Technology changes every day – it’s a dynamic and surprising field. Every year, new innovations, new versions and new advancements take the place of the old, making for better experiences. Today, we’re going to discuss about Linux Distros. More specifically, the most polished versions of Linux Distros that are available to us this year – 2019. However, before we do that, a refresher course seems necessary. If you’re new to the subject, don’t worry. We’re going to answer some fundamental questions! What is a Linux Distro? What are the types of Linux Distros? Finally, we’re going to talk about the best Linux Distros of 2019. So, let’s start with the first question:
What is a Linux Distro?
A Linux Distro (full form distribution) is an Operating System, which is made from a software collection based on the Linux Kernel. Those who use Linux usually obtain this Operating System (OS) by downloading a Linux Distro, which is easily available for a wide range of systems like personal computers, embedded devices and even powerful supercomputers. This is a Linux package management system.
This operating system is in direct contrast to Windows or Mac OS. When it comes to Windows, Microsoft compiles all the parts of the OS and releases and distributes it as a single package. To buy Windows, you’ll need to select one of the packages that Microsoft offers. Linux doesn’t work the same way because of a fundamental difference: the Linux Operating System isn’t created by one, single organisation. Different people and organisations work on different elements, like the Linux Kernel (the core component of the OS), the X server (which creates the graphical desktop), the GNU shell utilities, the desktop environment (which utilises the X server in order to provide a graphical desktop) etc. All these open-source components are produced independently of each other and are distributed in source code form.
Now you could take the source code from all these independent programs and compile them yourself. However, this is a time-consuming process, not to mention the kind of effort you’ll need to put in to make sure all these different programs work together. The Linux Distro does all of that hard work, compiling it together and offering it as a single Operating System that you can then install on your system. The packages are simple, fast and easy to install. Which brings us to our next question: what are the types of Linux Distros?
Types of Linux Distros
There are broad classifications of Linux Distros, that we’ve put down here. Most of them are centred around what these Distros are designed for:
- For home users, enterprise users or power users
- Distros that are supported on different hardware types, those that are platform-specific, or certified by a platform vendor
- For desktops, embedded devices or servers
- For the highly specialised or general purpose for particular machine functions (for e.g. firewalls, computer clusters or network routers)
- Created for comprehensiveness, usability, security or portability
So, it’s clear that there are a lot of different Linux distributions. Some like Fedora, refuse on principle, to include closed source software. Others, like Mint, allow closed sourced software to make it easier for users. Many include different default software, for e.g. Ubuntu includes Unity, Fedora uses GNOME Shell and Mint uses Cinnamon.
The other differentiators of Distros are the use of different package managers and more.
The variety can be confusing, and you may be asking yourself – what Linux Distro should I use?
Well, as you’ve seen above different Linux Distros are designed for different purposes. The Linux Distro you choose will be based on what you choose to do and your own personal preferences. For a desktop user, a simple Distro like Ubuntu or Mint should suffice. Or you could choose Fedora or openSUSE.
If you’re looking for more stability, and a well-tested system, you could look at Debian, CentOS or Ubuntu LTS. The choice is entirely yours, and in 2019 there are some exciting ones to choose from:
- Ubuntu: One of the most popular Distros and one of the most widely used Distros, Ubuntu is a simple and productive option. Ubuntu 18.10 is full of new features that improve the user experience, such as GNOME 3.30, greater battery life for laptops, support for fingerprint scanning, Linux kernel 4.18 and faster installation and boot times. You can also explore the more recent Ubuntu 19.04, which was released on April 18th, 2019.
- Mint: Those looking to shift from a Windows or Mac OS platform, may want to look at Linux Mint. This Distro comes with the choice of four desktop environments (Cinnamon would be the closest to the Windows environment). Resource-wise, Mint is a good option as it is light, loads quickly and uses less memory than Ubuntu. It is also a stable option and is conservative when it comes to updates.
- Antergos: Antergos adheres to some pretty great principles – clean, simple, modern, versatile and practical. It is always fresh and never frozen, which means it’s on a rolling release cycle, so you don’t have to download and install new builds as and when they are available. This principle also extends to the applications, which means you don’t work with outdated software. Antergos is based on Arch Linux but comes without its complications. Another benefit of this Distro is that it is 100% functional from the box. Antergos is said to be the “prettier” of all Linux-based Distros and is a pretty good start for newcomers.
- Fedora: This is a flexible and innovative OS that offers three separate options, based on your needs. A workstation, cloud-centric version and server version are all available. Fedora primarily uses the GNOME interface but also allows other versions for different desktop environments. It also has frequent version updates, which are sometimes just weeks and months apart. This is to your advantage as it keeps you on the cutting edge of Linux development.
- Manjaro: This is a simple and user-friendly OS based on Arch Linux. Manjaro has an intuitive installation process, automatic hardware detection, conducts stable updates with every release and more. It comes with a variety of flavours like GNOME 3.26, KDE 5.11, Mate 1.18, Cinnamon 3.6. Budgie 10.4 and Xfce 4.12. Manjaro is also backed by a large software repository and a community that will extend its assistance to both newcomers and advanced users, alike.
There are a variety of other Distros you can look at, such as openSUSE, CentOS, Gentoo (for experienced users), Arch Linux (for gamers), POP Linux, Debian, Solus and Zorin.
Each of these options provide excellent features. At ResellerClub, we also believe that you need to be spoilt for choice, which is why we offer, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian and CentOs in our Linux VPS server specs. You can look at our VPS Hosting Packages, which are secure, stable, pack power and performance and provide you with great infrastructure, here. All you need to do is look at the packages and the variety of distros and make the choice that works best for you!