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Best Linux Distributions for Beginners in 2018

Let’s face it, Linux can pose an overwhelming complexity to new users. But then, it’s not Linux itself that brings this complexity. Rather, it’s the “newness” factor that causes this. Not getting nostalgic, but remembering my first time with Linux, I didn’t even know what to expect. I liked it. But it was an upstream swim for me initially. Not knowing where to start can be a downer. Especially for someone who does not have the concept of something else running on their PC in place of Windows. Linux is more than an OS. It’s an idea where everybody grows together and there’s something for everybody.

1. Ubuntu

If you’ve researched Linux on the internet, it’s highly probable that you have come across Ubuntu. Ubuntu is one of the leading Linux distributions. It is also the perfect path to begin your Linux journey. Ubuntu has been tagged as Linux for human beings. Now, this is because Ubuntu has put in a lot of effort on universal usability. Ubuntu does not require you to be technically sound for you to use it. It breaks the notion of Linux=Command line hassle. This is one of the major plus points that rocketed Ubuntu to where it is today. Ubuntu offers a very convenient installation procedure. The installer speaks plain English (Or any major language you want). You can even try out Ubuntu before actually going through the installation procedure. The installer provides simple options to:
  • Install Ubuntu removing the older OS
  • Install Ubuntu alongside the existing OS (A choice is given at every startup to select the OS to boot).
  • Configure partitions for users who know what they are doing.
Beginner tip: Select the second option if you are not sure about what to do. Ubuntu’s user interface is called Unity. It is as simple as well as productive as it gets. Running and favorite apps in the dock on the right side (called the ‘Dash’) and app search on the Super (Windows) button. Is there any way you can make this simpler? There are no driver installation issues as Ubuntu comes with a hardware detector which detects, downloads and installs optimal drivers for your PC. Also, the installation comes with all the basic software like a music player, video player, an office suite and games for some time killing. Ubuntu has a great documentation and community support. Ubuntu forums and Ask Ubuntu provide an appreciable quality support in almost all aspects regarding Ubuntu. It’s highly probable that any question you might have will already be answered. And the answers are beginner friendly. Do check out and download Ubuntu at the official site.

2. Linux Mint Cinnamon

Linux Mint is the number one Linux distribution on Distrowatch. Well deserved throne I must say. Linux mint is one of my personal favorites. It is elegant, graceful and provides a superior computing experience (out of the box). Linux Mint features the Cinnamon desktop environment. New Linux users who are still in the process of familiarizing themselves with Linux software will find Cinnamon very useful. All the software are very accessibly grouped under categories. Although this is nothing of a mind-blowing feature, to new users who do not know the names of Linux software, this is a huge bonus. Linux Mint is fast. Runs fine on older computers. Linux Mint is built upon the rock-solid Ubuntu base. It uses the same software repository as Ubuntu. About the Ubuntu software repository, Ubuntu pushes software for general only use after extensive testing. This means users will not have to deal with unexpected crashes and glitches that some new software are prone to, which can be a real no-no for new Linux users. Windows 7 lovers who are really not into where Microsoft if heading with Windows 10 will find Linux Mint lovable. Linux Mint desktop is pretty similar to Windows 7 desktop. Similar toolbar, similar menu, similar tray icons are all set to make Windows users feel absolutely at home. Personally, I’m more likely to suggest Linux Mint to someone who is new to Linux world as Linux Mint does impress users enough for them to accept it. To me, Linux Mint should be the first among the list of Linux for beginners. Do check out Linux Mint 18.1 here. Go for the Cinnamon version.

3. Zorin OS

A majority of computer users are Windows users. And when a Windows user gets a Linux, there’s a fair amount of ‘unlearning process’ that user must go through. A huge amount of operations have been fixed in our muscle memory. For example, the mouse reaching to the lower left corner of the screen (Start) everytime you want to launch an application. So if we could find something that eases these issues on Linux, it’s half a battle won. Enter Zorin OS. Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based, highly polished Linux distribution, entirely made for Windows refugees. Although pretty much every Linux distro is usable by everybody, some people might tend to be reluctant when the desktop looks too alien. Zorin OS dodges past this obstacle because of its similarities with Windows appearance wise. Package managers are something of a new concept to Linux newcomers. That’s why Zorin OS comes with a huge (I mean really huge) list of pre-installed software. Anything you need, there’s good chance it’s already installed on Zorin OS. As if that was not enough, Wine and PlayOnLinux come pre-installed so you can run your loved Windows software and games here too. Zorin OS comes with an amazing theme engine called the ‘Zorin look changer’. It offers some heavy customization options with presets to make your OS look like Windows 7, XP, 2000 or even a Mac for that matter. You’re going to feel home. These features make Zorin OS the best Linux distro for beginners, isn’t it? Do check out the Zorin OS website to know more and download the OS.

4. Elementary OS

Since we have taken a look at Linux distros for Windows users, let’s swing by something for MacOS users too. Elementary OS very quickly rose to fame and now is always included in the list of top distros, all thanks to its aesthetic essence. Inspired by MacOS looks, Elementary OS is one of the most beautiful Linux distros. Elementary OS is another Ubuntu-based operating system which means the operating system itself is unquestionably stable. Elementary OS features the Pantheon desktop environment. You can immediately notice the resemblance to MacOS desktop. This is an advantage to MacOS users switching to Linux as they will much comfortable with the desktop and this really eases the process of coping to this change. The menu is simple and customizable according to user preferences. The operating system is zero intrusive so you can really focus on your work. It comes with a very small number of pre-installed software. So, any new user will not be repulsed by huge bloat. But hey, it’s got everything you need out of the box. For more software, Elementary OS provides a neat AppCenter. It is highly accessible and simple. Everything at one place. You can get all the software you want and perform upgrades in clicks. Experience wise, Elementary OS is really a great piece of software. Definitely give it a try.

Your choice for the best Linux distro for beginners?

Linux might come with a learning curve, but that’s not something anybody ever regretted. Go ahead get an ISO and check out Linux. If you are already a Linux user, do share this article and help someone fall in love with Linux in this season of love. Cheers.

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