Best Linux Distros that you should try in 2021

Gaurav Bhardwaj
Gaurav Bhardwaj
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#linux
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With the advancement of technology, the demand for open source is increasing day by day. Linux is a great open source operating system that is currently used in billions of machines & powerful servers. The security of Linux is also unmatchable which makes it the preferred operating system for servers. It is predicted that the Linux operating system will further rise exponentially in the coming years.

The Linux community is also the fastest growing community in the world. You can get solutions to your problem very easily.

If we compare Linux operating system with other operating systems like Windows and macOS, the advantage of Linux is that it has a wide range of variants which is called Linux distributions or Linux distros, which is amazing but at the same time selecting one distribution over the other is very confusing. So, you can check out some top Linux distros in this article.

I am using Linux as my personal & work operating system since 2011, so I have tried around 100+ Linux distributions in the span of 10 years.

The first and foremost thing to keep in mind is – all Linux distros are created with lots of hard work, so I don’t like criticizing any distro, as all are using Linux Kernel under the hood and provides unique features on top of it and all distros are easily customizable.

Make your Linux Distro look like Mac OS.

The following are the best Linux distros:

1. Pop OS

Pop! OS COSMIC Desktop - Ittwist

Pop Os is one of the best Linux distros for gaming and programming created by System 76. It is based on Ubuntu and comes under Debian Family. If you are a gamer, programmer, or scientist looking for a distro, I must say go for Pop OS. Ever since it is released, I am using Pop os as my daily driver, and it has never disappointed me.

Pop Os comes with a wide range of programming tools and utilities pre-installed which makes it even beautiful.

The distro comes in two variants – an Intel variant & NVIDIA variant. It is based on the GNOME desktop environment.

The games on Pop OS run extremely smooth and the driver support is outstanding. You will rarely notice any graphics issue on this distribution, that is why it has gathered huge popularity in a short span of time.

In the latest 21.04 release, Pop OS has introduced a new COSMIC Workflow (Computer Operating System Main Interface Components) which is based upon GNOME. It provides you the freedom to navigate your workflow via your mouse, keyboard, and/or trackpad.

 

Pop! OS COSMIC Launcher - IttwistPop! OS Tiling Manager - Ittwist

The launcher is amazing and super flexible allows you to search the applications with the Super Key, Also helps to switch the tabs which is a plus point. A Pop shell Window tiling is also a one plus point of the distro that comes inbuilt. You can download the distro from the below download link.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 2GB required, 4GB Recommended.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 16GB Space required.

Download Pop OS

2. Linux Mint

Linux Mint Desktop - Ittwist

Linux mint is a best beginner friendly distro & a great alternative to Windows and macOS. This Linux distro is based on ubuntu but it also comes under a variant which is based on Debian known as “Linux Mint Debian Edition or LMDE”.

Linux Mint also has a wide range of packages that you can install from the store. It also features better support for old hardware. I have used Linux mint as my daily driver for almost 4-5 years, never noticed any single lag or issue. Linux mint is more refined than Ubuntu also called “Polished Ubuntu“.

Linux mint comes with the following desktop environments – Cinnamon, Mate & XFCE desktop environment.

Considering the latest release, I must say developers have done their best in refining Linux mint. It is also highly memory efficient. I can vouch for this thing that – if you choose Linux mint, you will stick to this distro for a longer time and will rarely encounter any issues as it is highly stable.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 1GB required, 2GB Recommended.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 15GB Space required, 20GB Recommended.

Download Linux Mint

 

3. Manjaro

Manjaro KDE Desktop - Ittwist

Manjaro is amongst the best Linux distros which is based on Arch Linux. Manjaro uses a rolling release model where new packages are provided throughout the day.

The installation process of Manjaro is also easy unlike the command line installation of Arch Linux. Apart from this distro is very user friendly and having powerful package management. The best thing is Manjaro offers stability under the hood.

It also offers you to choose any kernel of your choice in the graphical mode, from the Long Term Support (LTS) to the latest released beta kernel. In addition to that, You can also access AUR (Arch User Repository) from Manjaro as it is a variant of Arch Linux. Manjaro offers strong driver-inbuilt support, which is nice.

Moreover, I am impressed with Manjaro as it uses very little memory and provides a seamless desktop experience.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 2 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 2GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 30GB Space required.

Download Manjaro

4. MX Linux

MX Linux - Best Linux Distro

 

MX Linux is the best lightweight distro which is based on Debian stable and uses core antiX components under the hood. MX Linux comes under two desktop environments – XFCE (with and without Advanced Hardware Support) 32& 64 bit & KDE (with Advanced Hardware Support) only 64 bit.

The best thing about MX Linux is it is blazing fast and consumes very little RAM & CPU. hence, MX Linux is a distribution that you can use on our older computers and hardware.

The installation process of MX Linux also comes up with clear instructions and is really simple.

I have an old computer in my home in which I use MX Linux and it works as expected without any glitches.

In addition to this, there are some Unofficial respins by MX developers ie. MX-Base, MX-RaspberryPi, and MX-Workbench.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 2GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 15GB Space required, 30GB Recommended.

Download MX Linux

 

5. Ubuntu

Ubuntu Desktop - Best Linux Distro

 

Ubuntu is a very popular desktop Linux distribution backed by Canonical and is based on Debian. Ubuntu is released every six months, with long-term support (LTS) releases every two years. The distribution is very user friendly which makes Ubuntu a great alternative to Windows & macOS.

It uses the GNOME desktop environment in its stock distribution. The installation process of the distro is also amazing, you can install drivers and third-party apps very easily. Ubuntu uses Personal Package Archive (PPA), a software repository for uploading source packages to be built and published as an Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) repository by Launchpad.

If we look at the performance, it uses little RAM & CPU – but definitely higher than MXLinux, Linux Mint. The popularity of ubuntu is unmatchable & it has a wide range of community support available.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 4GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 25GB Space required.

Download Ubuntu

6. Debian

Debian - Best Linux Distro

Debian is one of the oldest Linux distributions which is well known for its stability. This distro is widely used in servers, workstations, and Docker containers. Unlike Arch, it focuses on stable packages which make it one of the most stable distribution.

Debian relies on the older stable packages instead of the latest packages. If you need stability instead of the newer packages then this distro is for you.

The Security of Debian is also rock-solid, that is why it is widely used in servers. In addition to all these points, you can also trust Debian on its memory efficiency. It also comes with Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, LXDE, LXQT, Mate, Standard, and XFCE desktop environments.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 512MB required, 2GB Recommended.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 10GB Space required.

Download Debian (NetInst)

Download Debian

7. Fedora

Fedora Spins

Fedora is a Linux distribution sponsored primarily by Red Hat. Fedora is the upstream source of the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution. The distribution relies on Free and Open Source software. This distribution is also very memory efficient and stable.

It comes default with the GNOME desktop environment & the following editions:

  • Fedora Workstation
  • Fedora Server
  • Fedora IoT

The spins of fedora also come under the following desktop environments – KDE, XFCE, LXQT, Mate-Compiz, Cinnamon, LXDE, SOAS, and i3 Tiling Window Manager.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 2GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 20GB Space required.

Download Fedora

8. Elementary OS

Elementary OS 6

Elementary OS is also based on Ubuntu and is a best-looking Linux distribution, it uses Pantheon as a desktop environment. This Linux distro is the perfect blend of best looks and a faster desktop experience. If you are coming from the Windows or macOS operating systems then transition to elementary os will be very simple.

With the release of Elementary OS 6, the developers have done a tremendous job in polishing the user interface & adjustments to the app center.

Elementary OS is the next best distribution in Linux

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 4GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 15GB Space required.

Download Elementary OS

9. Arch Linux

Arch KDE Desktop - Ittwist

Arch Linux, a lightweight and flexible Linux distribution that relies on rolling release. The ideology of the Arch focuses on simplicity, minimal setup. Arch is a robust Linux distro for developers.

The installation process is hectic and not at all user friendly as you need to install it via the command line. If you are a beginner, then you should choose Manjaro over Arch Linux.

Arch Linux comes with a package manager of Pacman. Arch relies on the latest package & kernel, so the chances of breaking things are more. Once you have accumulated enough experience using Linux, then Arch Linux is worth trying.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 1GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 20GB Space required.

Download Arch Linux

10. Kali Linux

Kali Linux

Kali Linux is an open-source, Debian-based Linux distribution geared towards various information security tasks, such as Penetration Testing, Security Research, Computer Forensics, and Reverse Engineering. Kali Linux has pre installed penetration testing tools like Wireshark, Hydra, Responder, etc. that help the professionals.

It comes with GNOME, KDE & XFCE desktop environments.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 1GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 20GB Space required.

Download Kali Linux

11. Zorin OS

Zorin OS 16
Zorin OS is a lightweight Linux distro based on Ubuntu. Zorin is an alternative to windows in Linux. It comes with Pro, Core (based on GNOME desktop environment), and Lite versions (based on XFCE desktop environment). You can revive your older computer by using Zorin Lite.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 1 GHz Dual-Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 2GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 15GB Space required, 30GB Recommended.

Download Zorin

12. Garuda Linux

Garuda Linux

Garuda is a great distribution of Linux which is also based on Arch Linux. It’s a great distribution that promotes ease to use and a rolling release. It comes with the following desktop environments and windows manager – KDE, Xfce, GNOME, LXQt-kwin, Wayfire, Qtile, BSPWM, i3wm, and Sway.

Garuda comes with a faster, more responsive Linux kernel optimized for desktop, multimedia, and gaming.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 64-bit PC (Intel or AMD) required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 4GB required, 8GB Recommended.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 30GB Space required, 40GB Recommended.

Download Garuda Linux

 

13. EndeavourOS

Endeavour OS

Endeavour OS is one of the Arch based best Linux distros, that also relies on rolling release. This distro is the lightest distro & blazing fast with the latest releases.

The installation comes with two options – The offline option installs a fully themed Xfce and the online option provides you with the choice of seven Desktop Environments Xfce, Mate, LXQt, Cinnamon, Plasma, Gnome, Budgie, and tiling window managers i3-WM, BSPWM, and Sway.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 64-bit PC (Intel or AMD) required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 4GB Recommended.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 10GB Space required.

Download Endeavour OS

14. KDE Neon

KDE neon

KDE Neon is the Linux distribution that is built upon – Ubuntu Stable LTS along with the Latest packages of the KDE Plasma desktop environment. As it comes with the Ubuntu LTS hence it is extremely stable along with the fresh release of KDE Plasma.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of 64-bit PC (Intel or AMD) required.
  • RAM: Minimum of 2GB required.
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 10GB Space required.

Download KDE Neon

15. OpenSUSE

Open Suse - Xfce

Open Suse is a top Linux distro that embraces a free and open source model. It’s also one of the old Linux distributions released back in 2005. OpenSUSE is well known for providing rolling releases with LTS Support.

You can also choose Open source if you want stability in your Linux distro. This Linux distribution is also popular amongst software developers. The support of Open Suse for older hardware and drivers are remarkable.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum of Pentium* 4 1.6 GHz required
  • RAM: Minimum of 1 GB required, 2GB Recommended
  • Hard disk: Minimum of 10GB Space required, 40GB Recommended

Download Open Suse

 

16. Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is one of the best Linux distros for older computers. It’s blazing fast and stable. One of my friends has the older hardware of Pentium IV, the puppy Linux still runs blazing fast on his machine.

System requirements:

  • CPU: Minimum – Pentium 900 MHz.
  • RAM: Minimum – 300 MB RAM.
  • Hard Drive: Optional.

It’s too light that the whole Linux distribution can run directly on your RAM.

Download Puppy Linux

 

17. Rocky Linux – (CentOS)

Rocky Linux

Rocky Linux is a production-grade enterprise Linux distribution. This Linux distribution is downstream that is using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system source code.

It’s really reliable and secure Linux distro. I’ve seen CentOS being used by most schools, colleges, and universities.

The first release of Rocky Linux is rolled out on April 30, 2021 as a successor to CentoS.

System Requirements:

  • Minimum of 2 GB RAM required
  • Minimum of 20 GB hard disk required
  • Minimum of 2 CPU / vCPUs (1.1 GHz processor) required

Download Rocky Linux

 

18. Parrot OS

Parrot OS

Parrot OS is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian. It is designed to keep security and privacy in mind. Similar to Kali Linux, It includes a full set of tools, frameworks & libraries for cyber security operations, from pen-testing to digital forensics and reverse engineering.

It is also highly lightweight. Apart from security & privacy, it is quite popular amongst developers & data engineers to keep their data secure.

System Requirements:

  • Minimum of 320 MB RAM required
  • Minimum of 1GHZ dual-core CPU required
  • Minimum of  5.0GB HDD required

Download Parrot OS

 

19. Nitrux OS

Nitrux OS

Nitrux OS is a Linux distribution based on Debian. It is indeed a very fast and secure Linux distribution. The user interface of this Linux distribution is powered by MAUI Kit.

Nitrux OS uses KDE as the default desktop environment.

System Requirements:

  • Minimum of 2.5 GHz Dual-Core 64-bit CPU required.
  • Minimum of 2GB RAM required.
  • Minimum of  5.0GB HDD required.

Download Nitrux OS

 

20. KaOS

KaOS

KaOS is an independent Linux distribution that uses KDE as the default desktop environment. KaOS is based on a rolling release model and modern user interface.

KaOS Linux is elegant distribution. If you love KDE, then you should definitely try KaOS.

System Requirements:

  • Minimum of 8 Gb HDD, 25 Gb is recommended.
  • Minimum of 1 Gb of RAM available, recommended 2 Gb of RAM.
  • 64 bit capable CPU is needed.

Download KaOS

21. SparkyLinux

Sparky Linux

SparkyLinux is a Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux operating system. Sparky is a fast, lightweight, and fully customizable OS.

This Linux distro is based on a stable or semi-rolling release model. You can choose your favorite desktop environment. It also comes with various editions – GameOver & CLI edition

The Linux distribution is also quite popular amongst gamers. It’s also advisable to install this Linux distribution if you have little exposure to linux.

System Requirements:

SparkyLinux is designed for old and new machines as well (32 and 64 bit).

Minimum is:
– CPU i486 / amd64
– 256MB RAM – LXDE, e17, Openbox, GameOver
– 384MB RAM – MATE, Razor-Qt
– 128MB RAM – CLI Edition
– 5GB of hard drive or flash USB stick for installation – 10GB recommended
– 20GB of hard drive or flash USB stick for installation – 30GB recommended (GameOver)
– 2GB of hard drive or flash USB stick for installation (CLI edition)

Download Sparky Linux

 

22. Bodhi Linux

Bodhi Linux

Bodhi Linux, one of the best Linux distros which is lightweight, featuring the fast & fully customizable Moksha Desktop. The distro is well known for minimalism, resource efficiency, and user choice.

The community support of this distro is also awesome as it is based on Ubuntu LTS.

The Bodhi Linux is a non-bloated distro, which only comes up with the essential applications, so you will not find unnecessary applications.

The installation process of the distro is also quite intuitive.

System Requirements:

  • Minimum of 32bit – 500MHz (Non-PAE) processor required, 64bit – 1.0GHz processor is recommended.
  • A minimum of 512MB of RAM is required, 768MB of RAM is recommended
  • Minimum of 5GB of drive space required, 10GB of drive space is recommended

Download Bodhi Linux

 

23. Solus

Solus

Solus is an independent Linux distro that is best suited for home use. The Solus is also quite popular amongst software professionals, gamers & content creators.

Solus is currently available in four desktop environments: Budgie, GNOME, MATE, and KDE Plasma.

System requirements:

  • A blank DVD or a 2GB+ USB drive.
  • Minimum of 10GB of disk space available.
  • 4GB of RAM for an optimal experience.
  • A 64-bit (x86_64) processor.

Download Solus

 

24. WindowsFX

WindowsFX

WindowsFX is a Linux distro based on Ubuntu. It has all the same features as Ubuntu but it looks like Windows 11. It includes a management system called Sentinela, which is a computer vision software with video analytics and software for access control (facial recognition and automatic number plate recognition), object detection, gender, age, and mood detection.

System requirements:

  • Minimum of 20GB of disk space required, recommended is 64GB.
  • Minimum of 2GB RAM, 4GB for an optimal experience.
  • Minimum of Dual-core CPU, Recommended is Quad Core.

Download Windows FX

 

 

These all are the best Linux distros that you must try in 2021. If you have any queries, suggestions, or any other Linux distros in your mind please feel free to write in the comment section below.


1 Comments
Harsh Sharma

Thanks for this amazing info about best linux distros.

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