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The 2013 Top 7 Best Linux Distributions for You

Back in 2010 Linux.com published a list of the year's top Linux distributions, and the popularity of the topic made it an instant annual tradition.

There have been several shifts and shakeups on the lists presented since then, of course, and -– as you'll soon see – this year's offering holds true to that pattern. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the past year has seen so much upheaval in the desktop world – particularly where desktop environments are concerned – that 2013's list could come as a surprise to some.

Let me hasten to note that the evaluations made here are nothing if not subjective. There also is no such thing as the “one best” Linux distro for anything; in fact, much of the beauty of Linux is its diversity and the fact that it can be tweaked and customized for virtually any taste or purpose. The one best Linux for you, in other words, is the flavor you choose for your purpose and preference and then tweak until it feels just right.

Still, I think some Linux flavors stand out these days as leaders for particular use cases. I'm going to diverge a bit from past lists here when it comes to those categories, however. Specifically, where past lists have included the category “Best Linux LiveCD,” I think that's become almost obsolete given not just the general shift to USBs -- some PCs don't even come with CD drives anymore, in fact -- but also the fact that most any Linux distro can be formatted into bootable form.

On the other hand, with the arrival of Steam for Linux, I think this year has brought the need for a new category: Best Linux for Gaming.

Read on, then, for a rundown of some of the best of what the Linux world has to offer.

Best Desktop Distribution

There are so many excellent contenders for desktop Linux this year that it's become a more difficult choice than ever – and that's really saying something.

Canonical's Ubuntu has made great strides in advancing Linux's visibility in the public eye, of course, while Linux Mint and Fedora are both also very strong choices. Regarding Ubuntu, however, a number of issues have come up over the past year or so, including the inclusion of online shopping results in searches – an addition Richard Stallman and the EFF have called “spyware.”

Fuduntu logo

At the same time, the upheaval caused by the introduction of mobile-inspired desktops such as Unity and GNOME 3 continues unabated, spurring the launch of more classically minded new desktops such as MATE and Cinnamon along with brand-new distros.

For best desktop Linux distro, I have to go with Fuduntu, one of this new breed of up-and-comers. Originally based on Fedora but later forked, Fuduntu offers a classic GNOME 2 interface – developed for the desktop, not for mobile devices -- and generally seems to get everything right.

Besides delivering the classic desktop so many Linux users have made clear that they prefer, Fuduntu enjoys all the advantages of being a rolling release distribution, and its repository includes key packages such as Netflix and Steam. I've been using it for months now and haven't seen a single reason to switch.

Best Laptop Distribution

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I have to go with Fuduntu for best Linux distro as well. In fact, the distro is optimized for mobile computing on laptops and netbooks, including tools to help achieve maximum battery life when untethered. Users can see battery life improvements of 30 percent or more over other Linux distributions, the distro's developers say.

Such optimizations combined with this solid and classic distro make for a winner on portable devices as well.

Best Enterprise Desktop Linux

Red-Hat-logo-smThe enterprise is one context in which I have to agree with recent years' evaluations, and that includes the enterprise desktop.

While SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is surely RHEL's primary competitor, I think Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the clear leader in this area, with just the right combination of security, interoperability, productivity applications and management features. 

Best Enterprise Server Linux

It's a similar situation on the server. While there's no denying SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has its advantages, Red Hat is pushing ahead in exciting new ways. Particularly notable about Red Hat this year, for example, is its new focus on Big Data and the hybrid cloud, bringing a fresh new world of possibilities to its customers.

BackTrack logoBest Security-Enhanced Distribution

Security, of course, is one of the areas in which Linux really stands out from its proprietary competitors, due not just to the nature of Linux itself but also to the availability of several security-focused Linux distributions. 

Lightweight Portable Security is one relatively new contender that emerged back in 2011, and BackBox is another popular Ubuntu-based contender, but I still have to give my vote to BackTrack Linux, the heavyweight in this area whose penetration testing framework is used by the security community all over the world. Others surely have their advantages, but BackTrack is still the one to beat.

archlinux logoBest Multimedia Distribution

Ubuntu Studio has often been named the best distro for multimedia purposes in Linux.com's lists, but it's by no means the only contender. ZevenOS, for instance, is an interesting BeOS-flavored contender that came out with a major update last year.

For sheer power and nimble performance, though, this year's nod goes to Arch Linux. With an active community and thousands of software packages available in its repositories, Arch stays out of the way so your PC can focus on the CPU-intensive tasks at hand.

Best Gaming Distribution

UbuntuLogoLast but certainly not least is the gaming category, which surely represents one of the biggest developments in the Linux world over this past year. While it may not be relevant for enterprise audiences, gaming has long been held up as a key reason many users have stayed with Windows, so Valve's decision to bring its Steam gaming platform to Linux is nothing if not significant.

The Linux distro choice here? That would have to be Ubuntu, which is specifically promoted by the Valve team itself. “Best experienced on Ubuntu” reads the tag line that accompanied the Steam for Linux release last month, in fact. Bottom line: If you're into gaming, Ubuntu Linux is the way to go.

Have a different view on any of these categories? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

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  • Fred Said:

    Personally I prefer KDE to Gnome and so do many others. Would be helpful if the best desktop/laptop distro could include listings for Gnome, KDE and Other Shouldn't we also start thinking about best tablet distro?

  • DracheMitch Said:

    Don't let anyone tell you that it is Ubuntu. I have a Samsung Series 7 Slate that I wanted to repurpose after getting a Lenovo Twist and Ubuntu is AWFUL for tablets. It is VERY slow using whatever they call their ridiculous launcher that wants you to use search for everything, and the only virtual keyboard available is OnBoard, which is designed to be used with a mouse. The controls and menus are all too small and are even difficult to navigate with a stylus (the slate has a Wacom digitizer) with no clear way that I could find for adjusting the window manager aspects, as was the case in older versions. I am going to try Bodhi, because that is supposed to have a tablet mode, but I am not holding my breath that Linux will ever be suitable for x86 tablets.

  • WalterThomas Said:

    I hate to be a downer here but have you every hear of Android. Android is Linux as well, and to boot there's an x86 source distro available on CD ISO (probably could also be written to SD, MicroSD, or USB card).

  • xox Said:

    Android doesn't work with desktops that don't have wi-fi - HUGE oversight by the people who ported it!

  • DJ Said:

    Android is Linux based, it is not Linux. Pretty big difference there. What we are using here for desktops purposes is called GNU/Linux, not Linux Linus Torvalds created the Linux Kernel and Richard Stallman created the GNU project. One is a GUI sort to speak and the other is the brains or Kernel that makes it work. They combined them to make these distros which becomes => GNU/Linux.

  • yo Said:

    GNU was never specified in the article, and is a fallacy to assume that GNU/Linux is exclusive to the discussion. One can compile a toolchain/ system using non-GNU packages and still have a "linux system". Android isn't excluded.

  • Manwich2000 Said:

    Its uses the Linux kernel, that is pretty much where it ends. Its all Java on top of it.

  • Bala Krishnan Said:

    not all linux is suitable for everyone.. i used pretty much used all famous disros out there, including all android x86 ports.. they are made for those who uses them. i do too. it doesnt work on all devices. but its great if u want specific use for the system such as touch screen and if u want to use their app store.

  • Al Said:

    Linux isn't an operating system, it is a kernel. A Linux distribution is a combination of the Linux kernel and at least enough system software to make it a usable system. Android is every bit as much Linux as Red Hat, Ubuntu, Slackware, Debian, etc.

  • Brett Said:

    Your right it can be written to SD, MicroSD, USB. Ive been experimenting with a Vaio UX180p. Android runs fastest but thanks to Sony's bs hardware I am still working on sound and camera. But any other tablet it runs smooth.

  • jaimito Said:

    2013 desktop ------------------ 01 ROSA 02 Mageia 03 openSUSE 04 Fedora 05 PCLOS mini 06 Mint 07 Chakra 08 Korora 09 Manjaro 10 Bubuntus

  • Sunny Said:

    Stick to Windows starter dude, if you do not know how to maintain Ubuntu and twist it to your needs.

  • gloomy Said:

    Ubuntu is great, unless you have an nvidia graphics card, then it's the worst piece of shit ever.

  • doogman Said:

    Lol! Agreed! What a pain in the ass it is to get it working on a optimus setup.

  • JollyRoger Said:

    Uhmm, why you no use linux on electronic device? (haha, No what i meant was the fact i am using linux purely for pc's etc and that works just fine ;3.

  • Matt Said:

    Don't use Unity 3D or the standard Ubuntu desktop. I use Ubuntu2D (12.04 LTS) on my four year old Asus netbook...it screams!

  • DAVESCHROM Said:

    I concur DracheMitch. Ubuntu is has that god-awful Launcher. Other versions don't include it, but it really is silly and bloaty... I prefer LINUX MINT for my older ThinkPad. I use MINT 13 MAYA. Very slick, very nice....

  • Ken Said:

    I agree that KDE is superior and would add that Fedora is the best and most stable desktop distro that stands out above the rest.

  • Pete Said:

    Fedora seems fine if you can get a stable connection to the Internet!

  • yess Said:

    Fedora is garabage. Really unstable distro. And once it is working it is extremely difficult to customise, the community is the rudest of all distro communities AND the distro performance is sluggish. Ubuntu has the same sluggish feeling over it in term of performance, and Mint has inherited that. Mandriva has served me very well. Currently I used Mandriva, Linux Mint KDE and Slackware. I would advise anyone to stay away from Fedora.

  • Jörg Said:

    Hi, I don't know what you have done with your computer and Fedora, but I have Fedora on mine (Asus N56VZ) and it's simply marvelous, much better user interface than ubuntu! Perfectly stable. I have never had a problem nor under F17 nor under F19. As fast as ubuntu. Fedora is my favourite!!!!

  • jorg 2: Said:

    That is because you are content with being a simply user. You will find the majority of Linux users like to tweak and learn thing somethings that Fedora lacks.

  • Andre Gompel Said:

    Fedora is in my view, the best Linux Distro for development. It is just unfortunate that may things do not work 'out of the box", including Wi-FI drivers (BroadCom, for example), making the install always a long tedious, somewhat difficult task. I would really welcome, a version of Fedora as easy to install as Ubuntu (and derivatives) , who did a superb job there! Unfortunately Ubuntu is broken as far as kernel and software development is concerned, where Fedora is far superior (latest packages, and high availability in repositories). The Mint guy (Clement Lefevre) does not seems too interested in making Fedora more user's friendly (for the install), too bad !

  • David Said:

    Fedora, used it for about 2-3 years, good when it is working but the IRC support are rude and obnoxious. The last time I used it was Fedora 9. What I do not understand is why install Linux if it will cost many many hours to rectify problems. I guess this is why Linux is an ongoing project for the community which doesn't know when it is going to end.

  • James Said:

    I have used redhat since version 7 I think it was, back when it was still free. Then went to fedora, have been using it ever since. Always stable till the point I start screwing with something new and screw it up totally. Which is my fault totally, not fedora. I have used others but always come back,

  • William Said:

    Honestly, Unity makes GNOME look like s**t.

  • Sunny Said:

    fuck off Unity sucks and very uncomfortable. The annoying app bar is freeze and sometimes it would just appear...if I have 5 or mre windows open it is a nightmare to browse through them...at leat gnome desktop has some powerful and useful extensions and wonderful themes. Unity looks too dull and boring.

  • Sa Said:

    actually gnome makles unitu look like s**t to me well almost ane DE does

  • Collin Westgard Said:

    The Nice thing is, on the majority of distros you can install KDE, GNOME, XFCE, LXDE, and many, many other DEs fairly easily, so it really shouldn't be DE focused

  • Warlock Said:

    Have you dudes ever heard of Windowmaker and Enlightenment ? Seriously

  • Warlock Said:

    BTW, Linux is not for gaming. It is a server OS that only recently is reaching the wannabe hackers First thing they ask is: Can I play WOW in Linux? Seppuku

  • F Said:

    heh, and you can play if you don't mind running wine and the OpenGL version of WoW :P

  • DJ Said:

    Honestly, any of the Distros can become a Server edition, all they did is add a few thing related to serves and remove the gui. Really? Whats neat about GNU/Linux though, it is way more powerful to run a lot of high end games and is really good at it. They just need to tame it a bit for bettwer control. I could never figure out why the programmers that make the games just dont go all out on the games, they start then they drop the ball in graphics and stuff which turns a lot of people away from using the distros. A shame really, a lot of power sitting here.

  • geewaa Said:

    Linux is not a "server" OS.. it's just being used on servers because it's f'n stable and fast, unlike Windows. I've used Linux now for over 15 years and will never go back to Winx.

  • Erik Said:

    I was reborn when I found Enlightenment. KDE was making my laptop red-hot even while asleep. My combination for a desktop distro is Slackware with Enlightenment. Rock solid, fast, all services I need included.

  • mobbin Said:

    i would be inclined to agree (huge QT project fan)

  • Dan Said:

    Kubuntu for those who just got to have KDE. I must to say I went through a lot of different distros. Ubuntu was/is the best. I couldn't stand gnome 3 so i switched to kubuntu. I think you can taylor any distro to what you want if you make an effort.

  • RYEarle Said:

    I think that Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is not mentioned enough. This is really the best of both worlds because you have all the features of Mint in a Rolling Distribution - So you install it once and then just pick up the upgraded OS's as they release! It also has a software center to make things easy for new users. These are two of the features I look for when seeking new Linux distros to offer my customers is a Rolling Disribution and a Software Center to make it easier for users who aren't used to Linux but need something to extend the life of their older PCs.

  • Kurt Said:

    The answer is KUBUNTU. Absolutely best distro at the moment

  • Anupam Said:

    KDE is indeed my favorite too. But support has ended i heard.

  • Nz Said:

    Agree with Fred, KDE is my preference as well. I find it odd that Linux mint is discussed as if it was separate from ubuntu, it is not : Linux Mint 14 is based on Ubuntu 12.10. http://Sabayon.org really should have been mentioned in that list, if your looking for comparables. For me Sabayon is always a step ahead of these semi rolling distros...

  • cym13 Said:

    I think it would'nt be relevant to seperate them. When talking about distros, we talk mostly about the base configuration and the first user experience, otherwise it can't have any sense. For example, my distribution is based on ubuntu as I built it from ubuntu-minimal. But the only 'ubuntu' thing I use are the repos and apt. The window manager, the installed programs and so forth are mine. Is which way is it comparable to ubuntu ? I think the same prevale for any distribution such as Mint wich proposes a totally different user experience even if incorporating elements of ubuntu. Don't you ?

  • pjhercules Said:

    I agree with the article. It was by chance that I discovered Fuduntu and I haven't looked back since. Easy to pull clients from Windows and Apple to this as well. It just works and is very smooth. Cheers!

  • Will Said:

    Fuduntu was the best thing that ever came to me, but then the project CLOSED DOWN and opened back as 'FuSE.' I personally dont like SuSE so I went and installed XP for the time being, then went back for Ubuntu and installed Gnome classic back onto it.

  • Rick Said:

    Yeah, I don't know what the big fuss is over Unity. If you don't like it, switch! Cinnamon works great on my current ubuntu installation.

  • stlouisubntu Said:

    I agree wholeheartedly regarding Cinnamon. Check out the Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix for a complete user friendly implementation: http://cinnamon-remix.sourceforge.net

  • themainliner Said:

    I'll have to try Fuduntu, however if you're looking for a rolling distro with Gnome2 (MATE) I wonder what you make of the excellent Linux Mint Debian Edition (with MATE or another DE of your choice).

  • opt1mus Said:

    The back|track team's "silent development"; Kali Linux, is very much worth a look.

  • john Said:

    It looks fantastic. The documentation is great, and there are builds for arm architectures, which is great for someone like me who uses Chromebooks and Raspberry Pis.

  • William Babb Said:

    I would like to see a recommendation for category we might call work-oriented. This is one with absolute minimum of overhead leaving > 98% of a single-processor cpu for applications. In my case the work being done is "community service" in the form of distributed computing running Boinc as as the process manager for World Community Grid.tasks. I thought Debian would fill the bill but after the strange experience I've had I'm going with Lubuntu this time around.

  • barterpc Said:

    Yeah I often look for you guys in these discussions. Slackware is another major dist. Everyone else looks to the sub-dists. But it's the major one's that really influenced the Playing field.

  • pajafumo Said:

    I didn't try Fuduntu but recently I try Korora, a Fedora based distro and I recomended it to desktop users and to switch Windows users to the Linux World. You should give a try. kororaproject.org

  • LinuxLover Said:

    Zzzzzzz... There is not "best" distro for anything. I simply hate the fact that these lists come out. For me, PCLinuxOS is just heads above everyone else, but that's me. For someone else, Fedora may be the ticket, or Mageia, or OpenSuse... You get the point.

  • Evan Said:

    These lists are helpful jumping points for people who are using getting into the game at different levels. I'm using exclusively linux for my work but I'm interested in playing around with different distros on my home PC and these lists give me some ideas.

  • sathyanarrayanan Said:

    But pc linuxos is built on python 2.6 which lacks some built features............

  • EazyVG Said:

    Best "Enthusiast" distro and perhaps polished (KDE/Gnome) - openSUSE. Also, compared to 90% distros out there it indeed is very well optimised for notebooks.

  • George Said:

    Personally, I would prefer any article not written by Katherine Noise. I find her articles to be vapid and lacking in content.

  • njin Said:

    Ubuntu is the best for the medium usr, easy, simple, intuitive.

  • jors Said:

    Debian for server for sure, take a look at the trends: http://w3techs.com/technologies/history_details/os-linux ;)

  • dza Said:

    I'm sorry for the negative comment, but I just had to say I expected something new from this article and what came out of it was another 7 random distributions with 7 random badges with no explanation as to the process of the deciding process whatsoever, pros/cons, or any insight whatsoever... 1/10 .. highly insignificant ..

  • devrim Said:

    i thinks other about that and distrowacth shows so. linux mint is best desktop distro ever.

  • Scott Dunn Said:

    I notice that Gnome Shell seems to get a bad rap just about everywhere. I draw this inference from the following passage: "Fuduntu offers a classic GNOME 2 interface – developed for the desktop, not for mobile devices -- and generally seems to get everything right." While I can understand that there will always be people who will be unsettled by change, Gnome Shell represents a wide departure from the menu driven desktop, a departure that was necessary to break the paradigms promoted by Apple and Microsoft. I like Gnome Shell because it dispenses with the need to traverse menus to get to the program I want. Gnome Shell has found what I believe is a very good compromise by erring on the side of the keyboard rather than the mouse, particularly when launching programs. I have also found that application integration is very good on Gnome Shell. So while it is quite different from Gnome 2.0, there are still familiar interfaces within, such as the file browser once it's open. To me, the convenience of opening a program with a couple of keystrokes, without having to set up a special shortcut, is only part of the bargain offered by Gnome Shell. I've been living with for more than a year and I really can't imagine going back to navigating menus to launch a program.

  • Carl Hartung Said:

    Herein lies the core controversy of GNOME 2 vs. GNOME 3. I'm a web developer and systems administrator as well as a small business / SOHO 'power' user. I keep dozens of applications and utilities / applets running side by side on each of several desktops. There's my 'communication and control desktop' with browser, e-mail, chat, VoIP, terminals logged into and monitoring my servers, the file manager and several instances open of my text editor, allowing me to 'buffer and edit' one file while reading another and creating still another. Window shading (i.e. roll up) allows me to 'stack' many, many title bars on top of each other and side by side. I am not at all interested in how windows get opened, but I absolutely require the ability to place them side by side and to stack the title bars (in rolled up state) so I can nearly instantaneously 'hop, skip and jump' through everything on the desktop, or, as needs dictate, view and work with several open items simultaneously. Don't get me wrong, I love the 'look and feel' of GNOME 3, but trying to force that paradigm down my throat ... especially when it is IMPOSSIBLE to work in the way I've been working for years ... has caused me to a) switch back to KDE for the interim and to start looking at switching from openSUSE to MINT or Fuduntu, etc.

  • Cole Shores Said:

    you could also strip out gnome 3(in my case Fedora 18) and install XFCE+Compitz+Emerald from source. That is what I did for my work notebook. It works fantastic.

  • bronson Said:

    Hi Cole Do your fn keys work properly? I have the ASUS Zenbook and have a problem with keyboard brightness control among other things. Any idea what is a good choice for that and battery life?

  • Tomas Said:

    completly agree. i am thinkin to get back to windows. after almost seven years of use ubuntustudio ("only" "ZERO WINDOWS"). my last ubuntu distro was ubuntustudio 10.04. today after one week of trying ubuntustudio 13.04 and ubuntu 13.04. i am leaving ubuntu for the first time in seven years. my printer never work fine, the youtube videos looks horrible. i am an experienced user and i tried many things to fix it. but now i give up. now i m sure ubuntustudio 10.04 was the best ubuntu ever. Im going to try fuduntu and mint. and if they dont work either i ll switch to the despicable windos with all that adds, virus and spyware. this is really a very sad day to me. i hope someday ubuntu change that ridiculous new politic of copy all the bad of win8 and start to think in the user needs and comfort. goodbye linux friends. sorry for the bad english ;)

  • tim Said:

    I have to agree with George and dza. Where are the tests and benchmarks? Or, at least, the supporting statistics on usage trends? It seems as though the author made a quick search on Google and cobbled together a list of other people's opinions. Linux.com should be better than this.

  • Abderraouf Adjal Said:

    I use Xubuntu, not the shit (Ubuntu).

  • David Said:

    I find opensuse parked with kde and the awesome dolphin desktop manager still my favorite. certainly gnome2 is much stable than kde, but kde comes with tones of out-of-the-box software tools to things done. Other than using it as a desktop OS, u can also turn your laptop into a server with easy management tool like Yast. The fact that the distro supports a slew of hardware platforms make it almost painless to work with. However, opensuse aside, i also totally love Linux Mint for it's simplicity and elegance!

  • Andre Gompel Said:

    Like David, I am impressed by Mint 14: a nice, easy to install, solid Linux distro. However for software and kernel development Ubuntu derived distro (Mint is one) are really not that great ! On the flip side, RedHat derived are very good at that. I was very happy with Fedora 17, but Fedora 18 does not seem to be ready for prime time yet. So Fubuntu may be worth trying. So far, impressed with the Live version. I do not know if the Fedora repositories ar fully usable with Fubuntu. If yes, Fubuntu may be to Fedora what Mint is to Ubuntu... which could be bliss ! Andre

  • Tim Chambers Said:

    Tsk, tsk, Abderraouf. Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully. +1 for this article, Katherine! I took a look at Fuduntu on your recommendation, but it uses RPM. You'll pry my .deb files out of my cold, dead fingers. I do appreciate being made aware of RMS's criticism of Canonical. However,I believe LF is too quick to take his side, shunning Ubuntu. Unsurprisingly, Canonical community manager Jono Bacon calls it FUD [1]. Here's more of the story. "After criticism by the community members, Canonical included a feature to turn the online search off." [2] Ubuntu is succesful because of the laudable foundation laid by Debian. If it matters that much, then why not spend energy creating Freeubuntu [3], a "pure" free distro variation of Ubuntu that defaults to only what RMS approves of. Why? Because such a distro would be used by not many more people than Debian. Canonical disagrees with Stallman's interpretation of what is best for free software. In the process, they are reaching a mass audience, most of whom don't understand, nor do they every care to understand RMS's lofty philosophical principles. [4] Good for RMS, and good for Canonical! The world's big enough for both. I love emacs more than the command line, but I also love Unity. Too bad it doesn't play nicely with VirtualBox. There was a bug in 12.04 [5]. I took advice to try Xubuntu [6] and loved it. When 12.10 was released, I tried Ubuntu again, but now seamless mode seems to behave like VMWare Unity, which stinks. Performance is a little choppy and flickery. I use Unity in native environments, though. [1] http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/121012-bacon-stallman-264946.html [2] http://www.muktware.com/4942/richard-m-stallman-joins-eff-calls-ubuntu-spyware [3] I like "Frubuntu," but that's the Forensic Response Ubuntu remix LiveCD. [4] All of which I agree with. In principle. Not in practice. [5] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity/+bug/999929 [6] http://askubuntu.com/questions/136397/seamless-mode-not-working-correctly-in-virtual-box

  • Tim Chambers Said:

    Tsk, tsk, Abderraouf. Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully.

    +1 for this article, Katherine! I took a look at Fuduntu on your recommendation, but it uses RPM. You'll pry my .deb files out of my cold, dead fingers. I do appreciate being made aware of RMS's criticism of Canonical. However,I believe LF is too quick to take his side, shunning Ubuntu. Unsurprisingly, Canonical community manager Jono Bacon calls it FUD [1]. Here's more of the story. "After criticism by the community members, Canonical included a feature to turn the online search off." [2] Ubuntu is succesful because of the laudable foundation laid by Debian. If it matters that much, then why not spend energy creating Freeubuntu [3], a "pure" free distro variation of Ubuntu that defaults to only what RMS approves of. Why? Because such a distro would be used by not many more people than Debian. Canonical disagrees with Stallman's interpretation of what is best for free software. In the process, they are reaching a mass audience, most of whom don't understand, nor do they every care to understand RMS's lofty philosophical principles. [4] Good for RMS, and good for Canonical! The world's big enough for both.

    I love emacs more than the command line, but I also love Unity. Too bad it doesn't play nicely with VirtualBox. There was a bug in 12.04 [5]. I took advice to try Xubuntu [6] and loved it. When 12.10 was released, I tried Ubuntu again, but now seamless mode seems to behave like VMWare Unity, which stinks. Performance is a little choppy and flickery. I use Unity in native environments, though.

    [1] www.networkworld.com/news/2012/121012-bacon-stallman-264946.html[2] www.muktware.com/4942/richard-m-stallman-joins-eff-calls-ubuntu-spyware[3] I like "Frubuntu," but that's the Forensic Response Ubuntu remix LiveCD.[4] All of which I agree with. In principle. Not in practice.[5] bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity/+bug/999929[6] askubuntu.com/questions/136397/seamless-mode-not-working-correctly-in-virtual-box

  • Tim Chambers Said:

    I apologize for the duplicate comments above.

    Tsk, tsk, Abderraouf. Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully.

    +1 for this article, Katherine! I took a look at Fuduntu on your recommendation, but it uses RPM. You'll pry my .deb files out of my cold, dead fingers. I do appreciate being made aware of RMS's criticism of Canonical. However,I believe LF is too quick to take his side, shunning Ubuntu. Unsurprisingly, Canonical community manager Jono Bacon calls it FUD [1]. Here's more of the story. "After criticism by the community members, Canonical included a feature to turn the online search off." [2] Ubuntu is succesful because of the laudable foundation laid by Debian. If it matters that much, then why not spend energy creating Freeubuntu [3], a "pure" free distro variation of Ubuntu that defaults to only what RMS approves of. Why? Because such a distro would be used by not many more people than Debian. Canonical disagrees with Stallman's interpretation of what is best for free software. In the process, they are reaching a mass audience, most of whom don't understand, nor do they every care to understand RMS's lofty philosophical principles. [4] Good for RMS, and good for Canonical! The world's big enough for both.

    I love emacs more than the command line, but I also love Unity. Too bad it doesn't play nicely with VirtualBox. There was a bug in 12.04 [5]. I took advice to try Xubuntu [6] and loved it. When 12.10 was released, I tried Ubuntu again, but now seamless mode seems to behave like VMWare Unity, which stinks. Performance is a little choppy and flickery. I use Unity in native environments, though.

    [1] www.networkworld.com/news/2012/121012-bacon-stallman-264946.html
    [2] www.muktware.com/4942/richard-m-stallman-joins-eff-calls-ubuntu-spyware
    [3] I like "Frubuntu," but that's the Forensic Response Ubuntu remix LiveCD.
    [4] All of which I agree with. In principle. Not in practice.
    [5] bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity/+bug/999929
    [6] askubuntu.com/questions/136397/seamless-mode-not-working-correctly-in-virtual-box

  • crimsonmane Said:

    Every one of these is an ad for linux in general. But they're so hollow that I wish authors of things like this will some day understand they are not helping anyone convert to linux - they're actually confusing the newcomers. Who follows these articles if not every-day users (enthusiasts)? These are not people who benefit in any way from hollow articles. Make a more relevant article by testing popular distros against a task and measuring the OS performance. You can't say "this distro wins for multimedia" if there's no actual competition - that's hollow. You should first set up the parameters: One desktop streaming the same HD video to 3 (or 5) WDTV-Live units on the same local network, Then set the scoreboard: RAM usage, CPU usage, ability to perform other tasks while streaming such as LibreOffice or Steam or Handbrake, Then compare the results and announce a category winner (in this case, multimedia). On the surface this seems like a good way to compare hardware, but since you made the claim "Arch stays out of the way so your PC can focus on the CPU-intensive tasks" it would also be the perfect way to prove it.

  • rolfman Said:

    my 200 euro Packard bell netbook works great with lubuntu...tnx all Linux and other computer/software specialist :)

  • Iliev Said:

    Why are most of the "childish" Linux distributions listed above? Do You remember the SLS project... do You remember Slackware? Why most of the people are like "the easier, the better"?

  • Abdelraouf Adjal Said:

    Slackware was good...was....

  • Steve Said:

    Because computers are tools, and they are used to get a job done. Same reason most people don't want a car that requires them to be an expert mechanic.

  • josh Said:

    the easier the better... because people like that is not like you.. you're a nerd... xD

  • themainliner Said:

    Scott, I'm pleased that you have found in Gnome 3 Shell a desktop that you can work with a desktop that makes you more productive. What irritates me about your comment is that you persist in recycling the hackneyed old myth that people that have rejected Gnome Shell and prefer the menu systems of Gnome 2, xfce, Lxde or even KDE are simply reactionary and unsettled by change. For starters I like nothing more than trying new distros and revel in working with new and different Desktop Environments. One thing I've learned over the past twenty years in this industry is that adjusting your mindset to new working paradigms and giving yourself time to adjust to new modes of operation reaps rewards. However, at a certain point if the DE is an obstacle to your productivity Linux offers choice and you can switch to something that promotes it. I don't like Unity or Gnome Shell and I am far from alone. I prefer the working paradigm of MATE and xfce, I am linerated by these DE's to get to work not shackled by dashes, hotcorners, only keyboard shortcuts or bereft of effective task switching, window controls or tiny screen paradigm. Thanks for you input. However, many of us really dislike your DE choice and we're not idiots or ludites.

  • Fred Said:

    Again this rather lame post of linux distros has brought out the fanboys and trolls and Linux.com got more hits. Even sadder I fell for it as well. Unsubscribe.

  • ShaunGeorge Said:

    Ubuntu bugs flying around than an amazon rain-forest

  • Timko Mathiasen Said:

    I for one appreciate the post. I am a Ubuntu user for my main OS, and like the default desktop of Unity. I agree with some comments, on more content of why that distro is the best in that category. I choose Ubuntu because ease of use in install .deb files, or the continued avenues of easy installation like a YPPA manager as applications continue to find their way to a repository or for what ever reason they are a YPPA. I gave a quick look at Fuduntu, didn't really give it a chance, but maybe I will, if more content was given I might strive more to give Fuduntu a chance. The quick look I gave at Fuduntu, I was not impressed on the software manager. I like the Ubuntu Software Center, it is easy and has a better experience of what the software is, unlike Fuduntu my experience didn't, it is like you definitely had to know what it is called and what it is listed as to know what you are installing. An other problem to me is getting proprietary codecs working, it seems almost impossible, not much on the internet, or community when I looked, but maybe that has changed? yah I hear Fedora or Red Hat Linux are great, where Fuduntu is born from, but my experience so far has put it in the back ground still. Any one to elaborate or suggest why to give Fuduntu a closer look?

  • CSRedRat Said:

    Ubuntu the best for home desctop :)

  • Iliev Said:

    Easy =/= the best... however the best distribution is the one that fits your needs... it's highly individual.

  • Simon Said:

    There's a lot of choice in Linux and a lot of great things happening right now. Furthermore, with the two most popular distros for new users being effectively the same, it is now easier than ever for new users to find all the information they need. All positive. All we need now is for people to stop making new users feel bad about using Mint and Ubuntu, for people to stop using words like "fanboy", "polished" and "bloat" and for people to stop attacking Canonical for infringing upon unwritten rules that people themselves make up when Canonical is only bound by the GPL. I repeat: only bound by the GPL. Rule of law, people. Rule of law. So Canonical doesn't contribute to the kernel? So what? Neither do I. Does that make me an illegitimate user? They are an upstream contributor to Linux Mint, which is a hugely respected and popular distro. Does all that amount to a non-contribution? Linux Community is a "description" of what has naturally built up around this operating system (or systems) we love and use. It is not a "definition". There is no monolithic Linux Community. Just a bunch of people - contributors and non-contributors - and private businesses such as Red Hat, Novell, IBM, HP and Canonical who occasionally toss stuff into the mix to see what they can get out of it, with uniquely (and quite acceptable) commercial motives. Re Richard Stallman: the Ubuntu he approves of exists. It's called "Trisquel". It's rather nice now. He's right to try to get people to think about privacy etc. but I do wonder why some opponents of Ubuntu, pick and choose ideas from RMS to bash Ubuntu but then ignore the ones where he doesn't approve of Fedora, Debian, OpenSUSE, Linux Mint, Mageia etc. If you want to follow Richard's lead, please use Trisquel.

  • Eric Said:

    I totally agree with Simon. Anyone coming into linux gets criticized easily. I think one reason why windows wins out is because it's easy. Ask a question and someone is willing to help. In the linux community I see so many times the insults for asking questions. I understand that the question may seem so simple to you but it's not always to the person asking. Even if you think it's been asked before putting a link can be test hard to do. And the fighting between distros need to stop it only confuses new users.

  • luc Said:

    I believe Debian quality is the best. A different approach from all others. A debian testing is much more stable then the other's stable release.

  • Codeguy Said:

    If you know what you are doing and can fix the odd bad package (ie remove it), Fedora Core Rawhide can be run stable at least for a desktop. I wouldn't use it for a production server. Though I may use packages / kernels from it if need too, always recompiling them for the current system. You don't need to reinstall the rawhide Apache and all of other requirements to the newest version of php, if you rebuild php against your current system.

  • rfduarte Said:

    I like all distros, but Debian is my choice! :p

  • Carling Said:

    Katherine, Every user or should I say critic has their own thoughts on which is the best Linux distribution as for me I download every distribution and install them and test them out, The best of the bunch I install on multi boot usb jump drives to demonstrate them to new users, My choice would be Best Desktop Ultimate Edition 3.5 Everything works out of the box Best Gaming Commodore Vision Katherine, Every user or should I say critic has their own thoughts on which is the best Linux distribution as for me I download every distribution and install them and test them out, The best of the bunch I install on multi boot usb jump drives to demonstrate them to new users, My choice would be Best Desktop Ultimate Edition 3.5 Best Gaming Commodore Vision Katherine, Every user or should I say critic has their own thoughts on which is the best Linux distribution as for me I download every distribution and install them and test them out, The best of the bunch I install on multi boot usb jump drives to demonstrate them to new users, My choice would be Best Desktop Ultimate Edition 3.5 Best Gaming Commodore Vision 64 brilliant gaming system Best Multi Media ArtistX does not need Installing everything works from the DVD Best Security System Qubes A total sand box system

  • Carling Said:

    Sorry about that post something went wrong somewhere along the line and I can't correct it in any way. There is no way to delete the post

  • kurmis Said:

    I heard that Netrunner is very nice and stable linux on KDE. Does anyone have any experience with Netrunner? And looks like they have same sponsor like Kubuntu.

  • Codeguy Said:

    Personally, I'm sticking with what Linus uses. Fedora is an excellent choice for those who want cutting edge code on their desktops and need to keep up on the future changes coming to RHEL before they go live.

  • dm Said:

    ___________________ i see some problems in my browser =[ , start of line is hidden by avatar .. i say Tiny Core Linux that is all .

  • Darkstar Said:

    Personally I do not see Ubuntu as the gaming distro of choice. My pick goes to Sabayon. I have had more problems running games in Valves "officially supported distro" then I have on Sabayon. Coupled with the latest KDE (my choice of desktops) and the high performance that I found this distro to have, I have been happy with Sabayon as a gaming distro. Steam is available in their repositories for download, it is easy to use and is a rolling release distro for those who like the cutting edge. My pick is Sabayon, desktop wise, laptop wise, and especially gaming wise.

  • John Said:

    The new Ubuntu 13.04 Distro now comes with Steam in the Ubuntu Software Center. So no more patches or problems. Literally download and start it like it is possible in Windows

  • xirtam Said:

    Xubuntu is Ubuntu with XFCE instead of unity. Basically you are still using a shit.

  • Abdelraouf Adjal Said:

    Unity make the distro "a shit" ^_^

  • surco Said:

    SLAX try slax on hdd . It·s very simple and usefull. Without instalation. I·m with slax on IBM R52; P4 3GHz HT; Athlon64 3000+.

  • bronson Said:

    Does any one have any idea what would work well for an ASUS UX32A. For fn key functions and battery life. Please point me somewhere

  • Victorhck Said:

    RIP fuduntu - http://www.fuduntu.org/blog/2013/04/15/fuduntu-team-meeting-held-on-april-14-2013/

  • sdx Said:

    Thank you for sharing this!!! What an idiots! First, they create an uproar and make people to actually try, decide, install, stabilize themself on the distro. To ruin everything next, just because they can't integrate systemd and GTK3. I mean, what the fsck? This takes 3-5 days manpower! And they decide to take down the distribution. EXACTLY THIS BEHAVIOUR IS WHY LINUX IS UNPOPULAR. EXACTLY THIS BEHAVIOUR IS WHY DEBIAN IS VERY MUCH PREFERED OVER EVERYTHING. Its called CONSISTENCY, RELIABILITY. To keep going regardless! To support your supporters! Thank YOU FUDuntu for WASTING 2 days on this crap and even considering donation to you. Fscking STUDENT SOFTWARE.

  • fewt Said:

    Ok then, send us patches to fix our core issues and enough money to keep it hosted, and we'll talk.

  • J Belew Said:

    Then you should not have even started!

  • spainter Said:

    Exactly this. Don't start an exciting project that you aren't willing to see through to the end.

  • jtuck Said:

    > I've been using it for months now and haven't seen a single reason to switch.

  • jtuck004 Said:

    The rest of that comment was - "on to #2" - hope I can find something I liked as well.

  • nl419 Said:

    I'm surprised that Netrunner wasn't on this list. Although the author seems to be primarily a GNOME user, Netrunner is an amazing distribution. It runs quickly, even from a DVD, it looks great, and it's highly functional. It uses less than 2% cpu when its just on the desktop, and I've rarely seen it jump over 40% except when recording the screen. That's on the DVD.

  • Gentoo user Said:

    hi, I use gentoo I used to be in love with opensuse still on ubuntu 64 for specific stuff but gentoo has a very advanced packages management system, the portage compiles it all on the local machine, try Sabayon 11 for instance regards

  • baxxabit Said:

    fubuntu's time is over. look at official site.

  • emba Said:

    I switch fubuntu after reading your article. Now they are ending the project.

  • XubuntuUser Said:

    Yes, this. Double plus-one. No matter how great a distro is, if its handlers can't sustain it, and there's no community back-up, then we get RIPware, a distant cousin of vaporware.

  • Ken Said:

    APRIL 28, 2013 Fuduntu Project Ends http://www.fuduntu.org/blog/2013/04/28/project-ends/ After monitoring project activity and traffic and also reviewing all of the feedback from the community concerning our EOL I have decided to end the project effective today. This means that beginning with our last merge from testing to stable which should happen today or tomorrow, there will be no additional updates to Fuduntu.

  • Alistair Said:

    Funduntu is dead! Sadly, after I had installed it and was so impressed (I have tried many distros over the years) I joined the Forum and they were talking about closing the project. Well its happened: http://www.fuduntu.org/blog/2013/04/28/project-ends/ Now I recommend Linux Mint Debian as a good rolling distro but would have preferred Fuduntu :-(

  • say what? Said:

    so you pretty much just tried ubuntu / rhel and arch ... really? that's the extent of your linux use?

  • isbinod Said:

    Fuduntu is great distro but unfortunately they said there will be no further development :(

  • Tiago Dib Said:

    I use linux chakra, which is based on arch linux with kde is very fast and stable.

  • John Said:

    Ubuntu 13.04 Came out a couple of weeks ago. Downloaded it and opened the Ubuntu Software Center(Which now supports steam so no more hassle just to get it to open steam). Downloaded my games on my new desktop and like Windows perfectly. Ubuntu 13.04 is officially recommended for superior gaming aside from Windows XP, 7, or 8.

  • noman Said:

    top five http://www.omgexperts.tk/2013/06/top-five-linux-operating-systems-2013.html

  • David Said:

    Fuduntu is closing shop according to their website.

  • Yee Said:

    Forget about ubuntu. It is simply too buggy. I have been struggling with all sorts of bugs and incompatibilities for almost 2 weeks with 12.04, 12.10 and 13.04. I ditching ubuntu for something else.

  • Rui Said:

    Fuduntu project ended.... so... what now?

  • Erwin Said:

    The Fuduntu project just stopped, no more effort from developers, less than 2500 users .. Not the best desktop distro to go for

  • Susan Said:

    Might want to update the article as your fav distro (Fuduntu) has been ended starting 28th of April! On their website it says: "After monitoring project activity and traffic and also reviewing all of the feedback from the community concerning our EOL I have decided to end the project effective today. This means that beginning with our last merge from testing to stable which should happen today or tomorrow, there will be no additional updates to Fuduntu." http://www.fuduntu.org/blog/2013/04/28/project-ends/

  • antonio Said:

    Update the article? May as well pull it down altogether and start afresh...

  • chuck wallace Said:

    Project Ends APRIL 28, 2013 BY FEWT 118 COMMENTS After monitoring project activity and traffic and also reviewing all of the feedback from the community concerning our EOL I have decided to end the project effective today. This means that beginning with our last merge from testing to stable which should happen today or tomorrow, there will be no additional updates to Fuduntu. The majority of our user base has already moved on to other distributions, and the majority of Fuduntu team members have already moved to begin developing FuSE. By my calculations we have less than 2,500 users left, with those numbers continuing to drop by the day. As the project ends, you will receive an update that disables the Fuduntu stable repository. This will allow those of you who have chosen to remain with the project after EOL to continue to do so without receiving error messages. Thank you all for supporting our project over the years, may you all find a replacement distribution that you enjoy as much as you enjoyed Fuduntu.

  • MAlex Said:

    Interesting that Fuduntu is chossen as distro of the year just when it reaches it EOL: http://www.fuduntu.org/blog/2013/04/28/project-ends/

  • Leroy Said:

    Yes and I saw this AFTER I had installed it listening to this dumbass thread. It's a great distro but now I'm going to have to find something else instead :/ this sucks because I was just getting used to it!

  • Hardy Stevenson Said:

    yeah Fuduntu is now DuDuntu it was hardly cutting edge tech and too much work to catch up so it didnt. You also elected Arch which the most poorly managed effort Ive ever seen in a major linux distro... the maintainers are selfish ununified without vision and above all mean spirited...They even essentially censor the forums,,,Arch is NOT what it seems. I would no longer consider Developing or Maintaining Arch and I gave it more than a chance, When I delved into it deeply over a long period I realized what it really is....Bunk.

  • windows Said:

    Let me weight in and say windows rocks when it comes to everything

  • lily Said:

    For a list of pentesting linux distros id suggest this list! http://www.concise-courses.com/security/top-ten-distros/ Enjoy! It includes Kali Linux, BackBox, Knoppix, Pentoo and more.

  • cor3y Said:

    unfortunately, all development on Fuduntu has been ceased, as there are fewer than 2500 active users. An alternative may be FuSe http://www.pcworld.com/article/2036921/from-the-ashes-of-fuduntu-fuse-linux-is-born.html as noted in another one of Katherine Noyes' articles.

  • Ander Said:

    Too bad that your "best" desktop AND laptop distro went under so soon after your story. I'm amazed you didn't mention any of the several versions of the excellent and (justifiably) hugely popular Linux Mint (www.linuxmint.com). The XFCE version, which is considerably smaller and sleeker than the full-desktop versions, is absolutely perfect for portable netbooks and less powerful laptops.

  • Jacque Said:

    Why do the same 5 or 6 distro's always get the spotlight, most of them havnt changed in a dozen years.... New distrobutions that offer far more bang for the buck and offer far superior user experience also deserve some spotlight, i get so damn mad at these reviewers that are so closed minded. Do a bloody review on MakuluLinux and it will maybe open your eyes to the fact there is more to the world than old ancient distro's that offer nothing significant anymore.

  • Jay Rose Said:

    If I down load say a Linux/GNU is it run under Windows, that is, I still have windows, or does it somehow replace it? Thanks

  • Pedro Said:

    You can download any distribution of linux. Then burn the *.iso image in a cd or a usb pendrive with any program like nero. Then boot your computer with that cd/usb stick on your computer and follow the instrutions. You can: 1) Start your computer with the linux distribution, without installing nor affecting your computar at all. This is good to taste it 2) Install linux among with windows in your pc, making a partition on your hard drive 3) Format your hard drive and install linux as your unique SO.

  • SteveP Said:

    Sadly All LINUX Distro's look dated, in particular UBUNTU with its wonky font and GUI defaults. Just terrible.

  • Unknwn Said:

    Can u tell me all the versions of linux plz

  • Pedro Said:

    Linux mint 15 Mate is also a good choice for gaming. Lot of games to download for free, play online, 3d graphics, etc. For me is the best linux distribution: little issues, if none of them.

  • rhy Said:

    No mention of Linux Mint, the most popular Linux Distro out right now. Epic Fail. Oh, and on the server side: No CentOS? Do you work for Red Hat or something? LOLZ

  • obvious_rehat_troll Said:

    This is the funniest bit of sad web writing I have seen in a very very long time. The Fuduntu site is down, the Fedora based distro's are slower then turtles racing through glue. Linux Mint HAD to be one, since it is on more desktop computers then ALL other distros. Not even listed? Yep, utter fail. There are many other good Debian based choices, some good slackware and mandriva choices, and ALL of those choices are faster and easier to use then the crap you mentioned. This site is either sponsored in part or owned completely by A) RedHat or B) Microsoft, which would want you to see this CRAP and never try a real desktop Linux.

  • Sunny Said:

    Puppy Linux for low-end PCs Ubuntu Gnome 3.8.2 for my PC E17 desktop in Ubuntu to show-off E17 = Enlightenment which is the most beautiful desktop environment, overtakes KDE in all aspects..

  • Any Said:

    re-evaluate the proposal because they had stopped developing fuduntu.

  • Javad H. Said:

    I'm surprised no suggestion for best distro for development and best system for embedded systems. Any suggestions? I'm about to start my first embedded Linux project and all help is appreciated.

  • Dunno Said:

    How cool is that!? The recommended distro for both desktop and laptop has been discontinued three month after this warm recommendation. It is going to be hard to win over fans that way..

  • Anuja Said:

    On a Team Meeting held on April 14 2013, it was decided that Fuduntu would discontinue development and no new versions will be released. Large parts of the team are planning to work on a new rebased OS, most likely with a new name -Wikipedia-

  • Best Linux Software Said:

    One of the best list found on Google related to Best software for Linux :)

  • Pedro Said:

    I would also recommend for hosting and servers CentOS, which I have used and I have signed with hosts that use this and it's really easy to use and powerful!

  • Andy Said:

    Ubuntu is a NIGHTMARE! I sat there for six hours installing software. You have to cut and paste command codes and all the software is already "installed" on your computer. But you have to find and install six things on your computer just to find them and open them. If you want to use a sandbox type app, you have to use code and figure outh this bizarre set of rules to make it work. Linux is for hardcore MIT geeks. For anyone else it will drive you insane.

  • Sunny Said:

    You need a lot of practice to maintain software installation in Ubutntu. At begining I was a newbie and did not know what commands to write and where to write them, I even did not know where the terminal was. Once you got to know it, you will love Ubuntu, since it it the easiest Linux to work with. If you cannot hold it and want spoon-feeding, use Bodhi Linux.

  • Xtro Said:

    Slackware IS the best Linux distro... OK it's not for total noobs, but it is way faster than constipated floundering hippo distro's like Ubuntu. Unfortunately to get the best out of anything in life you need to put effort in. If you want to be a fighter pilot you need to be above average and keen... If you want to drive your invalid buggy to McDonalds - then use Fedora or Ubuntu - if you want to be a hacker ninja then use Arch,Slack or Gentoo...

  • Alvaro Cervantes Said:

    This is a fantastic discussion, can we do a compilation or a summary of all the facts here? I am looking at writing something like this: Linux-->Hardware Use-->Laptop, Desktop, Tablet,etc.-->Work Use-->Business, home (gaming, internet, etc), critical (real time like robotics), International (traveler, language dependent, etc.), School (it is a business now days), etc-.-->Distribution-->Packages to add from a basic installation. What do you think? I am on it and I can write the summary, but if somebody wants to help we can do it faster that way. Send me an email acervantesatslamentelinuxpuntocom

  • Archie Said:

    Fuduntu may have been a good choice for laptops, but it is now out of development and support.

  • Marty B Said:

    As a 30 year Windows user, I recently became disillusioned with Microsoft's move to the "Metro/Modern/whatever" UI. I consider XP to have been their best overall user experience; Windows 7 hides too much for power users to work with as we have to jump through hoops to get at core functions. I experimented with Linux way back when (Corel Linux, first public release). Since then I have tried over 120 distros and versions of distros, and this is what I have found (feel free to disagree, these are just MY opinions): 1 Ubuntu is the easiest to install and get working similarly to Windows, but it tends to be a little on the slow side. 2. The lighter versions of Ubuntu (Xubuntu, Lubuntu) have cut corners to be "lightweight", so may require some serious adjustments to be full-featured. 3. PCLOS was great for a while until it collapsed under its own weight ("The Full Monty"--my own fault LOL). 4. Have never, ever managed a successful install of Arch, Gentoo, or Slax. 5. Fedora isn't bad, but some unwelcome differences when you are used to Windows. I should try it again.. 6. Mandriva is feature-rich, but resource intensive. 7. Vector Linux has much potential, and in the year or so since I last tried it, may have matured to that potential. 8. Mint 14 has been an up-and-down experience for me. I like Mate, but Mint just seems somewhat kludgy overall. 9. Bodhi, SimplyMEPIS, Zenwalk all failed to install, and I was looking for clean, fairly straightforward installs--not those requiring me to add libraries to the install process to make it work. 10. Xandros, the free edition, was impressive, but to usitlize the potential you had to pay for the commercial edition. Sorta negates the point of FOSS. 11. And a final--and open to flaming--opinion: Unity is the worst UI except for Windows 8. I prefer clicking an icon to searching program names. Regarding Ubuntu's ill-conceived shopping searches...if you don't like something about one distro, and are unable to change it from within the distro, you do have choices, as the article states. I for one, will be trying out Fubuntu--and just fyi, WoW works adequately well in Mint with Wine. Not great, but playable. Currently running: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS/Cinnamon, Windows XP, Mint 14/Mate, and Lubuntu on netbook.

  • Rob Said:

    I have a retired friend who had an old Toshiba dual core laptop.  She is not very computer literate and I did not want to get into a support cycle with her.  So, I installed a copy of SolusOS 2 Alpha 7 on her system along with docky.  I customized the system a bit for her, locked down the desktop and gave her and her oldest grandson  about an hour's worth of training.  Well, I have not had one service call in 6 months.  I asked her grandson if she uses the computer and he said yes, she is always on it.  So, why did I pick SolusOS over say Xubuntu?  First of all, I know that Alpha 7 is now dead and that Ikey is working on a new version.  But, Alpha 7 was a great release, ascetically pleasing and a clean experience. As a point-in-time solution I felt it would meet this persons specific needs.

  • manojn Said:

    I would just go blindly with Fuduntu.. just for the reason u recommended. Thanks

  • boddle wrap Said:

    Strange thing about this article: she appears to have written it after finding out that Fuduntu was dead. Wouldn't it have been a bit more helpful to give an opinion or two of projects that are still viable? My own feeling about Linux, as someone who occasionally struggles to install one alongside my Windoze OSs (which I have to use coz of a couple of must-use applications, including Dragon Naturally Speaking), is that it has always got to be Ubuntu because there is a vast hinterland out there (forums, etc) where you can find patient, helpful geeks and non-geeks at all levels of Ubuntu expertise. Whatever Ubuntu's problems, for a Linux newbie without a Linux-Taliban fanatic sitting next to you all day to answer questions, this is absolutely critical...

  • davelupt Said:

    Backtrack is no longer being developed and has since moved to Kali. Kali's initial release was a day before the posting of this article. Times keep on changing.

  • CSJ Said:

    Fuduntu has been discontinued already. *snort* Sorry. Ubuntu is the best for desktop and laptop, period. At least for more current machines. If it's older hardware and can't handle Ubuntu, then Lubuntu is a good way to go. Not as pretty though.

  • iLoveBoobs Said:

    I love boobs which is why I love you guys, keep arguing about apples and oranges and ill see you for desert

  • me Said:

    I really don't know why would some journalist's opinion be even remotely relevant when chosing distribution... I'm really not hating... I just think that there is more than fancy graphics and colors when making opinion about distributions.

  • Joe Said:

    I came to check what version would be better for me , a newbie to linux and after reading all the comments the only thing I can tell is that linux is just a freaking big mess with so many distros and everyone finding it faulty in some area. I guess that if instead of fighting over all the developers os linux would have join together and create a single product, we would have a a free operating system that would work better than the apple and microsoft spaguetti code together. Meanwhile I guess Ill have to settle with the mediocrity of MS or apple because no one in the linux world can seem to agree and improve without the need of creating yet another new version of the same product instead of working in just making one perfect.

  • rickster Said:

    Thanks for article, but I just a couple of quips, Why would anyone post the best Linux distro of 2013, in March of 2013 ? Linux Mint seems to be much more popular for Gamers than Ubuntu, most especially these days, and even though RHEL is a Linux distro, it is first and foremost a commercial cash cow for IBM, I mean, isn't it.? So, I can tell you, from real world experience, CentOS would be a much better (cost-effective) choice, unless of course you have lots of money? I storngly suggest waiting till the "end" of 2013, before doing a best of 2013 at the beginning of 2013 ? :cool:

  • jake Said:

    Kubuntu is the best, add KXStudio repositories if you want to do preofessional audio like me :)

  • coldmax Said:

    This is fscken useless for a newbee! So many negatives about each distro no wonder why its hard to recruit new linux users from Winx.

  • Eli Said:

    Katherine you are cute :) I want to install a Linux distribution for Linx + certification, in the book that I have they recommand OPenSUse , but I have never used it before, and I see too many negative comments on it in the net , what do you recommand as commmand line only distribution to learn ? Thanks

  • The Dude Said:

    I read through the article then scrolled down to the comments to see what readers had to say... shoulda known it was just going to be a "I'm right, you're wrong" geek debate.... sheesh. Thanks for the article by the way =)

  • Linus Said:

    You are an idiot; please don't write anymore garbage - the internet has already too much litter as is.

  • Trapdoorscience Said:

    If people really like these distros so much, why does it seem like no one wants to bother installing one on a new high end system? All I ever see in comments sections left behind, are and I quote "installed on one of my older systems". People sure talk about how great these things are, I say put your money where your mouth is.

  • Bala Krishnan Said:

    users with just 1 or 2 computers might be satisfied with 1 or 2 operating systems that they like. If they have almost 30 computers like I do for personal and business use and different tasks for each of them, and need to work with all sort of things, they will probably have more than a few distros in mind. I have used many distro in my life and i can say some of my favourites are peppermint, mint xfce, xubuntu, lubuntu. some of the reason of my choices are effected by my tasks or hardware incompatibilities. I also like distros that are fast, can work out of the box with less tweaking and easily compatible with most hardwares.

  • Orion Blastar Said:

    I got a version of Ubuntu named Blastarix that removes the annoying Amazon searching and adds more features and updates here: http://blastar.in/linux/

  • Terrokkin Said:

    See, I read all these comments, and it still brings back the reason I stick with Windows: Linux is WAY too confusing for the average user! Too many flavors, what works with what, insane amount of ways to get something done, and how do you support it if it doesn't do what the user wants? (And before I get backlash, I know my PC/Mac configurations very well with A+ knowledge and Network configuration.) Linux is just too customizable. If I, as a user truly want something out of my PC to do (gaming, graphic design, productivity, whatever), tell me what works. Tell me how what I'm doing will port over to the PC world. And sadly? This article (dated 2013) STILL does not solve that problem. Great, it is good in a server configuration and is easily scalable in that realm. But to me? It's a joke! Why should I try to sift through hundreds of different flavors of Linux when I know one setup works for me as an end-user? if you Linux-based techies want this to push to the user world, you need to bring it down to an era to help someone who wants to try it down a few notches. I understand command line, I design, I write code, and I know PCs. But nothing here convinces me one way or the other to switch or even dual-boot. Isn't that what you would want to happen? and I know, some dumba** will say I'm an Apple or Microsoft fanboy and tell me to go back. But truth is? I WANT to try Linux; I really do! But confusion still stands in my way, and I don't have that time to really play with so many builds. Oh well....let the angry "Linux RULES!" "Go support capitalism!" backlash flow. ;)

  • Harry Said:

    There are many reasons for you to switch to Linux. Here are some: 1. Speed. Your PC will be more speedy in Linux, with an os of a better architecture. Meanwhile the absence of antivirus software makes the PC faster. 2. No malware, viruses and browser hijacks. 3. The OS and the apps are free. You select easily whatever you want from the software center and you install or uninstall it. While today even the shareware in Windows hijack your browser and install adware. 4. No need for continuously fix the windows registry, do cleanings and disk defragmentations. 5. The updates don't slow down your PC. 6. You get the latest drivers for both 32 and 64 bit, while in windows, web sites even ask you to buy them, or driver updaters ask you for money. 7. Windows software got too expensive (office, photoshop etc), while linux apps come at no cost (libre office, gimp etc). 8. Windows 8 got enough a consumeristic os (shopping at the metro screen etc), while Linux doesn't push you to be a consumeristic guy. Finally, there many distros and you choose the one which suits your needs, while in Windows you are forced to follow the new metro interface.

  • ifoolb Said:

    I think the best Linux distribution for me to try is Linux From Scratch.

  • EKG Said:

    With the exception of a few intelligent people on this site, the vast majority of you fit into the unsavory category of "whiner supremus". You cry about distributions because, you have the inability to program - you are too lazy or have no, or, have limited or no talent. Or maybe you are learning..You have too many choices to make, like a child in a candy factory, and can't decide as to how to overcome a problem. Katherine has done a marvelous job of providing the average person, and the Neanderthals on this site, of general choices - be grateful for her effort! I don't see any of you providing a synopsis of pro's and con's of other distributions; your comments are diatribes. Prove your vociferous comments with a summary of the distributions available without blasphemous speech, otherwise you mark yourself as cowards. And, no, I don't know Katherine from a "hole in the wall". You are supposed to be people, separated from animals with a higher intellect, and so, treat other people accordingly, especially, those that give you knowledge. For those, to whom GOD has GRANTED special dispensation, learn LISP - the real language. I want no feedback, because ..... EKG

  • Bob from accounting Said:

    I'll just stick with windows after reading this cancerous mess.

  • Angie's Lisp Said:

    I wanted to try Linux but after reading this article and all of the following comments I see that Windows is obviously still far superior; even after years and years of Linux development. No wonder Linux isn't (and never will be) mainstream; it will always be insignificant in comparison because overall, it is far too haphazard for the average PC user. This is why Linux will never become ubiquitous.

  • God Said:

    Best comment on this site; hands down. A very true and ultra-realistic statement regarding Linux in general.

  • The average Joe Said:

    All Linux builds fail horribly as an easy to use all-in-one OS alternative to Apple or MS. I see why Linux still cannot compete with the aforementioned companies; Linux does not suit the average computer user--however, this is exactly what needs to happen...but it won't, because it's Linux. Sigh...

  • El Diablo Said:

    I agree, Joe...I would like to think that a majority of the Linux community would want to become well-known and have their software(s) used by the masses of average computer users, but they are apparently fine with being the red-headed stepchildren happily living in the shadows of MS/Apple. P.S. - Add a few years to your life, people...stick with Macintosh or Windows instead of Linux mash-ups that do not wholly deliver.

  • PissedOff Said:

    "Best security enchanced distro" Are you retarded? Seriously.. Backtrack and distros like it are for doing security tests.. such as audits or pentration testing.. they are in no way "security enchanced".. in face distros like Backtrack were NEVER meant to be installed to disk in the first place.. because for one thing.. they run as UID 0.. and are generally much MUCH more INSECURE and easy to compromise in themselves. You have no idea what you're talking about. How do people like you even get to be in a position to publish material to an audience like this? You're clearly incompetent... honestly Im outraged. Dont even know what to say. Stop spreading your bullshit.

  • Anger Said:

    The pen testing framework that comes preinstalled in backtrack is called Metasploit.. specifically, the Metasploit Framework. Backtrack itself is just Ubuntu with a bunch of security tools pre installed and packed into an ISO that is meant to be run live, from ram or (most commonly) from a virtual machine (VM). How is backtrack a "security enhanced" distro, since it's not meant to be installed to disk in the first place? and comes with loads and loads of software installed by defaut.. runs in single user mode, ie UID 0. ..ie ROOT..? How do you compare it to LPS which is something more akin.. to Puppy/tails or some kind of mix between those. LPS is creation of .mil world. It's a lightweight system that boots into RAM like puppy linux.. the use case is to ensure whatever node you may have access to is clean and good to go for sensitive work.. leave no trace behind, etc.. Abaolutly nothing like BT... and BT itself is probaly the LEAST SECURE distro you can get. Holy fuck this article is rage inducing. How do you not know these basic things and yet you're in a position to publish articles on any website to any auidence? Who's the editor that allowed this crap to be published? Do you get paid for this? How are you even employed and tons of people can't get a job? What the fuck is wrong this world.

  • G_Hacker Said:

    Netrunner is the worst distro I have encountered. I loaded into VirtualBox, added a shared NTFS drive and did a drive mapping command which totally hung my system. I have done this with 5 other distros and never had an issue. I would recommend Bodhi Linux without reservation, easy to install, very fast on minimal hardware and totally configurable. E17 is the best desktop of any Linux/Windows system I have encountered. ~~~ Anger, GR8 points I wonder what the author's thoughts are about Windows security ... LOL

  • Hayden James Said:

    Great artcile. I like how broke down choices into various categories.

  • Franco Said:

    Hello...I am considering configuring my "home" laptop with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop to access the internet and use the applications. It is a Toshiba Satellite 1.60 GHZ and 1.96 GB RAM. Will this work, and if so, how well? Am I wasting my time? I am a Unix user from 15 yrs ago, and the reason why I want to convert it to Red Hat is because Windows XP will not be supported come April. Suggestions from anyone would be greatly appreciated since I do have some time before XP updates end.

  • RichardRoby Said:

    Choosing not to to turn this into a biased argument. but the coined title OS 'Best Linux distribution' is based highly on opinions and not FACTS. The title should be called 'Most popular Linux distribution. I see nothing regarding the debate on binary build packages versus source build packages. Nor do I see a trend of heightened security for servers such as grsecurity. Find the topic of this to be biased .

  • RichardRoby Said:

    And another thing i missed when reading other replies is the concept that backtrack/kali is intended to be a pentesting toolkit, NOT something you install on your server and run a mailserver/webserver on. pentest kits arent intended to be live systems. That is the most insane thing i have ever entertained. Security-enhanced should go to distros with SELinux defaulted or something with hardened kernels such as archlinux or gentoo.

  • Silver Said:

    Um. Hi. I have problems with Win 7 and I am thinking of switching to Linux. My dad runs Ubuntu on his laptop. I am looking for a distro that is somewhat easy to use and is good with gaming. If you could help me out then thanks!

  • Whatever... Said:

    I'm reading this on an Ubuntu box. I'm kinda liking it though I have no sound and I have no idea how to kill a process like in windows. Don't even know why I typed this...

  • Walter Said:

    Developers that develop linux are unpaid volunteers. So they work on bits that they are interested in, or will make kudos among their fellow developers. So new "sexy" features galore but basic functions (printers, scanners, usb soundcards, etc.) are all fucked up. The non-free software avoidance crap also makes their distros work like it's from the stone age - basic as hell! Their worst sin is NOT sorting out bugs that annoy the hell out of their real users (as suppose to fellow geeks who forgive the bugs because fanboism). They don't give a flying fuck about real users as long as they get adulation from fellow geeks.

  • Justin Said:

    As I am sure some or most people know, and if you look on http://www.distrowatch.com Fuduntu is discontinued.

  • Justin Said:

    I hope they are able to bring a new distro to the masses. If anyone has any news to share on this I would be grateful. Thanks everyone!

  • johnr Said:

    Good article, Katherine. Thank you for the time and effort you placed in making this information available. Cheers.

  • Raj Said:

    Great article, you can get some latest information and news on latest apple gadgets from here: www.macmyth.com

  • Mitul K Said:

    Great article, you can get some latest information and news on latest Technology and Softwares from here: www.mono-live.com

  • Alex Said:

    Seems not so well researched.... Debian is the best server distribution, secure and i also prefer it as desktop system with XFCE4 or MATE - Gnome3 is currently the most annoying Desktop out there; Ubuntu sucks, spyware is included, slow and very buggy - it's just for newbies; Microsoft contributes more to the opensource community than Cannonical; Linux Mint Debian Edition (LXDE) runs significantly faster than Ubuntu based MINT version but LXDE is not really usable yet; There is more work to do for the Mint Team because some functions in their desktop implementation aren't working and the installer is a joke - once fixed i would see LXDE as one of the best desktop distribution; As shown, such newcomers like Fuduntu are nice but discontinued one month after this article

  • Rod Bastias Said:

    I'm testing Lubuntu in my laptop right now but I think that there is a problen between the Ubuntu arch and my laptop's hardware. I don't have those Unity ugly crushes but at some point there is no way to slow 80ºC of my machine. Working with Windows doesn't show this problem... maybe is some kind of hardware problem which I'm trying to find out. At the same time I'm learning about CrunchBang wich it seems quite good, stable and lightweight distro and appropiate to my laptop. Slackware is another option too. I have been obsesed with Ubuntu for so long... I'm moving forward and looking for other distros arch...

  • dthth Said:

    Zorin is best for gaming its based on ubuntu

  • Anupam Sharma Said:

    I am using Zorin 64 bit for past few months as a replacement for Windows 7. Believe me its awesome. Not much interested in games but security wise its best

  • marni Said:

    Hi folks- I'm a Windoze user, even though i nightly pray that Bill Gates develops permanent severe hemorrhoids. Why? Because Linux lacks software and usability. It lacks Irfanview [most usable basic media editor/viewer by a wide margin], and a usable text editor (like CryptEdit) or equivalent, sob!] And the usability? Uh, guys? The Challenge/Man-up! mindset [be a ninja!, ride a motorcycle!] is evidence of testosterone poisoning. If people told you you were a wimp because you wanted a car that didn't need a lot more skill in driving and maintaining you'd tell them they were nuts, or masochistic obsessives. Millions of us Windoze users WANT to go Linux but, for lack of software, and reluctance to waste even more time 'under the hood', we won't. So it's a Linux culture thing, and cultures are notoriously resistant to change, sigh. So the bastard corporations win.


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