Distro Watch: The Best Linux Distributions For 2014
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We’re halfway through 2014, and a handful of Linux distributions have already made a big splash in the community. Which distributions are the best ones for this year? Let’s take a look.



This may seem like a choice all too common, but Ubuntu makes the list for the best Linux distros of 2014 for one main reason: April saw the next LTS release of the most popular distro. With this LTS release Why Windows XP Users Should Switch To Ubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr" Why Windows XP Users Should Switch To Ubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr" If you're still trying to dump Windows XP but haven't found an alternative yet, Ubuntu 14.04 is a great choice. Read More , even the desktop version comes with 5 full years of support, which makes it a great choice if you need a solid system that you won’t have to touch anytime soon.

It’s also a lot more polished than the previous few releases, so there’s no reason not to check it out or upgrade.

Linux Mint


Linux Mint also makes the list because it is the most popular Ubuntu-based derivative, and it’s also the most talked-about distribution Is Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" The Ubuntu Killer? Is Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" The Ubuntu Killer? The latest version of Linux Mint, the 17th release codenamed "Qiana", is out! It's a great alternative for people leaving Windows as well as those who just don't quite like Ubuntu. Read More according to DistroWatch. And now that they have a release based on Ubuntu’s latest LTS release, everything is just as polished and enjoyable to use.

In this year, they’re also sticking to the same LTS base and won’t switch to another base until the next Ubuntu LTS release. This should mean that the Linux Mint developers will have a lot more time to focus on Linux Mint-related things rather than having to concern themselves about the Ubuntu base all the time.

Elementary OS


ElementaryOS is another Ubuntu-based distribution that has been picking up some steam. This is primarily attributed to the fact that everything in ElementaryOS is simplified and made elegant Looking For A Beautiful, Easy To Use Linux Distro? Try Elementary OS Luna Looking For A Beautiful, Easy To Use Linux Distro? Try Elementary OS Luna Elementary OS Luna is a lot more than Ubuntu with some tweaks and a nice theme. Here's what to expect. Read More , which does make a difference in user experience.

One of our writers, Akshata, has found that ElementaryOS is the perfect Linux distro for her to switch completely from Windows Why I Switched From Windows 7 to Elementary OS Luna Why I Switched From Windows 7 to Elementary OS Luna Bye bye, Windows. Hello, Linux! Here's what convinced me that eOS Luna is a better bet than Windows 7. Read More . Some people (primarily power users) might not like the super simplicity of ElementaryOS, but people who just want a system that works will like it just fine.

Arch Linux


Arch Linux hasn’t really changed compared to years prior, besides a whole lot of updated packages. However, I think that Arch Linux deserves to be on this list because it’s having a very good year. People who are interested in learning more about Linux, or those who want a higher amount of control of their systems Arch Linux: Letting You Build Your Linux System From Scratch Arch Linux: Letting You Build Your Linux System From Scratch For Linux power users, it's highly desirable to be able to completely customize your system. Sometimes, that can be best achieved from the start -- by piecing together the components that you'd like to include... Read More have consistently been choosing Arch Linux.

It’s lean, quick, very up-to-date, and the massive amounts of documentation help you set up whatever you please. Even the unofficial beginner’s guide walks newbies through the installation of Arch Linux step-by-step. It does take more effort to maintain than a regular distro, but it can be worth it in the end.



Lastly, TAILS is an interesting Linux distro for this year thanks to all of the NSA spying leaks that have occurred over the past several months. We’ve talked about TAILS before, which is a distribution that places an extreme importance on security and privacy Linux Operating Systems for The Paranoid: What Are The Most Secure Options? Linux Operating Systems for The Paranoid: What Are The Most Secure Options? Switching to Linux delivers many benefits for users. From a more stable system to a vast selection of open source software, you're onto a winner. And it won't cost you a penny! Read More . With TAILS, you will have all the tools you could possibly need to keep yourself safe from the NSA and other spying.

The only “catch” to using TAILS is that the NSA will record anyone who downloads or even looks up the distro and mark them for extra surveillance — but then again, just about anything you do will place you under extra surveillance nowadays. So despite that risk, I still recommend checking it out.

Do You Agree?

These five Linux distros are great choices for this year. I’m sorry if your favorite distro wasn’t on the list, as I had to leave several off as I feel that they didn’t make much of an impact so far this year (such as Fedora who hasn’t released a new version in quite a while so they have time to reorganize themselves). But go ahead and check these out — I’m sure there’s something interesting for everyone in all five of them.

Do you regularly use any of these distros? Don’t agree with one of my picks? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Jack
    December 19, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    My company does a lot of testing. We currently have over 100 distributions installed. I think you have to rate the distros according to what the user wants. For instance, if the used to be a windows user or a mac user I would recommend ZORIN OS for all the bells and whistles. For someone who desired something a bit simpler maybe MINT. For absolute stability and beauty together the new LEAP Plasma 5 from OPENsuse. For a server environment probably CENT OS. If you want to learn alot about the basics and terminal commands in linux I would recommend the source driven GENTOO or ARCH. Many of these distros are based on ubuntu and debian as my preference but those are not as polished. I lean toward more polished distros like Zorin, Ultimate, KUBUNTU plasma 5 desktop, etc.. Another thing I look at is ease of installation. Ubuntu based distros have the nod here.

  2. ivvan iskra
    May 11, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Seems like ./c all these different opinions, the practical approach for me is to buy several install disks and see which ones will load on my old Gateway tower ( about 8 or 9 years old ) and then try them out as for different features. Some users report install problems while others have no trouble at all. And other problems too, so hardware is the culprit.

  3. br1anstorm
    March 7, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    As a recent refugee from Windows XP, now trying Linux distros on my laptops and desktop computer, I have just come across this site and read the comments with interest.

    While the opportunity to customise Linux is clearly an attraction for those who enjoy doing so, the fact that this so often requires the daunting process of "sudo", "apt-get" and the command-line is a deterrent for many would-be users. I endorse the comment that any and all Linux OSs should offer accessible GUIs rather than obscure jargon.

    What most users (whatever their skill level) look for is an OS that offers reliability, stability, longevity, and efficiency, and works out-of-the box on most standard systems. It is important to many that an OS can connect and operate wifi, videocards, and other such things without lots of anguish, fine-tuning and resorting to forum-help. Many distros simply don't deliver this.

    Since many newcomers to Linux are looking to install on older hardware, resource-use is also important. Once a Linux distro becomes heavily loaded down with fancy visuals that need lots of power (Unity desktop?) it becomes less versatile and less useful to many potential users.

    Finally the constant updating/upgrading of distro release-versions, and the need to replace or reinstall, while fascinating for developers and style-geeks, is less welcome to those like me who value stability and longevity.

    All this has led me towards the rolling-release distros, and to the choice of PCLinuxOS as my preferred distro. Not the most fashionable, not a gimmicky effects-driven OS, but a rock-solid (in my experience) distro whose developers - importantly - keep a very careful eye on the software in their repositories, thereby ensuring it is secure and reliable. They also have a user community which is skilled, helpful communicates clearly and in plain language!

    I am also using Mint, which I have found the most user-friendly and capable Ubuntu-based distro. Their recent decision to use only LTS releases as a base for development is a sensible step.

    Inevitably, others will have different preferences. There is no universal or magic distro that suits all. The important thing is to be clear about what matters to you, and then to find the distro which delivers on your priorities.

  4. Sailesh
    November 28, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Hey Danny,
    I've Dell Inspiron, with 8 GB RAM, intel core i7 processor (3rd gen), 700+ GB HDD. I'm a developer, use Zend Studio, Terminal, Gedit, firefox, google chrome, filezilla, skype, liber office, teamviewer, mysql workbench daily. I've Ubuntu 14.10 OS installed. From booting the system to open any of the softwares mentioned, there is pain in the a**. I earlier had the cracked version of Window8 which was amazing but love to use open source so switched to Ubuntu. Can you please suggest which distro of linux would be better in performance and other aspects too.. I would like to install an OS that beats Window8.

  5. Phill_Chambers
    November 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    I have used Linux based systems for about 6 years now and have tried quite a few. Ubuntu, of course, leads the charge in compatibility with most types of ware. But I feel another honorable mention is CentOS. It is RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) based and is an excellent choice if you want a rock solid system to actually use securely for any number of online activities. (shopping, bills, etc) I highly recommend it.

  6. Rick
    November 6, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Whats this ?
    Danny S does not know whats a good linux distro, the bests RedHat, Fedora, openSUSE and CentOS and for Science SL-7 Scientific Linux Ubuntu its a joke the Unity Desktop is a joke,
    i have made my Choice for FEDORA/openSUSE or as Server SUSE SLE12 or the RedHat 7.0


  7. JK
    November 1, 2014 at 5:10 am

    CrunchBang (#!) is other distro always robust, fast, simple y well armed

    • xaGe
      November 1, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      CrunchBang (#!) is a nice light debian base to use as is or customize to your liking.

  8. Jaan Sass
    November 1, 2014 at 3:55 am

    I started using linux back in the days of Vista cut my teeth on ubuntu. My favorites include Mint 17xfce, Manjaro, netrunner though I have to admit I have always had difficulty with KDE, I love Voyager os not as well known but excellently and artistically put together, also I have not tried it yet but Makulu looks great.

  9. xaGe
    October 31, 2014 at 1:41 am

    Over the last fifteen years I've ran Red Hat, Mandrake, Suse, PCLinuxOS, debian, Ubuntu, Arch from almost scratch and who knows what else, but Manjaro Linux has been so far the best fit, easiest to maintain distribution for me. I was a bit of a distro hopper always felt like one wasn't enough or I was missing something until I discovered Manjaro.

    Like any good OS its as easy and hands off or as balls deep as I want to be in managing the system. Running Arch base in general has taught me more than I've ever learned running a ubuntu or other based distros. Overall just a great solid experience for me across the board.

    Everyone should try as many of the popular distros as they like and eventually you will find the one that works for you and your current needs. My current needs are photo editing, casual gaming, emulators, video, web and social mainly.

  10. Dennyem
    October 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I've been with Ubuntu for quite a while but I'm sick of all the constant errors in documentation. I upgraded to 14.04 and although I like the presentation I have not been able to get the network running properly. I want a distro that works and is consistant. I'll try Bodhi I think.

  11. The Lightbringer
    October 20, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Ubuntu better than Arch? LOL
    And Debian? What about Debian? Is not even in the list.
    The title of this "article" (/facepalm!) is the best Linux distros 2014. This is more like "Linux Distros I like" or "Linux Distros I have tried"
    What criteria have you used to (in your opinion) rank the best 2014 distros?
    User friendliness?
    Boot time?
    Gaming Score?
    Can we see the results of your testing / bench-marking?
    Ahhh Ubuntu users. This article is utter crap. So unprofessional.

  12. Guy
    October 16, 2014 at 2:04 am


    Best Linux Distro is - Manjaro.
    Uses Arch package base without any conflicts with Arch.
    Quality prebuilt - similar to what Ubuntu initially did to Debian.
    Includes power of AUR.
    Has theming and good choice of software, codecs.
    Installer can install encrypted boot partition.
    Provides GUI tools for configuring major system settings, such as changing video card drivers, system keyboard layout etc.
    Has thriving IRC and forum community without elitism.
    Package selection is very fresh, yet acceptably stable.

    Repository is centric, not fragmented like Opensuse and has codecs.
    Uses systemd, good GUI tools and has lean community unlike Ubuntu.
    Rolling unlike Mint.
    Package manager makes sense, unlike Sabayon conflict of emerge and entropy.
    Prebuilt and includes GUI tools for software management (zero need for console) unlike Arch and Gentoo.

    Calculate Linux is also very nice, IF you want gentoo-based that does not conflict with Gentoo approach, unlike Sabayon. Unfortunately, any Gentoo distro means building from source as soon as one is off the prebuilt package base.

    Probably the only distro that could compare to Manjaro is Linux Mint Debian Edition, if they would do it right. But they went totally down. Sparky does it right, but its much less polished than Manjaro. Sparky would probably be my second choice after Manjaro.

    This is coming from ex-Gentoo(2 years), ex-Debian(3 years), ex-Ubuntu(2 years), ex-Mint(1 year), ex-Mageia(3 months), ex-Arch(1 year) user.

    • dragonmouth
      December 19, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Those are YOUR favorite distros and YOUR characterization of them. Whether they are the "best" for anybody else is very arguable.

      "This is coming from ex-Gentoo(2 years), ex-Debian(3 years), ex-Ubuntu(2 years), ex-Mint(1 year), ex-Mageia(3 months), ex-Arch(1 year) user."
      All that means is that you are a distro-hopper that can't settle on a distro.

  13. jason
    September 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Don't you hate it when reviewers generalize in such a specific fashion.
    For example, Arch is one of the best distro for whom?

    How I would put the Linux situation in 2014:

    1. Best distros for the average user who wants to be productive and actually wants a practical Linux work desktop:

    *Ubuntu / Mint derivatives

    2. Best distro, unsuitable for production, but valuable for cutting edge developments and tech enthusiasts and developers who help move Linux ahead:


    3. Best distro, unsuitable for production, but useful for the minimalist, tweaker, or linux hobbist:

    Arch, Majaro, et al

    4. Best experimental distro, unsuitable for production but useful for geeks who want more control of how they use and interact with Linux:

    *Gentoo, Sabayon

    You may not agree, of course, but as you can see, Linux is not a unified platform but what it is is a powerful platform with pleanty of freedom and development diversity underpinned by a powerful, modern kernel.

  14. Amir
    September 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    you forgot centos/ redhat!

  15. Ed
    September 10, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Parabola (Arch libre) and Gentoo.

    Mint and Suse for everything else.

    Unity is an abortion and Gnome shell not much better

  16. Akshendra
    September 2, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Well there is a spam check but no spell check, so sorry for my horrible spellings and grammar !

  17. Akshendra
    September 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Elementy is the way to! Its so elegant and beautiful. Its also have some new innovative ideas as well. I felt the same when I used Deepin but when I started using it regulary it felt a little fragile, but EOS is solid

  18. Robert Martn
    August 22, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I have examine a lot of Linux Distos and I would have to say that Linux Mint has been my favorite for about six years since I have been looking at Linux operating systems which started in 2008.

  19. Ming
    August 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I left Windows four years ago for "KUBUNTU" and I aint going back. I aint going back I tell yuh, no way, no how. Aint anything I can't do in linux, and a hell of a lot more that I can do in Windoze. I've never searched for or loaded a hardware driver in four years, never seen a BSOD(Blue Screen of Death), never crashed. I now sleep well at night, I don't stay up all night trying to figure out why shit don't work. I have been so abused, misused, ignored and disrespected by Microsoft and Windoze, I felt so dirty, like a dirty little whore... it was awful I tell yuh, just awful . . HaHa (LOL)

  20. Rusty Raptor
    August 9, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I think manjaro and solydX/K should be on here

  21. AntonioH
    August 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Shocked to not see openSUSE on the list. Glad to see Arch though.

  22. TonyM
    August 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Long time mint user. Mint17 installed on my Laptop and Desktop. No distro hopping necessary. Rock solid OS...

  23. 3Floppys1992
    July 31, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Slackware for minimalism and cli + KVM so you can try all the trendy new Ubuntus, run Windows for gaming, and OSX for Garage Band.

  24. PlaGeRaN
    July 31, 2014 at 6:46 am

    I'm still waiting for WINE to pick up it's feet, I have some MS products that I use on a daily basis and some alternatives don't cut it... just yet

  25. Spwizard
    July 31, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Hai guys I am love distro hopping and have been at it for the last 3 years. Two of the best and light weight distros I would definitely recommend would be WattOS and Puppy Linux. quite straight forward and easy to use and uses less resources. As for the question earlier about lightweight Linux, I definitely try these out and for the older PC's try out Linux MInt 9 which is my goto distro in case problems with others even though it is a bit old. Highly reliable and steady.

    Just my two cents worth....

    • Greg Harper
      July 31, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      Mageia, I'm using it now. It's the branch-off of Mandriva which was previously Mandrake back in the old days. It's a Redhat type rpm driven system, very eaasy to use and install and has worked for me since the mid 1990's on all the Amd based computers I've built which is quite a few.

  26. Lazy8
    July 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    I've been playing with Linux again after about a 7 year layoff. I was using Linux up to Fedora 7, which worked well on every computer that I tried it on, including virtual machines on older, slower, laptops.

    Over the past month I've tried Mint 16 and 17, Elementary OS, and just yesterday SolydXK.

    Mint (16 and 17 with various desktops) seems to work on my higher end PC's, but doesn't work on an older HP Desktop. I spent at least 5 days going in circle with the help of the Mint Community Forums, but to no avail. Very frustrating! When Mint works, it works fine, but it isn't ready for prime time. It's hit or miss, depending on your PC.

    Elementary OS Luna installed on an older HP laptop, but is very flaky. It locks up randomly requiring a power down. I like the look and feel of Luna, but it clearly isn't ready for prime time. Others have experienced lock-ups also.

    Yesterday I was very disappointed to find that SolydX, 32-bit version (Home edition) doesn't install on an older HP laptop. In fact, thus far it's the only distro that I've found that doesn't even work from the LiveCD. Elementary OS installed easily on that same laptop, and was about as responsive as XP. So, again, SolydXK is not ready for prime time.

    So over the past month, I've found that Linux (various distros) just don't work on my HP desktop and laptops that are over 6 years old. These are computers that were commonly sold at places like Fry's, Best Buy, Sams Club, and Walmart.

    I wrote a detailed response here to Jerome about my wishes to find a version of Linux that will work on older XP machines. I've tried a few distros that people SWEAR BY, but none of them are ready for prime-time.

    I'm not interested in something that requires Linux guru-like skills. I'm looking for a version of Linux that I can recommend to average Windows users. I'll even install it for them. But if the "best" of the best don't work, then there's little hope for Linux as it pertains to the general public.

    Can anyone recommend a lightweight Linux that SHOULD install and run on PC's that are older than 6 years (and especially HP, AMD based, XP machines)?

    • Storm
      August 17, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      It may look strange to you, but on my machine (that is like the ones you describe) works fine only opensuse. Ubuntu with its variations, to name one other distro, freezes on install.
      Opensuse works. I go crazy with the Nvidia drivers every time I do some upgrade and don't control very carefully the dependencies, though...

    • smartcatxxx
      October 25, 2014 at 1:54 am

      I have been using XUbuntu (Ubuntu minus the dreaded Unity plus the lightweight XFCE) for the last 3 years. Except a few minor hiccups it worked really well. All upgrades were uneventful. Rock solid system. Ran it on a P4 machine, as well as some newer rigs of various memory and power, and virtualbox. Looks similar to XP, so windows users should find it easy to learn. One of the best repositories (I see here no one mention this as an important asset, so you don't have to recompile and maintain stuff yourself). Clear fonts (again, a linux issue that i don't see mentioned). Also used openSUSE, again with XFCE (for me it's the most productive DE, as I used XP for many years). It provides additional stuff for the more technical users (best admin features), plus again an excellent set of repos. Well, no surprise here, german engineering.

  27. Jérôme
    July 29, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Manjaro and OpenSuse are the best choice in my opinion :)

    • Lazy8
      July 30, 2014 at 3:02 am

      Could you please qualify what you mean by "best choice"? I have a bunch of older XP machines, and I'm looking for a "best choice" linux for them. The "best choice" has to be ROCK SOLID, easy to install and use, and have available a wide variety of good applications. I've tried some newer distro's and some were horrible choices for me. Stability is often an issue with linux. For example, I recently installed Elementary OS, Luna, and it locks up frequently. And yet some swear by it.

      "Best Choice" for me would have to be easily accessible for your average Windows user. "Best Choice" can't require linux guru skills (not even close).

      There are MILLIONS of older XP based PC's out there, and people aren't being offered truly reasonable options. They are either been told that they MUST either buy a new machine to run Windows 7 or 8, or buy a Mac. If there is a Linux out there that can better run (more stable and responsive) those older PC's, then that is how the Linux community should define "best choice".

      There is a misconception that Windows is better than Linux because it's "easier". Easier would be better IF easier also meant idiot proof. I've helped dozens of people with their Windows machines. 9 out of ten times those machines were a complete mess. Tool bars that killed performance, corrupt registries, massively fragmented hard-drives, every form/level of malware, and obnoxious amounts of clutter and wasted resources.

      The truly average PC owner knows just enough to be dangerous. So, again, I think that Linux has an opportunity to gain traction with those MILLIONS of existing XP machines, but no one will be happy with Linux if they find that it is unstable or runs no better than XP did.

      I'm stilling looking for that Windows XP killer to save MILLIONS of people from having to fork out money that they don't have in this still tough economy. I'm still looking for that "Best Choice" according to the needs of those MILLIONS of existing XP machine owners.

    • dragonmouth
      December 19, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      "I have a bunch of older XP machines, and I’m looking for a “best choice” linux for them."
      Depends how old they are. XP was officially supported by Microsoft for 14 years. PCs from the beginning of that period will not be able to run the same software as PCs from the end of that period.

      "The “best choice” has to be ROCK SOLID, easy to install and use, and have available a wide variety of good applications. "
      ANY distro in the DistroWatch top 20 or 30 Page Hit Rankings will be rock-solid unless you are using some esoteric hardware. But the same can happen in Windows. Linux has a very good set of hardware drivers but good as it is, it does have drivers for 100% of the hardware out in the wild. Elementary OS locking up on you but not for others, suggests to me the problem lies with your hardware.
      Most of today's distros are easy to install using their GUI installers. If you choose the default option of every question and let the installer use the entire hard drive, you should not run into any problems.
      Most of today's distros by default install pretty much the same application set which is sufficient for the majority of users. Any special purpose applications can be installed later with no problems.

      "There are MILLIONS of older XP based PC’s out there, and people aren’t being offered truly reasonable options."
      Who do you expect to offer those options? Microsoft? Apple? Experts, pundits and bloggers will suggest whatever is most used and that is Windows. It is up to people like you to offers those who are not knowledgable the Linux option.

      "Easier would be better IF easier also meant idiot proof"
      Any time you idiot-proof anything along comes a better idiot and throws everything out of whack again.

      "The truly average PC owner knows just enough to be dangerous"
      The truly average PC owner should not trusted with anything more technologically advanced than a rubber ball, let alone a PC.

      "no one will be happy with Linux if they find that it is unstable or runs no better than XP did."
      Any well set up and well maintained O/S used by computer-literate users will be stable. If the users install every toolbar that comes along, open every e-mail attachment and click on every browser ad, even the best set-up systems will be de-stabilized in no time. So it is not fair to blame the O/S, be it Windows or Linux.

  28. LikeButFrustrated
    July 27, 2014 at 3:29 am

    I use the Mint Distro. I'm a PC user and I just don't understand WHY the linux community doesn't make GUI's for things that need to be added. Like file sharing with a windows network. Everything is SUDO this, sudo that...... Why not make a GUI that asks the questions and have it edit the files? THIS is what will keep most PC users from switching to a great OS. Every time I have to add something, I feel like I'm going back into the old DOS days. LOVE how Linux works, hate when I have to add things in a text window.

  29. Smilee B
    July 26, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    PS. PCLinuxOS has many versions that will run on very small pcs
    and memory.

  30. Smilee B
    July 26, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    I am a believer that linux is a salad dressing, there is a flavor for everyone. I have used many different flavors but found PCLinuxOS works best for me and never see it mentioned. In fact I switched from Ubuntu and then to Mint and that is where I have stayed ever since. The forum is I believe friendlier and more cooperative than Ubuntu which I think is more commercial. The magazine from both forums are great, but the PCLinuxOS with
    some of their specials help users more. I myself who is not a geek
    or programmer but just a user think that the people who write these articles should write like they are talking to people who are learning to speak and not talk above their heads. You can lead then to water but, you can not force them to drink.

  31. Mario L
    July 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Great and accurate selection! Thanks!

  32. dragonmouth
    July 26, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Is this your personal favorites list? Or are you using the name "Distrowatch" as click-bait?
    Because according to Distrowatch Page Hit rankings, the top 5 distros are in order:
    Arch is #7, elementaryOS #8 and Tails #25.

  33. Tone
    July 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I keep coming back to Peppermint, from distro-hopping, for my acer Aspire One, although I don't really use it in the cloud.

  34. StanG
    July 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    I started to use Linux 7 years ago and it keeps getting better and better. Have tried alot of distros and settled on Mint for a couple years. Switched to SolydK a year ago and after the second update this year its even better.

  35. MikeBravo
    July 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    I admit it, I have a distro hopping addiction. Right now I am using SolydX and like it a lot. The question is, will it be around for the long haul?

    • Lazy8
      July 30, 2014 at 12:14 am

      I want to thank you for mentioning SolydX. I had never heard of SolydX until I read your comment. I've been looking for a lightweight and solid distro for my older laptops, and thus far based on all of my readings, SolydX looks like what I've been looking for. I will be installing it either today or tomorrow.

      Thus far my favorite has been Linux Mint. Mint 16 Cinnamon runs very well on an older HP laptop (better than XP). But I still want something lighter. I was planning on trying Mint 17 Xfce on another laptop. Because I have two identical XP based laptops, I'm going to install Mint 17 Xfce on one, and SolydX on the other. Then I can decided which I like most and install it on the laptop that is currently running Mint 16 Cinnamon.

      Thanks again!

    • Lazy8
      July 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm


      I installed SolydX, 32-bt version, and it doesn't work. There is obviously something wrong with the video driver. It didn't even work from the LiveCD. I had to choose the compatibility option in order to run in the install. But even when running the LiveCD in compatibility mode it seemed super slow. Neither Elementary OS Luna, nor any of the Mint Live CD's seemed so slow.

      I think that while SolydXK is a great idea with a potential, it's far from being ready for prime time. Maybe in a couple of years it will be worth trying again, but it's a real pain to try to resolve these sorts of problems. Again, thanks for mentioning it. I check SolydXK out again in a couple of years when their install is solid.

    • MikeBravo
      July 31, 2014 at 1:37 am

      Thanks for the feedback Lazy8. Your experience is exactly what started me distro hopping. I have installed the golden oldies and I have installed the forks that were still wet behind the ears. I have had displays that shimmered and shook, I have had displays that filled half the screen and refused to center, and I have had displays that went to a black screen and stayed that way. Those distros went straight to the crap stack. There are too many that work well to fool with the ones that do not. The trouble is that there is no way to know which will work on YOUR equipment until you try it, regardless of how many people have raved about it. Could it be that your hardware is *too* good? For me, SolydX worked on video cards HD-6850, a 8500GT, and a Radeon 9000 (RV250) in an old Dell D600 laptop. As they say, your mileage may vary.

  36. Leslie Satenstein
    July 25, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Though not in your list, I have placed Fedora above Ubuntu LTS. I found what is titled a Fedora Remix, that includes all the codecs and stuff for the desktop user, and as well, the software servers that one would run (web, mail, database, etc).

    Fedora20, out since last December, has never crashed on my 2 boxes. My uptime is 190 days. With Gnome and KDE, Enlightenment and XFCE, are delights for all users who chose one GUI interface over another. In other words, Fedora20 has something for you who like the non Unity interface.

    By the way, nothing is wrong with the Unity interface either. Between it and Gnome, it is a question of preference and familiarity that gives one that comfort feeling. I'll stick to Fedora20, as I am enthusiastic about it. Gnome tweak-tool allows each logon user to tailor parts of Gnome to his liking.

    I have an old netbook, and wanted a menu driven interface. For that reason I installed Mint17 on it. For the first month after release Mint17 was flakey, with bizarre things happening. However now (25July), it is in the rock-solid category.
    I do wish though, that I had some sensitivity controls for the touchpad. I tend to touch type and when I reset my palm on the keyboard area, I happen to also touch the pad, and that sends the cursor to some distant corner of the screen. Again, it is the notbook hardware, and not Mint17's problem.

    • BTiger
      July 31, 2014 at 6:53 am

      I have had that problem in the past. If I recall, you can program an on/off shortcut to disable/enable your touchpad when your typing. Try Googling "ubuntu how to disable touchpad".

  37. J.m. H
    July 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I'm disappointed that SolydXK isn't on the list. With KDE and Xfce versions it's already a great distro, and now with the Business Edition it's even better.


  38. Mike H
    July 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    My favourite is the French distro Voyager. It is beautifully rendered and bang up to date – well worth a look if you haven't come across it!

  39. Jason W
    July 25, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Back in the day I used RedHat. What ever happened to that?

    • dragonmouth
      July 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

      It became Fedora.

    • Howard B
      July 27, 2014 at 5:23 am

      @dragonmouth : No, it did not become Fedora. Red Hat Linux is still there, Fedora is "A Red Hat Sponsored Community Project" (in bright red on the Fedora.com homepage).
      For a "Linux expert" you surely don't know what Fedora Linux is...

    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Red Hat from back in the day turned into Fedora, and spun it into a community project. Then they created RHEL which bases it's releases off of Fedora.

  40. Bernard Victor
    July 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    No mention of one of the easiest to use, no bloat, and solid. Good for older machinhes and netbooks. I'm talikng about Linux Lite 2. less bloat than LXDE and easier to customise.

  41. GraveDigger27
    July 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    For the past few years I've run different Linux distributions alongside Windows on my desktop and laptop computers in a multi-boot configuration. Three of the distributions referenced in the article have been my go-to-choices on systems (Ubuntu, Linux Mint and elementary OS). I have tried several different distributions (Deepin, Pinguy, Manjaro, Zorin OS, Peppermint, SnowLinux, PCLinuxOS, openSUSE, Fedora, Sabayon and others) but have remained with the other three as they have been the most reliable, work best with my hardware and provide a different experience that I can show to others.

    The main problem with Linux is most people don't have any idea what it can do - they're still using some version of Windows and don't realize that there are alternative desktops that can provide an interesting experience while still running many of the applications that they already know and use on a daily basis. Plus there's a whole range of free or low-cost software out there that can take the place of applications that they've paid hundreds of dollars for and can meet the majority of their requirements.

    • dragonmouth
      July 26, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      "The main problem with Linux is most people don’t have any idea what it can do – they’re still using some version of Windows"
      The main problem is that many people want to use Linux but they want it to look, feel and work like Windows. What they fail to admit to themselves is that when they use a different O/S, it is going to look, feel and work differently and this difference IS NOT a shortcoming.

  42. oll
    July 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    For server usage, RedHat 7 (and CentOS7 derivative) desserved to be mentioned as a new important distro of 2014 imho.

    • spider623
      July 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      and then you tried to set it up for cloud lol, please refer as local servers, red hat will take one more decade to understand why ubuntu killed it in the cloud market but yes, for local networks it works great

    • oll
      July 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      I set it up for cloud everyday since it's my job. Despite better global stastitics, most of customers ask RedHat for serious business.

  43. Rick Stanley
    July 25, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Best by what qualifications??? Based on actual facts or by someone(s) personal opinion??? I strongly suspect the latter, or even worse!!! If by FACTS, then show the actual Statistics used!!!

    You don't list Fedora, CentOS, or Debian, from which both Ubuntu is directly derived from, and Linux Mint which is derived from Debian either indirectly through Ubuntu, or directly from Debian.

    This so-called "Best Linux Distributions For 2014" is CLEARLY flawed!

    • dragonmouth
      July 26, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      This is only Danny's personal favorites list.

      No definitive "Best of" list can ever be compiled because each user has their own criteria of what is "best". The 'best" distro for learning Linux is arguably Linux From Scratch. However, it would not be even in the top 100 for "best" distro for newbies.

    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      dragonmouth hit it right on the nail except for one thing. This isn't necessarily my list of favorites, but which distros I felt made the biggest splash this year. But it is indeed hard to determine subjectively what is best since everyone has different needs and preferences.

  44. spider623
    July 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Where is manjaro?

  45. jospoortvliet
    July 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

    So the number 2 and 3 distro in terms of users doesn't make your top-5? Also - Ubuntu doesn't come with any kind of support other than mailing lists and forums... Security patches, yes, but that is a different thing ;-)

  46. Espionage724
    July 25, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Surprised to not see openSUSE on the list. Has one of the nicest KDE implementations I've ever seen, and is pretty efficient to use.

    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      I just didn't feel like it made a very big splash this year. Or maybe I just have terrible memory.

  47. jymm
    July 25, 2014 at 11:31 am

    From the comments you can see everyone has a different opinion, but not why. I like Debian based distros, mostly because that was where I started with Linux. I also want a traditional desktop, which leaves out many, as I am not going to try installing a different desktop. I have found two I like. Point with the Mate Desktop and Zorin. I prefer Point as it is simpler, Compiz is an option but not installed by default and Point has given me less problems. I use Point on my laptop. Zorin also has a great desktop with three choices. I have used it on an older tower since Zorin 5. I have had trouble with update breaking Zorin. Nothing that couldn't be fixed but still a pain. If you prefer a Debian based distro, with a traditional desktop and want to just use your computer rather than become a Linux expert, try Point.

  48. Pete
    July 25, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Arch is the odd one out on that list. Cracking distro, but a steep learning curve for novice users. For those wanting a taste of Arch but with nice, simple graphical system tools and an easy to use installer, should check out Manjaro.

  49. Alex
    July 25, 2014 at 8:56 am

    If anyone is interested in EOS for their notebooks(specially those coming from windows), please note that Luna has battery drainage issues and people in IRC will convince you that its actually your battery which by not means is true. You need to learn to use TLP and Powertops to tweak things down to a comfortable level. You'll still have 30 minutes less backup time compared to windows on average, with all the tweaking. I find that, distros with recent updates like end of 2013 or early 2014 has resolved the battery issues(Fedora and Antergos for example) but Luna being quite old suffers from this issue.

  50. Anish M
    July 25, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Ubuntu is Great but the issue with Unity User Interface i prefer to Use Ubuntu Gnome (ubuntugnome.org).

  51. mradovan
    July 25, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Lean, mean and snappy even on the most ancient hardware!

    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      I've been hearing more about Crunchbang lately, so I need to take some time to look at it!

  52. David B
    July 25, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Arch is an interesting distro. I gave it's long and arduous install a try last year. I think it's a distro that most people should install at least once and see if they like it. You can learn quite a bit about how linux works underneath by installing it building it from the ground up (which is the point of Arch Linux). I don't use it as my daily driver, however. Decide if you like it or not.

  53. ken
    July 25, 2014 at 2:34 am

    I bought a Chromebook and love it so far. Needed new hardware!!!!!!

  54. Gregg Lowery
    July 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I've used most of these in one form or another. I REALLY like Elementary and am eager to see what the next version (Freya) will be like. For now Netrunner Frontier is my go to distro.

  55. garza68
    July 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I like LXLE --- its based off of Lubuntu LTS ... zero issues with hardware or install .... Deepin and Pinguy are great but are resource heavy. I like the look of Elementary but it was buggy w/ my wifi card on the laptop.....

  56. Pin
    July 24, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Pinguy OS is the best.

  57. jasray
    July 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    SLAX for the USB and Zorin 64bit for whatever. Linux Mint Cinnamon for primary recom. to other users.

  58. Tim D
    July 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Fedora has always been my home, although for friends or anyone looking to move away from windows I would install Zorin

    • Bilash Adhikary
      October 30, 2014 at 7:11 am

      Mandriva was once my favourite .In fact I think no other OS will be like it future. Now I am using knoppix 7.4. It 's really awesome.

  59. B_Dauterive
    July 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    What ? ! No mention of Crunchbang ? It's rock-solid and very quick. A big plus is that you don't have to pull your hair out setting up your WiFi-connection. Did I mention that it's Debian at its best? It sips your hardware resources ..it doesn't hog them meaning that legacy systems .....won't feel like legacy systems.

    Centos is also good and its updates won't break your system, which is something a lot of articles fail to mention when praising some distributions. If you like pretty and easy Sabayon is up there with the best.

    • mlc
      July 25, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      I'm with you, B_D! I have #! on a 10 year old laptop. It's beautiful, elegant, and the fastest box in the house!!

  60. Skrell
    July 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Do ANY of these distros attempt to make installing things like Nvidia proprietary drivers with Bumblebee support easy or enabling disabling services? Mint (at least <17) has made it notoriously difficult in the past to accomplish this.

    • kwacka
      July 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Surely that's down to nVidia (and other manufacturers)?

      If a company wants Linux users to buy their products it would make sense to make their drivers available. They make them available for Microsoft products but if they want to restrict their market that's up to them.

  61. Lotech
    July 24, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Zorin OS!! I was able to move away from Windows with virtually no Linux learning curve. As I get more comfortable with the Linux part of Zorin, I plan to eventually check out Mint. Any comments regarding Cinnamon vs. Mate?

  62. trm96
    July 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Why are all the distros on this list Debian based? How about Fedora? That's my distro of choice!

    • Ivan
      July 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Arch Debian based ?

    • drm1234
      July 24, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Is arch debian based? i didn't think it was.

    • trm96
      July 24, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Your right, I somehow missed that one...

    • Sidney
      July 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Maybe because Debian is sooooo gooood.

    • dragonmouth
      July 26, 2014 at 11:53 am

      "Why are all the distros on this list Debian based?"
      Actually most of the distros mentioned so far are Ubuntu-based.
      To answer your question, because Debian-based distros and especially Ubuntu-based distros are the easiest to use for Windows refugees. Fedora has a steeper learning curve than Debian-based and Arch even more steep one. However, if one want to learn Linux, not just how to run Linux apps, one should go with Arch.

    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      I would have loved to include Fedora, but I simply couldn't because it hasn't had a release this year. But I always love Fedora.

  63. musty
    July 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Fedora was released in December 2013, but after some update in January and February 2014 , it became solid rock distro with many enhancement and new technos without any crash.
    Also I love stock Debian without additional bugs from Ubuntu and its soo many derivatives, every kid with RemasterSys adds 2 wallpapers to ubuntu and claims "oh. My new distro will change the world".

    • Rafael
      July 25, 2014 at 12:50 am


      Go Fedora or GTFO! :)

    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      I was really tempted to include Fedora because I have a nice place in my heart for that distro, but I couldn't include it since it hasn't had a release so far this year. :(

  64. Douglas Linford
    July 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I have started using Deepin 2014...quick, gorgeous desktop and apt-get! It's hard to go back to plain, boring Unity, Cinnamon or Gnome desktops.

    • Taki
      July 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      I agree with you

    • Ravi
      July 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Yes Deepin is awsome!

    • Justin K
      July 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Downloading to try now. Thanks!

    • Damian
      July 26, 2014 at 12:53 am

      I have just switched to Deepin from Mint and I love the look and feel. There was nothing wrong with Mint I was just looking for a more modern interface and Deepin gave it to me without effort. I particularly like the app search function. I just wish I could get Flash secure content working on Chrome or Firefox. Can anyone offer any suggestions?

    • dragonmouth
      July 26, 2014 at 11:46 am

      "I just wish I could get Flash secure content working on Chrome or Firefox."
      "Flash" and "secure" in the same sentence is a contradiction in terms.

    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Deepin is a very interesting choice! Be sure to check out my recent review of that distro!

  65. Rick
    July 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    That said, Elementary OS is another I would be interested in looking at sometime.

  66. Rick
    July 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Having made the move at home mostly to Chrome OS, and wanting a similar web-centric experience at work, I put the latest version of Peppermint Linux in the place of the old xp computer they had me using there. It's pretty slick and lightweight, having almost no bloat or unneeded applications out of the box, but I can still add any additional apps I might still need that Chrome OS can't handle. In my case that now isn't a whole lot, but I still occasionally need Google Earth, and until Chrome OS potentially adds both capabilities, I still need to do basic document scanning and also create and open encrypted zip files.

  67. SortaNewbie
    July 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    While I have used most of those, Bodhi is now my favorite.

    • Justin K
      July 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      I've liked messing with Bodhi as well

    • Nettlebay
      July 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Yes, me too !

    • Lazy8
      July 31, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Can you please elaborate as to why Bodhi is your favorite (I really want to know). I've put it on a memory stick but haven't tried it yet. As I've mentioned further down, I'm looking for something to use on older PC's (which I have a lot of). I plan on using those machines mostly for internet surfing, playing music, and maybe even some development. So I'd like access to lots of software.


    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Bodhi is great too! I have to admit it was really hard to choose the ones that I did. There are a lot of others that I would have liked to have included.

    • Hopper
      October 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      @lazy8, you could look at zorin os is is based on ubuntu and is very user friendly. it also has a lite version for older pc's that works great.

  68. Kai M.
    July 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    The one Linux distro that I have been playing with a bit this year which should be on the list is Elementary. I enjoy the OS X like interface and it seems pretty solid, quick, and easy to use.

    • Kai M.
      July 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Oops, my bad! I meant to say should be on "everyone's list to try" not "on the list".

    • Danny S
      July 31, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      I'd really like to use it more than in a virtual machine, but the latest release still uses the old 3.2 kernel which does not support my laptop at all. Hopefully the next release of Elementary OS will have an updated kernel that will actually run on my system.

    • Joel Espaillat
      August 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Updating you kernel to latest release might help, it did solve all my problems with nvidia graphics on my desk, have yet to try it on my laptp.

      sudo apt-get install --install-recommends linux-generic-lts-saucy xserver-xorg-lts-saucy libgl1-mesa-glx-lts-saucy

    • koko1660
      October 29, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      you are right friend im egyption and i use linux mint17 its easy and faster and more greatabole

    • koko1660
      October 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      and i upgraded kernel to final3.17 you can upgrade it of any linux from here http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/10/linux-kernel-3-17-whats-new-improved