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Tom's Recommended Desktop Linux Distros

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May 27, 2010 1:13:34 AM

Tom's Recommended Desktop Linux Distros

This sticky is our list of recommended Linux distributions for the desktop. Each distribution's default graphical user interface (GUI), package type, and release cycle are listed below. When we can, we'll list a recommended version as well.

-Best Overall Distro-
Ubuntu
GUI: GNOME
Package: DEB
Release: 6 months
Recommended Version: 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx

-Best KDE/DEB Distro-
Kubuntu
GUI: KDE
Package: DEB
Release: 6 months
Recommended Version: 9.10 Karmic Koala

-Best GNOME/RPM Distro-
Fedora
GUI: GNOME
Package: RPM
Release: 6 months

-Best KDE/RPM Distro-
openSUSE
GUI: KDE
Package: RPM
Release: 8 months

-Best Lightweight Distro-
Puppy Linux
GUI: JWM
Package: PET
Release: 6 months
Recommended Version: 5.0 Lucid Puppy

-Best Out-Of-The-Box Experience-
Linux Mint
GUI: GNOME
Package: DEB
Release: 6 months

-Best Stability/Reliability-
Debian
GUI: GNOME
Package: DEB
Release: 4 years
Recommended Version: 5.0 Lenny

-Most Cutting Edge-
Arch Linux
GUI: User Choice
Package: tarballs
Release: Rolling
Recommended Version: N/A

*Another free operating system (OS) that deserves consideration is FreeBSD.

*Other Desktop OS projects that aren't quite ready, but worth keeping an eye on include: Chakra, OpenSolaris, and PCBSD.
January 27, 2011 7:03:00 PM

I like the ideas from chamaecypari. Along those lines, I completely agree with some of the new comments. I particularly find the antiX releases, especially the antiX core release, to have a great deal of versatility and flexibility.

From the original list, I agree that the stability of Debian is hard to beat, but I'd nominate at least two other distributions for at least honorable mention in that category: SimplyMEPIS, which owes much of its stability to Debian anyway, and the famous Slackware, which we should never discount.

Along those lines, perhaps we should invent a category just for Slackware. What would it be? Longest surviving distribution? I think it beats Debian by a short length, and also Red Hat and SUSE, two of the other long survivors.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) deserves to be mentioned as an excellent distribution for corporately supported, large enterprise systems. The cost of RHEL is getting to be prohibitive for small to mid-size business, and that's where CentOS can fill in, but the software stack, services and training offered through Red Hat's products and services does have worth, and that is why Red Hat is successful.

Talking about fun, several "flash in the pan" distributions, really not much more than rebranding and artistic exercises, have still been "fun". I think of some of the distributions aimed at children as good examples. Debian EDU has led here, but Ubuntu derivatives for children abound too. "Hannah Montana" Linux was one fun exercise I can recall. More recently, Jason Hsu has been using his creativity and the solid MEPIS and antiX foundations to form Swift Linux. So far he has created Taylor Swift Linux, Nascar Swift Linux, iCarly Swift Linux, and a few others along with his forensic based alternatives. I think he's having fun, so my hat goes off to Jason for his work - I've been encouraging him to keep at lt.

I've made my own private reworks of systems; I've build some of my own based on antiX core, but I have not released any of them as Mas-nix - Maswad Linux, or anything like that. I am more of a tester, reviewer, and promoter than I am in creating my own distributions except for personal use.

What other really cool distros are out there, and why are they worth mentioning?
Related resources
March 1, 2011 6:02:18 PM

The distros in here are pretty well rounded. Good list.
March 3, 2011 1:53:15 PM

I've been running different Ubuntu releases for a year or so on different home computers. I am currently using Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid 64 bit on my 3.2GHz quad 4G system and it flies. This is actually my new build. This system and installation went together flawlessly from the very beginning, which was the 28th of February. If anyone wants the specs of my system, just let me know. I now have Ubuntu on all my systems here at the house, one with Ubuntu Studio.
--ray--
March 4, 2011 4:43:31 PM

For a lean but clean distro try Linux Mint Debian Edition. This is the new foray of the Linux Mint team, bypassing their traditional Ubuntu core. I find it less polished in some ways, but they have only released two versions so I can't expect perfection in everything immediatly. BTW LM 10 KDE was just released.

-Sonic
May 20, 2011 7:55:18 PM

Sonic4Spuds said:
For a lean but clean distro try Linux Mint Debian Edition. This is the new foray of the Linux Mint team, bypassing their traditional Ubuntu core. I find it less polished in some ways, but they have only released two versions so I can't expect perfection in everything immediatly. BTW LM 10 KDE was just released.

-Sonic


+1. LMDE is very nice.
June 30, 2011 8:17:48 PM

I don't see slackware anywhere on the list
October 19, 2011 2:20:40 PM

Thanks for the list. I used to use Linux mint and liked it a lot, but recently switched to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and really like it, especially with the addition of the custom Mint start button that I could just not give up.

I'm wondering about recommendations for the best Linux Server Distro? Been thinking about FreeBSD or the Ubuntu server LTS.
a b 5 Linux
November 19, 2011 9:22:26 AM

This topic has been desticky in top of the forum by Amdfangirl
a b 5 Linux
November 19, 2011 9:22:34 AM

This topic has been closed by Amdfangirl
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