This is arguably the most common question on Linux forums. It's understandable given the number of distros available, anyone interested and curious about Linux might feel overwhelmed by what all is available. Asking which one is best is sort of like asking what type of motor vehicle is best. It really boils down to what is best for the user.

For the most part, they're all the same

Many Linux fans are really tied to their favorite distros. But the truth is there isn't a whole lot of difference between them all. What gives a distro its zest is very often the desktop environment (DE). The DE is seperate from the operating system. KDE is going to look and feel the same on Kubuntu as it does on Fedora.

What does distinguish between distros?

  • Desktop Environments
  • Package managers
  • Display servers
  • Goals and aims
  • Open source philosophy

Running Kali won't make you special, nor will it make you a hacker. No one is going to be impressed you run Arch Linux.

Certain people believe some distros are easy and somehow less worthy. Just because a distro has a well-written installer and is widely supported doesn't make it bad or not worth using. I personally remember reading Linus' USENET post announcing his new operating system. I ran Yggdrasil. And before all of this I had been using UNIX for at least five years. I proudly run one of the easy distros. It works. It works great! Why make things hard on myself?

How to decide?

Here's what I did. I own a Framework laptop. I have a 1 TB expansion card, which you can think of as a glorified 1 TB thumbdrive. I stored all of my files on the expansion card. I partitioned my NVMe drive so I could boot into one of two operating systems. I installed different distros on each partition. I really put the distros through their paces. My data was safely stored on the expansion card, so I could use the laptop in a real world environment while trying out the various distros. Some I quickly eliminated. Others I used for a few days before swapping out with another. In the end it was between Ubuntu and LMDE 5 with the latter winning out.

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