Linux is an Open Source Operating System and when we say Linux Operating System we mean Linux Kernel; FYI Linux is not a complete operating system it’s just a kernel. Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, etc. are the complete Linux Operating system and they all use Linux Kernel with different software and packages to make a distinct Operating System of Linux, if you want you can also make your own Linux System, the kernel code is available on the internet and you can write your own programs and create your own packages to build a specific complete Operating System, but doing this take lot of time and you should also have the knowledge of Linux itself, so rather than creating your own Linux Operating System, you can simply download a Linux Distribution or Distro.
What is Linux Distribution?
There are many Operating Systems such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, Fedora, etc. and they all refereed as a Linux Operating System. An Ubuntu user or a Linux Mint user always says that they are using Linux Operating System but technically they use Linux Kernel with different programs and packages, and also do not confuse all these Linux Operating systems as the different versions of Linux because they are not.
If we compare Linux with Window operating system; Window is own by Microsoft and its all programs and packages build by Microsoft itself and the source code of window is available to Microsoft authorized developers so a normal user does not have any control over the window kernel, but this is not a case in Linux, different organizations have developed the different parts of Linux and everyone is free to use the Linux kernel in order to make their own Linux Operating System.
There are many Organizations that Build Operating Systems from a collection of programs, based on the Linux kernel and distribute it as a Linux Operating System. So technically when you download a Linux Operating system such as Ubuntu actually you download a Linux distribution.
Linux Distribution also abbreviated as Distro, and every Linux distribution comprises Linux Kernel, GNU tools, Libraries, Additional software, APIs, window system, window manager, desktop environment and documentation.
We can also define a Linux Distribution as the composition of different applications and utility software such as GNU tools and Library combined together with Linux Kernel so that it could form a complete operating system and meet the need of many users.
Best Linux Distribution
There are hundreds of Linux Distribution which provide Linux distribution with different features and most of them are free that’s why Linux also treated as one of the best Operating System and for developers, its always suggested that if you cannot buy mac go for Linux. Linux Distribution designed on the basis of the user requirement, for example, Ubuntu is defined for the beginner Linux user, and Arch designed for those users who enjoy working on terminals, here in this we have provided with the top Linux Distributions which are popular in the Linux market.
- Linux Mint
- Arch Linux
Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution, though it is based on another Linux Distribution “Debian” it comes with its own software repositories, however, most of its repositories are imported from Debian itself.
It is introduced in 2004 by Canonical and it was designed for newcomers which are using Linux for the first time that ubuntu designed with well Graphical Interface and can work even without command lines.
It is an open-source Linux Operating system, and its version gets updated every 6 months so do not need to concern about your system security and privacy updates. and Like other popular Operating Systems like window and mac Ubuntu release an LTS (long term support) version every 2 years.
Right now, the latest version of Ubuntu is 18.04.4 LTS and in July 2020 ubuntu will release a new version of the operating system for desktop with Ubuntu 19.10. For now, ubuntu is limited with the desktop, server, and cloud but its developers are also planning to release it for smart devices like smartwatches and mobile devices.
Minimum Requirement to install Ubuntu in your system:
- 2 GHz dual-core processor or better
- 4 GB system memory
- 25 GB of free hard drive space
- Either a DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media
- Internet access is helpful
2. Linux Mint
It is an Elegant GUI Linux Distribution ideal for Linux new users who have switched from Mac or Window. It comes with LibreOffice and it also provides support for proprietary media formats, which allow playing videos, DVDs and music files.
The latest version of Linux Mint is 19.3 and it offers you 3 different editions to download Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce, and out of these three editions, Cinnamon is the most popular. Originally mint was built on the top of Ubuntu OS and Mint uses many of its software repository that’s why most of the packages are similar in both the Linux Operating Systems. Now mint has its some of its new repositories and unlike Ubuntu, it does not compel you to download the critical software updates.
Minimum Requirement to install Linux Mint in your system
- x86 processor (Linux Mint 64-bit requires a 64-bit processor. Linux Mint 32-bit works on both 32-bit and 64-bit processors).
- 512 MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).
- 5 GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
- Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution (1024×768 recommended).
- DVD drive or USB port
CentOS provides two distro editions CentOS Linux and CentOS Stream; however, CentOS is popular for server usages that’s why it is not so great option as a daily Desktop Operating System.
CentOS Linux is a rebuild of the freely available sources for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). CentOS Stream is a midstream distribution that provides a cleared-path for participation in creating the next version of RHEL
Minimum Requirement to install CentOS in your system:
- 2 GB RAM
- 2 GHz or Higher Processor
- 20 GB Hard Disk
- 64-bit x86 System
This Linux distribution is designed for the developers and System Administrators, that’s why it offers a lot of security packages. openSUSE offers two distros, openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed.
The Leap distro is built on the top of SUSE Linux Enterprise and provide more stability, and year you get a new version of for your system with 3 years of version support.
The Tumbleweed is based on the openSUSE’s main development codebase and its update get available for download as soon as the developers of openSUSE test the updates that’s why with Tumbleweed you get the latest update of openSUSE.
Minimum Requirement to install openSUSE in your system:
- 4 1.6 GHz or higher processor
- 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended)
- Hard disk: 3 GB (5GB recommended)
- Sound and graphics cards:
- DVD ports
5. Arch Linux
It is a lightweight Linux Distro often used by professional developers who like to work with command lines. Arch Linux does not provide that much of Graphical User Interface and if you want to interact with this operating system you need to write the command lines even for installing or uninstalling an application you have to use terminal commands.
Though if you know how to write the Linux commands you can also customize Arch according to your will here you get many options to customize the complete operating system, this operating system comes handy for developers who do not want other unnecessary packages to occupy the system memory.
Unlike other Linux based operating systems Ubuntu or Linux Mint, here you do not get the complete packages for your OS, in Arch you have to install packages according to your requirement.
Minimum Requirement to install Arch Linux in your system
- 1 GB Ram
- An i686-based processor
- 5 GB Hard Disk
Elementary OS is one of the best Linux distros and up to some extent its resemblance the overall look of mac os. This operating system is based on Ubuntu which makes it ideal for the non-technical users, however, the Source Model of Elementary is an Open Source but the organization provide you with some custom modification at an affordable price range.
If you are Looking for an Operating system which can provide you with high security and fast performance you can defiantly go with Elementary, it’s a perfect replacement for macOS and Windows.
Originally elementary OS started as a set of themes and applications designed for Ubuntu but later on the elementary.inc released it a separate Linux distro. Initially, Elementary was based on ubuntu which helps elementary to use the ubuntu’s repositories, but later the elementary comes with a new version 0.4 “Loki”, which introduced a new Appstore “AppCenter” for Elementary OS.
Minimum Requirement to install Elementary OS in your system:
- Recent Intel i3 or comparable dual-core 64-bit processor
- 4 GB of system memory (RAM)
- Solid-state drive (SSD) with 15 GB of free space
- Internet access
- 1024×768 display
Fedora is an open-source Linux distro developed as a Fedora Project sponsored by Red Hat Inc. Fedora Projects is well known for its open-source or free licenses and cutting-edge software. Fedora provides Operating System for the desktop, server as well as for cloud computing and all are open source.
Fedora keeps updating its Operating System which also plays a back-role to its users because fedora gives only 13 months support for its every new version. But there is a catch in fedora OS if there is a new version you do have to uninstall the old one in order to install the updated version you can simply visit the fedora official website and download the new version.
Minimum Requirement to install Fedora OS in your system:
- 1GHz Processor (Recommended 2 GHz Dual Core processor)
- 2 GB RAM
- 15 GB unallocated Hard Disk
- Bootable Media (USB / DVD)
- Internet Connection (Optional)
Deepin Linux distro is based on Debian’s stable branch, and it is also known as Linux Deepin and Hiweed Linux. Deepin has its own desktop environment called Deepin DE. The Deepin DE is written on an open-source widget toolkit known as Qt. Qt is used to create the graphical user interface and cross-platform applications which can run on various operating systems including Linux, Windows, macOS and Android.
Arch Linux which is also one of the popular Linux distros has included the Deepin Desktop Environment in their packages repository. Deepin provides you with multiple in-built applications which are built on C++ and Qt. Deepin also comes with its own installer called Deepin Installer which can be used to install the new application as well as the updates of the operating systems itself.
Minimum Requirement to install Deepin OS in your system:
- Intel Pentium IV
- 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended)
- 10 GB free disk Space
Alpine Linux distro is based on musl(C library used for operating systems based on Linux Kernal) and BusyBox (software suite that provides Unix utilities), Alpine was designed by keeping simplicity, resource efficiency and security in mind.
Initially Alpine started as a fork of the LEAF project, then later LEAF organization continue Alpine as a Linux distro. Linux comes with its built-in package-management system and apk-tools, now Alpine contain all the popular packages and applications such as GNOME, Xfce, Firefox, etc.
Minimum Requirement to install Alpine Linux OS in your system:
- Processors, such as i386, amd64, arm, ppc, and x390.
- At least 100 MB of RAM is necessary.
- A complete desktop system can require up to 1 GB.
- For “sys” or “data” modes, a storage device is needed
As it’s names resemblance, Kubuntu Linux Distro is based on Ubuntu, and like ubuntu, it is one of the most widely used Linux distros, but its always considered as the flavour of Ubuntu. Kubuntu is widely used by the developers, testers, supporters and translators’ communities and many developers refer it as a perfect alternative to Windows and Mac os.
However, Kubuntu us mostly all of the Ubuntu packages and repositories but it uses the KDE Plasma Desktop instead of the GNOFME for the Desktop Environment. Kubuntu comes with preinstall office, email, graphics, photography, and music applications which ready to use at startup. There is an advantage of Kubuntu over Ubuntu that is Kubuntu is mobile-ready which means you can enable the easy integration between your PC desktop and phone or tablet, you just need to install KDE on your Android device and you can connect your Mobile with your desktop.
Minimum Requirement to install Kubuntu OS in your system:
- 1 GHz processor
- 512 MB of system memory (RAM)
- 8 GB of free disk space
- VGA capable of 1024×768 screen resolution
Organizations use Linux Kernel which is an Open source program for the operating systems, and write some utility programs on that Linux kernel to create a complete Linux Operating system and distribute them over the internet for free or Paid versions and these Linux Operating Systems are known as Linux Distro. As we have mentioned above that there are more than 600 Linux distros on the internet and many of those are free to use, if you want you can install the Linux kernel for free create your own Linux Operating System.