5 (+ Extra) Linux Distribution for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide

If you're a novice in the world of Linux, deciding on the right distribution can seem like a daunting task.
Photo by Lukas on Unsplash

If you’re a novice in the world of Linux, deciding on the right distribution can seem like a daunting task. But fret not, we have compiled this comprehensive guide to help you navigate through your decision-making process.

Introduction to Linux

First off, understanding what exactly Linux is and how it functions can help you choose the best distribution. Simply put, Linux is a highly versatile, open-source operating system that’s recognized for its stability and security. Whether you’re a student, a tech enthusiast, or a seasoned software developer or DevOps engineer, Linux might just be the ideal choice for you.

Why Choose Linux?

Apart from being free and open-source, Linux is also customizable and comes with considerable community support. It’s perfect for those who wish to move away from operating systems like Windows or MacOS, and want to delve deeper into how an OS functions. Dig into the world of Linux with our previous article: Linux for Beginners: An Initial Journey Through the Command Line.

The Decision: Selecting Your Linux Distribution

There are countless Linux distributions available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. We’ve selected our top 5 recommendations for beginners.

1. Ubuntu: User-friendly and Ideal for Beginners

Ubuntu: User-friendly and Ideal for Beginners
User-friendly and Ideal for Beginners

Ubuntu is a highly user-friendly Linux distribution and is a great starting point for Linux newbies. It offers a clean and intuitive interface, coupled with robust community support. To learn more about Ubuntu’s offerings, be sure to visit its official website.


  1. User-friendly: Ubuntu is known for its intuitive and user-friendly interface which is perfect for beginners.
  2. Active Community: Ubuntu has a large and active online community for troubleshooting and support.
  3. Robust Software Center: Comes with a robust Software Center for easy installation of new applications.
  4. Wide Hardware Compatibility: Ubuntu offers excellent hardware compatibility.
  5. Regular Security Updates: Ubuntu rolls out security updates frequently, ensuring a secure environment.


  1. Frequent Releases: Ubuntu’s frequent new releases may require regular updates which some users may find inconvenient.
  2. Heavy System: Compared to other distributions, Ubuntu is a bit heavy on system resources.
  3. Privacy Concerns: Some users have raised privacy concerns with Ubuntu.
  4. Less Customizable: It is less customizable compared to other Linux distributions.
  5. Software Updates: New software sometimes takes time to arrive in the official Ubuntu repositories.

2. Fedora: Advanced Your Software Development Skills

Fedora: Advanced Your Software Development Skills
 Advanced Your Software Development Skills

Fedora is a strong choice for software developers, thanks to its inclusion of the latest technologies. It’s renowned for its cutting-edge software and strong community backing. Interested users can find more information on the Fedora homepage.


  1. Latest Technologies: Fedora features cutting-edge technologies, making it an excellent platform for software development.
  2. Sponsored by Red Hat: Being sponsored by Red Hat, Fedora has a strong backing and support.
  3. Secure: Fedora has excellent security features, making it a reliable choice.
  4. Performance: Fedora uses less memory than Ubuntu, making it faster in performance.
  5. Software through Flatpak: It offers a wide range of software through Flatpak.


  1. Short Term Support: Fedora versions are supported for a shorter term compared to others.
  2. Frequent Releases: Fedora’s frequent new releases may require regular updates.
  3. Proprietary Software: Fedora doesn’t include proprietary software, so you will need to install them manually.
  4. Hardware Recognition: Certain hardware might not be recognized immediately on Fedora.
  5. Less Ideal for Complete Beginners: Fedora’s focus on new technologies might make it less ideal for absolute beginners.

3. CentOS: Recommended for DevOps Engineers

CentOS: Recommended for DevOps Engineers
Recommended for DevOps Engineers

CentOS is a robust, enterprise-level platform renowned for its high compatibility with enterprise applications. It’s the distribution of choice for many professional DevOps engineers. Explore the CentOS website to learn more about its features.


  1. Robust and Stable: CentOS is known for its robustness and stability.
  2. Enterprise-level: Provides a highly stable, enterprise-level platform with long-term support.
  3. Software Compatibility: High compatibility with enterprise-grade applications.
  4. Security: Excellent for servers due to its strong security features.
  5. Community Support: Comes with a strong, active community providing excellent support.


  1. Outdated Packages: CentOS uses older packages that might not be ideal for users seeking newer software.
  2. Less User-Friendly: Compared to distributions like Ubuntu, it can be a little less user-friendly.
  3. Slow Updates: Its focus on stability means updates roll out slower compared to other distributions.
  4. Limited Software: Limited software in its repository compared to Ubuntu and Fedora.
  5. Less Ideal for Non-Technical Users: CentOS is less ideal for non-technical users who do not know their way around Linux.

4. Mint: A Good Alternative to Ubuntu

Linux Mint: A Good Alternative to Ubuntu
A Good Alternative to Ubuntu

Linux Mint is another excellent choice for beginners, known for its ease of use and traditional desktop layout. Its low system requirements make it a good choice for older hardware. Visit the official Linux Mint site to delve deeper into its offerings.


  1. Easy to Use: Mint offers an intuitive interface, making it another great choice for beginners.
  2. Traditional Desktop Layout: Mint provides a more traditional desktop layout, familiar for those transitioning from Windows.
  3. Software Manager: Mint features an excellent software manager that includes both free and proprietary software.
  4. Low System Requirements: Mint is lightweight and runs smoothly even on older hardware.
  5. Long Term Support: Mint only releases Long Term Support (LTS) versions, ensuring stability and extended support.


  1. Aesthetics: Some users find Mint’s default desktop environment less visually appealing than other distributions.
  2. Lack of Features: Mint has fewer built-in features compared to some distributions like Ubuntu.
  3. Slow Adoption of New Technologies: Mint sometimes lags behind in adopting new technologies.
  4. No Enterprise Version: Mint doesn’t have an enterprise version, which might be a setback for some users.
  5. Based on Ubuntu: Since Mint is based on Ubuntu, it sometimes suffers from Ubuntu’s drawbacks.

5. Zorin OS: Emphasizes Simplicity and Speed

Zorin OS: Emphasizes Simplicity and Speed
Emphasizes Simplicity and Speed

Zorin OS emphasizes simplicity and speed, offering a clean user interface and excellent stability. Its Windows-like appearance makes it an ideal choice for those transitioning from the Windows environment. Learn more about Zorin OS on their official website.


  1. Simplicity: Zorin OS offers a simple, clean, and easy-to-navigate user interface.
  2. Speed: It’s fast and efficient, making it suitable for all users, including those with older hardware.
  3. Strong Focus on Privacy: Zorin OS emphasizes privacy and security, which is a big plus for many users.
  4. Windows-like Appearance: Its Windows-like appearance makes transitioning from Windows easier.
  5. Stability: Being based on Ubuntu LTS, Zorin OS is highly stable and reliable.


  1. Fewer Default Applications: Zorin OS comes with fewer pre-installed applications compared to distributions like Ubuntu.
  2. Premium Version: Some features are only available in the premium version of Zorin OS.
  3. Limited Software in the Repository: Zorin OS has a more limited software repository compared to Ubuntu or Fedora.
  4. Lack of Community Support: While growing, Zorin OS’s community is still smaller compared to other distributions.
  5. Updates Dependent on Ubuntu: Since Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu, it depends on Ubuntu for its updates.

Extra Section: Spotlight on Pop!_OS: A Rising Star in the Linux World

Pop!_OS: A Rising Star in the Linux World
A Rising Star in the Linux World

Pop!_OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution developed by System76. It has quickly gained traction in the Linux community due to its ease of use and robust performance, making it particularly popular among developers and Linux beginners alike. Find out more about this Ubuntu-based distribution at the Pop!_OS official site.

Pros of Pop!_OS

  1. User-friendly Interface: Pop!_OS uses the GNOME desktop environment, which is straightforward and easy to navigate, even for Linux beginners.
  2. Excellent Hardware Support: Being developed by System76, a manufacturer of Linux laptops and desktops, Pop!_OS offers excellent hardware support.
  3. Software Compatibility: Pop!_OS is based on Ubuntu, which means you can use nearly all applications that are compatible with Ubuntu.
  4. Auto-Tiling Feature: Pop!_OS comes with an in-built auto-tiling feature, which can be a productivity booster for power users.
  5. Strong Focus on User Privacy: Pop!_OS emphasizes user privacy, providing a safe and secure environment for users.

Cons of Pop!_OS

  1. Limited Software in Default Repository: Although Pop!_OS can use Ubuntu’s repositories, its own repository is slightly limited compared to other distributions like Ubuntu.
  2. No Minimal Installation Option: There isn’t a minimal installation option for users who prefer a lightweight installation.
  3. Customized GNOME Environment: Pop!_OS customizes the GNOME desktop environment, which might not appeal to purists.
  4. Less Community Support: Pop!_OS’s community is growing but is currently smaller compared to other, more established distributions like Ubuntu.
  5. System76 Hardware Focus: Pop!_OS is primarily designed with System76 hardware in mind. While it generally works well on all hardware, you might get the most out of it if you’re using System76 hardware.

If you’re ever curious about venturing into new territories within the Linux universe, Pop!_OS is an excellent distribution to consider. Remember, Linux, at its core, is all about choice and finding what works best for you. So don’t hesitate to explore and experiment!

The Final Step

Reading through this guide, you’ve gained insights into the pros and cons of different Linux distributions. It’s important to remember that choosing a Linux distribution is subjective, and it should align with what you’re looking for in an operating system.

Read More: Want to delve deeper into these Linux distributions and understand their functionalities better? Make sure you read the full series of articles on our blog. The more you learn, the better your decision-making process will be!


Stepping into the Linux universe might seem intimidating at first, but with the right starting point, it unveils a world full of possibilities. Select the right Linux distribution for you, and embark on this exciting journey!

Take Action: We encourage you not to hesitate and keep reading our articles. Equip yourself with the knowledge to make the best decision suited to your needs. The world of Linux awaits!

Note: This article is part of our series for beginners, where we aim to impart the knowledge needed to embark on the Linux journey. Stay tuned for more informative content!

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