider. From the problems you describe, it looks like you could use a more powerful PC/laptop.

  5. Jossi L.
    February 22, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Hi Guys, I have a windows7 laptop that has crashed 4 tine in the last 2 years. Twice was because of Viruses, twice because of windows updates.
    I'm sick and tired, this last time it was out of the shop 2 1/2 weeks then agian, it went down during powerup.
    I' work around CNC computers all the time and have been on Windows since Windows 95'.....I hate Windows because of it being so inefficient, fat, and bloated.

    Which system would you folks suggest I look into. Zorin? Or Fedora with the KDE frontend running Wine?
    I'm new to Linux, and plan on loading that Dell Inspiron 1545 this next week.
    Since the System crashed the last time, I installed Ubuntu 10.4 TLS off a disc, my wireless won't work and I can't even connect to the internet with it, so I'm gonna have the computer shop reformat the thing and install the system on it.
    Thanks in advance for the advice....

    • Joel Lee
      March 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      Hi, sorry that I can't help you personally, but if you ask your question over at MUO Answers, you should find an answer soon enough!

    • Tran Mere
      May 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      During the last half year i have had to install Linux Mint 13 to three Windows 7 laptop because those Windows have been in real terrible condition (one was 100% malware case, one was probably malware case and third was because system-hardware conflicts).

      Windows 7, especially with portables, is as terrible, insecure and unstable OS just like all the other Windows before. After some 2 years using Windows 7 millions of users are facing now these hard facts.

    • dragonmouth
      May 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      If you keep relying on the computer shop for everything, you'll never really learn anything. If I were you, I'd install Ubuntu, Mint or Zorin. If you have any problems, try to fix them yourself. For help, as Joel suggests, you can go to MUO Answers. The only way you are going to learn is by trying to fix the problems yourself.

  6. jim smith
    February 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    I use Zorin and Solus. Both are great for beginners. Zorin in built on Ubuntu and Solus on Debian. Zorin will stay Zorin, but I am not sure of the direction Solus is going. Still Eveline 1.2 is a very easy switch from Windows for now.

  7. jim smith
    February 2, 2013 at 10:46 pm
  8. Beirapadua Greaser
    January 26, 2013 at 1:32 am

    In my opinion. Mint rock. I started out with ubuntu, but switch over to mint after a year. no regrets.. cinamon is so cool!

  9. Corey Davis
    January 18, 2013 at 4:41 am

    After sampling a few, I have found that I like Fedora the best..... Unfortunately something keeps pulling me back to Windows.

  10. prasanth vikkath
    January 16, 2013 at 4:38 am

    I have installed Maya in fedora but my favorite is ubuntu. I have been trying to install it in ubuntu but I'm not able to finish it. Please help me to find a good guide that works perfectly

  11. Kshitij Verma
    January 15, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Ubuntu. Definitely. With it's all new awesome unity interface, it's super-reliable support and the amazing software center, I think it gives the most popular opreating systems a run for their money.

  12. Anonymous
    January 13, 2013 at 6:00 am

    mint is little unstable for me, the original ubuntu since 2008 to till now!

  13. Anthony
    January 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I use Centos 6, an RHEL based enterprise level distro as detailed at

    http://minimallinux.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/centos-6-minimal-install.html

    It is remarkably easy to set up with a minimal Fluxbox desktop and is well suppoprted.

  14. dragonmouth
    December 31, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    The title of the article should be "What Is The Easiest Version To Use".

    Zorin and Mint use Ubuntu as their base so, except for some cosmetics and eye candy, are the same as Ubuntu. None of the three will allow you to "learn" Linux since, like Windows, none allow easy access to the administrator (root) userid and the command line. All you can "learn" is how to start various programs and use the Software Center software manager.

  15. Nehad Alikhan
    December 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    limpus ?? i like that

  16. Shankar C
    December 15, 2012 at 7:28 am

    great but where is fedora core?

  17. Adam Campbell
    December 9, 2012 at 12:15 am

    I like Ubuntu best out of the three

  18. Edward Bellair
    December 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Linux, just like car makers, everybody has their favorite.

    • Joel Lee
      December 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      That's actually a pretty accurate analogy.

      • Edward Bellair
        December 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

        Thank you. I keep trying different live distros but seem to keep using Ubuntu. Keep up the good writing. Very helpful articles or get you thinking and looking for other ways.

  19. Abba Jee
    November 29, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Thank you, though i like fedora over ubuntu, mint :D

  20. yang rui
    November 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    i like your articles , and i will be here more than often !

    • Joel Lee
      November 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Thank you!

  21. Ryszard Grodzicki
    November 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    From these I was using only Ubuntu (and from the others - CentOS which is quite easy but also hangs easily). Overally it reminds of Win7 because of big icons on a taskbar. It's also pretty easy to navigate and I didn't have to watch Command Prompt too often (or however it's called there - I forgot). The reason I didn't switch to it permanently was lack of my favourite apps' versions for Linux, like foobar2000.

  22. Naeem
    November 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Zorin is much more better for new linux user.I always prefer zorin to my all friends who are serious windows lover.

  23. Caroline West
    November 19, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Thanks for the review. I do like Mint the most with its interface. I like Ubuntu for it's support. Zorin I have never heard of but will have an investigation.

    I truly am thinking of giving Linux another go but I got saddend because they refused to work any longer on both my machines and I don't know why so I had to uninstall them.

    I'm just wondering about how much support is available for Zorin because what I have seen is much side by side Ubuntu & Mint. Maybe Zorin will work where the other two stopped.

    Thanks again :-)

  24. Teunis
    November 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    In my opinion KDE is by far the easiest desktop for someone new to Linux. Because the deb system of package management is better than the rpm system I would advise the use of Debian or a derivative like Kubuntu. You correctly mentioned the user base of Ubuntu, their support is really great and the Kubuntu one is even better :)

    • Anonymous
      November 19, 2012 at 1:24 am

      I've used RPM for years with no real problems, what do you consider the advantages of the Deb system?

  25. be grateful
    November 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Ubuntu is definitely the must popular but I found it resource hungry and buggy with certain hardware and accessories. The others mentioned are just Ubuntu in great disguises.
    My personal favorites are AntiX for older computers, Mepis Linux for beginners and Debian Linux when you ready to really get your feet wet.

    • dragonmouth
      December 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      AntiX is not only for "older" computers. It really flies on newer ones.

      SimplyMEPIS is a very easy to use distro.

      Depending on how "wet" you want to get. Debian gets your feet "damp". antiX and TinyCore Plus gets them "wet". If you want to get "wet" to your knees, Arch Linux will do that. But to really get immersed in Linux, go for Linux From Scratch.

  26. automan 1
    November 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I've used Linux since the early 90's starting with RedHat and moving finally to Mandrake which is now Mandriva. I'm looking at potentially switching to Mint or Ubuntu due to community support for mandriva. I've used Mandriva for years and watched as developers have come up with Linux solutions to most of the what use to be Windows only applications.
    Personally I find base Linux easier than Windows to work with but the main reason I use it is security. I network four computers at home and the wife works from one of them , thus it is very important that we keep the system and data safe as possible. Knock on wood we've never had an attack that's shut us down since the 90's when we set this all up. Have had a lot of updates though.
    The choice is personal on what you like, I use Linux based OS as my main OS and most of the rest of the house uses Windows. I dual boot with WIn 7 but rarely use 7. If your a gamer you may find Windows a little more comprehensive in coverage since most initial games are written that way. Either way try linux for the experience of something safer and something new. I did and I rarely go back.

  27. Chubonga
    November 18, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Does WUBI work on Windows 8?

    • Efi Dreyshner
      November 19, 2012 at 7:01 am

      I thinks that is suppose to work.
      But(!), its not recommended to use WUBI.

  28. Bishal Mahat
    November 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Mint is also my favourite !!!

  29. Efi Dreyshner
    November 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

    As an old Linux user, I suggest to every Linux "newbie" to try Linux Mint.
    One of the best distros that I have tried.
    Based Ubuntu/Debian. awesome stability and features

  30. Sean A
    November 17, 2012 at 6:01 am

    I will get some people to try zorin because they don't want to leave windows layout.

  31. Michael Jan Moratalla
    November 17, 2012 at 5:08 am

    thanks for this

  32. Eucadio Novelo
    November 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    yes mint is the easiest because of the pre-installed codecs which Ubuntu doesn't have!

    • Bret
      November 17, 2012 at 2:14 am

      This is a misconception. You can now choose to install the proprietary codecs, drivers, etc in Ubuntu with the click of a button after installing. I'm not necessarily saying Mint isn't easier, but if it is, this is not what makes the difference.

  33. Paolo Maffezzoli
    November 16, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Ubuntu is my favorite distro, simple and easy for anyone intersted in migrating to Linux from Windows.

  34. Ryan Northrup
    November 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I tend to recommend either Kubuntu or Lubuntu for prior Windows users - Kubuntu if they're on awesome hardware, Lubuntu if they're on a Windows XP box. The latter is quite lightweight, and comes with Chromium pre-installed as the default browser.

    I've been meaning to give Mint a whirl for a while now; I've dabbled in (K/X/L)Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Softlanding, Tiny Core, Damn Small, Knoppix, and CRUX, all with varying degrees of success (Ubuntu, Debian, and Damn Small have been my favorites thus far). Mint, Slackware, Arch, and Puppy are on my to-do list.

  35. syed asghar
    November 16, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I am a newbie in Linux.I will try any one of them.

  36. Kamran Mackey
    November 16, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Switching to Linux Mint after I get it burned to a DVD!

  37. Easton Wiki
    November 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I've used Ubuntu through all my schooling but i just switched to Mint. Shall see how it really is.

  38. hotdoge3
    November 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Linux Mint very nice all I need

  39. Gary Mundy
    November 15, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Ok you have convinced me to try Linux again. Thanks

  40. Jonny
    November 15, 2012 at 12:59 am

    I am holding out for the release of vaginaLinux.

  41. Greg
    November 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Honestly I don't understand why Ubuntu is supposed to be for newbies when it comes with nothing a regular user needs (flash, video codecs main ones) and I'm smart, but I had a lot trouble figuring out how to install all of that on Xubuntu (Didn't like Unity) so I went to Mint and it was much better.

  42. Fact Checker
    November 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking is in no way authoritative, nor even accurate, and the Head Guy at DistroWatch has repeatedly said so, multiple times.

    Independent research has shown that Ubuntu is still by far the most popular Linux distro. Mint is 4th.

  43. Lautice Colbert
    November 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Mint is my favorite although I honestly haven't tried Zorin. Just inherited another PC so maybe we will test Zorin on that one to see what it does.

  44. Trí ??c Nguy?n
    November 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I used Linux Mint, it updated very slow because my region has no Linux Mint sever. :(
    So I switched to Ubuntu, it's better. But sometime I want to play game, I switch to windows. :))

  45. vineed gangadharan
    November 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    ubuntu and zorin both are good but not mint,,,i have tried mint on my pc and it was not as good as any of both,,it use to slow down when used for a certain time....

  46. Terafall
    November 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Usually I would show Ubuntu,Linux Mint Cinnamon,Linux Mint KDE & Zorin on a Live USB to my friend.When they're interested to know more,I put any distro they liked as Live USB into their pendrive and teach little by little how to use it.Afterwards I'll let them explore their Live USB until they asked me to install or dual-boot it on their machine

  47. Boni Oloff
    November 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Mint looks simple and beautiful. Love it so much.

  48. Stephen Green
    November 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Linux Mint, I don't know about that. Zorin for sure is the best.

  49. Wazzap
    November 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I use a mix and match and recommend the following, first steps into Ubuntu Linux for the Smartphone user: Mint
    If you just use your PC for Emails, Google and Facebook, maybe a bit of typing and doing the odd budget in a Spreadsheet: Ubuntu with Unity

    If you like the Aero themes, all of the above and extra bits like installing 7Zip and WinAmp on your Windows & you are an Android Device user, then PinguyOS will be the ticker.

  50. Chew Jian Yue
    November 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I love Ubuntu 12.10. Easy, fast and amazing. Zorin is an interesting distribution for those who just switched from windows. LinuxMint is user-friendly, which is striaght-forward and direct.

  51. Anandu B Ajith
    November 14, 2012 at 9:54 am

    And Most Hardest

    • Arron Walker
      November 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      I'm sorry? No idea what you're trying to say here.

  52. ha14
    November 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

    one day perhaps will say Hey why you do not try Windows OS, why not to install windows in dual boot with your current Linux OS:)

    • Ryan Northrup
      November 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Because by then, either Windows will still want to take over your computer (and not offer to resize your Linux partitions) or it'll be a Linux distro.

  53. Bob Henson
    November 14, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I find Mint by far the best interpretation of Linux, and would also add Debian stable to your list for those who can't stand change every five minutes. However, they are all fairly similar under the skin, as you would expect - I've spent many months using different versions and have had little trouble with any of them. Your article makes one incorrect statement, though - that it can hold its ground against Windows. Maybe it can against the Mac, which has the same limitations, but it can't compete with Windows in many ways.Try running the latest games for one - they don't run under Linux. Try Video editing - there's one program that works vaguely well, but it isn't a patch on the standard Windows programs. Music and DVD player programs are flaky and variable. WiFi dongles are very difficult to control under Linux. There are many more examples. If you want to run office software, surf the web and send e-mail, Linux is great - but that's about it. If you want something that does those things miles faster than Windows on an old low-powered machine, get Mint 9. I say the old version 9, because Linux is going the way of Windows - in trying to be trendy and run on new portable devices, it gets slower with every version that is released. So, Linux is very good - but nowhere near a competitor for Windows. Not even Windows 8.

    • David
      January 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Yes, I also use Mint 9 because most of the bugs have been worked out over time (For comparison of versions, the most recent long term release of Mint is 13). New is not necessarily better.

      • Tran Mere
        May 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

        Nowadays i use only LTS versions.

  54. Raunak Jyotishi
    November 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

    i have used all three but best variant in my opinion is Pear OS (mac OS) it is smooth and simple based of Gnome 3 check it out

  55. Anonymous
    November 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I think the title of the article is a bit off... If you want to learn Linux, You could use Ubuntu, but also many other Linux distributions, even ArchLinux, depending on your general computing knowledge.

    If you want to use Linux, nowadays many Linux distributions will do too, since the applications are more or less the same everywhere, when you use the same desktop environment. As a desktop environment I have always preferred KDE over Gnome and others. openSUSE is in my opinion also very user-friendly.

    In a recent article I have written my journey through Linux land, starting with SUSE 7.2 over several different distributions back home to openSUSE now :-)

    You can find my article here:
    http://rainbowtux.blogspot.be/2012/08/Quest-for-perfect-Linux-distribution.html#.UKNaX9E7hlU

  56. Mart Küng
    November 14, 2012 at 8:14 am

    This isn't about whats easier to learn, rather what's easier to use. Learning a linux distro in my oppinion means you get some insight what goes on under the hood. Don't rally need that to use a OS. People don't use OS-s, they use programs :)

    And insteed of wubi I'd rather think about virtualization.

  57. susendeep dutta
    November 14, 2012 at 6:46 am

    I find Linux Mint easy as it's a good distro for using other OS besides Windows while trying Linux OS.

  58. Junil Maharjan
    November 14, 2012 at 5:01 am

    have been using ubuntu for quite some time now. i still like the old gnome version but unity is getting good. linux mint looks great but i had problem with live usb stability so have not use it since. haven't tried zorin though. it does look nice.

  59. Timothy Liem
    November 14, 2012 at 1:35 am

    I never feel comfy with Mint. whether it's in Gnome Shell, MATE, or Cinnamon. I always go back to Ubuntu after tried the latest Mint release for few hours.

  60. Brian Mok
    November 14, 2012 at 1:03 am

    I started to use Linux with Ubuntu 11.10. I've stuck with it ever since. I've also used Backtrack and Debian.

  61. Tony Gonzaga
    November 14, 2012 at 12:25 am

    My computer is using Linux Mint Mate while my son is using Linux Ubuntu for his programming lessons.

  62. Anonymous
    November 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I used LinuxMint!

  63. Anonymous
    November 13, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I've been using Linux Mint for a few months and it's for me the worst distribution ever. I think the best ones ( and the most stables ) are centOs and OpenSuse ( my favourite ).

  64. Anonymous
    November 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I was toying with the idea of installing ubuntu as a dual boot in Windows - now will take a look at other flavors suggested by you and the others in comments. Thanks.

  65. Alan
    November 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    These are not the only three. I use Ubuntu, liked Mint from several versions back, and never really got into Zorin. PinguyOS is my current favorite.
    Cheers All,
    Alan

  66. Gary Dauphin
    November 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    So I think it really depends on where the user is coming from: a) New to computing, b) Switching from Windows, c) Switching from Mac.

    If you are new to computing, I would give Ubuntu and Unity a shot for the Unity interface, but if you have to be your own tech support, I would stick with Mint.

    If you are switching from Windows and want to stick with the familiar, Zorin is a good choice, with Mint being second.

    As a Mac user, I don't find any of the distros really close in UI, but Unity is SO far different, I might not go that way. I might do an Ubuntu install with GNOME or even a Mac-like skin, but none of that is really a GREAT solution. Roll the dice on this one... any of the three listed would be as good.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      November 14, 2012 at 10:47 am

      My first was Mint, and I knew my way around without looking into any guide. Whether it's because I'm a Windows semi-power user or because it's that user friendly, I never know.

    • Ryan Northrup
      November 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Unity's rather similar to OS X in terms of how menus and window-control buttons are placed (menus are at the top of the screen and detached from the window itself, and the control buttons are on the left instead of the right; I tend to joke that it's because Canonical is in South Africa so they do everything on the left instead of the right). The substantial differences are the location of the launcher (left instead of bottom) and the lack of a dashboard for widgets.

  67. Tatenda Maisva
    November 13, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I've used Ubuntu well still using it a bit, it wasn't that hard to use except maybe getting drivers for my network adapters to work, besides that it worked and is still working well, currently dual booting ubuntu and windows 7 ultimate with no problems Thumbs up

    • muhammad idrees
      November 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      “Linux Mint is the second most popular Linux distribution, right behind Ubuntu”.
      After the Distrowatch link I´m not sure why you wrote this, but Ubuntu is currently in 3rd place. It´s not the most popular anymore

  68. Mahesh Kay
    November 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Switched from windows. I don't have to worry about not OS upgrade and AV costs anymore. I am using both Mac and Ubuntu. Loved ubuntu for unity (I know others hate it but minimal approach from unity is what I like). I like the repository and the support docs from ubuntu for some minor stuff. Mint and Zorin are good too. I tried elementary jupiter and it also has some potential for good OS in future.

    • dragonmouth
      December 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      While Linux is more secure than Windows, it is not impervious. You should still use an Anti-Virus. After all, you can download it and use it for free.

      • Tran Mere
        May 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm

        During the last 6 years using Linux i have never used any AV software. I don't need it. Using AV is confessing defeat or living scary life with boogies.

        • dragonmouth
          May 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm

          It's your choice. It is going to be your PC that is compromised.

  69. Giancarlo Vincente
    November 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    "Linux Mint is the second most popular Linux distribution, right behind Ubuntu".

    After the Distrowatch link I´m not sure why you wrote this, but Ubuntu is currently in 3rd place. It´s not the most popular anymore.

    • Joel Lee
      November 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Sometimes it takes months between the time I write an article and the time it gets published. Thanks for letting me know, though. Interesting developments there.

      • kevin
        November 15, 2012 at 11:01 am

        No! from past year it has been 1st!!!!

    • Bodi
      November 14, 2012 at 12:45 am

      Mint is most popular in distrowatch because all DE are counted as a single distribution. Cannonical seperates different DEs into different distributions. That is the main reason Mint is on top. Anyway, mint is also a good one.

      • dragonmouth
        December 31, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        "Cannonical seperates different DEs into different distributions. "

        Canonical has always developed, maintained and supported only UBUNTU with only GNOME and its derivative Desktops (Mate, Cinnamon, Unity). All the other *buntus get NO corporate development or support. They were developed by user communities that wanted to use Ubuntu with other desktops (KDE, XFCE, LXDE). Those user communities are the ones that provide maintenance and support for those distros.
        *buntus may use the Ubuntu repositories for common packages but do maintain their own repos.

        Clement Lefebvre, the developer of Mint, and community volunteers maintain and support all different desktop versions of Mint. They also maintain and support LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition).

        That is why Mint is countred as one distro and *buntus as four. Note that the four different desktop versions of UBUNTU (GNOME3, Mate, Cinnamon and Unity) are all counted as one distro, just like Mint.

    • Bret
      November 17, 2012 at 2:05 am

      This is why. From Distrowatch: "The DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics are a light-hearted way of measuring the popularity of Linux distributions and other free operating systems among the visitors of this website. They correlate neither to usage nor to quality and should not be used to measure the market share of distributions. They simply show the number of times a distribution page on DistroWatch.com was accessed each day, nothing more."

  70. Vinh
    November 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Your selection basically sums up what I had in mind. I personally recommend Ubuntu to my friends because its community is large and finding solutions to problems is fairly easy.

    • Anor
      November 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Indeed! but Mint is also a good way to start :) i started with mint, 4 years ago...

      • Tran Mere
        May 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        Mint is better for newbies than Ubuntu.

        • Nahum Larios
          May 3, 2013 at 3:11 am

          What I always say is, if Im trying something new why not explore non-newbi thing, I will learn anyways! :D

  71. Arron Walker
    November 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    So to summarise, each has one key feature that makes it an "easy" introduction... never thought of it that way. Also never found Zorin before, might try it. The Win7 start menu and little aero features were the things I missed most while I was using Ubuntu.

    • Joel Lee
      November 13, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      That's a good summary, I think. Zorin has the start menu look, but you can get most Aero features (if you're talking eye candy) by installing something like Compiz on Linux. Lots and lots of eye candy!

      • Arron Walker
        November 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm

        Compiz, eh? Honestly, the two things I missed most where the start menu and slideshow backgrounds. There were some options for both, but none were really as good, or comprehensive, or intuitive... but then that was then, this is now, things change. I'll take a look sometime

  72. Paul Forbing
    November 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I like your selections. I've used all three. I think my favorite is Mint.

    • Umit Sayman
      January 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      I just installed 3-4 days ago Mint 14 along with VISTA/WIN7 but no wonder, it became my favorite. Within this period, I booted into windows only once which was to check some of my acad drawings...

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