Linux for beginners – My top 4 picks in 2019
Here are my top 4 picks for easy-to-use Linux distributions in 2019. All of the following are recommended with either the Cinnamon or XFCE desktop environment. Both desktops will be especially familiar to those switching from a Windows environment.
#1 – Debian
Debian is an ultra-stable and long-term supported Linux, famous for releasing a new version “when it’s ready”. They generally release a new version about every 2 to 3 years and as a result, the default installed packages quickly become outdated. However, this is not a show-stopper, as new package versions can easily be updated manually.
Debian 10 was just released on 6 July 2019 and is already running perfectly on my desktop. It is perfect if you are a beginner and just starting out in Linux. If you are looking for a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ production-ready PC, I highly recommend Debian.
#2 – Linux Mint
At time of writing, Linux Mint is currently at #3 on distrowatch.com, and was previously the #1 Linux distribution for a very long time. It is very easy to install and maintain, and is extremely stable. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, which itself is based on Debian.
My only issue with Linux Mint when I started using it in 2016 was it’s reluctance to apply security patches due to compatibility issues. I experienced this first-hand and it was the primary reason for my switch to Fedora at the time. Thankfully, they have moved on from those dark times and have struck a nice balance in their latest version. Linux Mint is highly recommended for beginners or for those switching from Windows.
#3 – Manjaro
Currently #2 on distrowatch.com, Manjaro is extremely user-friendly. Based on Arch Linux, Manjaro allows the mainstream user to experience the power and stability of Arch (a bare-bones system that is notoriously painful to install). Due to the solid base in Arch, Manjaro is very stable and flexible, allowing the user to reconfigure their environment to exacting personal taste.
Manjaro is configured perfectly for new Linux users, offering a nice balance between ease-of-use and stable, solid performance. The Arch document library is the best Linux library in existence. Whatever distribution I’m using, I always find myself referring to the Arch Wiki when I am stuck.
Manjaro is simply stunning and thoroughly deserves a try.
#4 – Fedora
Fedora is special. Fedora is incredibly easy to install and run, and it is kept up-to-date rather aggressively. The number of updates you receive in a six-month period (the time between each Fedora version) makes you dizzy. They have the latest everything but be warned, this can lead to frequent stability issues on older machines.
Why is it on this top 4 beginners list? Well, because that is where I learned most of what I know about Linux. Fedora is aimed at developers but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use it as a beginner. I highly recommend it if you like to jump into the deep-end!
Install a Linux distribution today if you are looking for freedom, privacy and transparency. I switched to Linux in 2016 from Windows 7 and have never looked back. For me, a Linux desktop environment is the future.
No Ubuntu? Hell no! I don't recommend Ubuntu to anyone, even though Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. Canonical, Ubuntu's commercial parent is up to something that doesn't sit well with quite a few in the community. An article on this will follow shortly.