What Is The Easiest Version Of Linux To Learn?

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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 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.

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?


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.

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Comments (104)
  • Ritchie

    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.

  • Tran Mere

    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.

  • Anandu V R

    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)


  • harley

    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

      “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.

  • Jossi L.

    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

      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

      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

      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.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
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