Today in this article I will organize this List based on my familiarity with the different distributions. If your distro is not on the list, let me know in the comments below.
I’ll be ranking the distros from “Great,” “Good,” “Average,” “Bad,” and “Do Not Recommend.” I’ve also added a “Lightweight” category because certain distros excel in that area.
Let’s kick things off with Debian, which I place in the “Great” category. Debian is stable and functional for both desktop and server use. It’s a reliable choice, and even though it might have slightly older packages, the emphasis on stability makes it a top recommendation.
Next up is Ubuntu, which has moved from being a top-ranking distro for me to the “Average” category. While Ubuntu played a significant role in popularizing Linux, recent practices, such as adding Amazon to the start bar and forcing Snap packages, have led to a decline in its ranking.
Moving on to Pop OS, I’d place it between “Good” and “Average.” Pop OS has a user-friendly interface, innovative features like tiling, and is suitable for new users. However, it currently lags in updates due to its LTS support, but it has the potential to rise to “Great” with future updates.
Now, let’s discuss Manjaro, which I categorize as “Bad.” Despite its functional aspects, concerns about shady practices, certificate errors, financial issues, and the inclusion of beta programs in the app store make it less desirable.
Zorin OS falls between “Average” and “Bad” due to outdated software, specifically being stuck on Ubuntu 20.04. While it’s user-friendly for Windows switchers, the outdated packages are a significant drawback.
Elementary OS is in the “Average” category. Although I appreciate its styling and ideals, the insistence on their package format limits flexibility. It’s a good choice for its look and feel, but the use of an older version of Linux is a downside.
Moving on to Kali Linux, it’s in the “Do Not Recommend” category. While suitable for security researchers and pen testers, it’s not designed for average users due to its default root user setup and potential security risks.
Puppy Linux earns a recommendation, particularly for older computers. Its lightweight nature and inclusion of essential tools make it an excellent choice for reviving older hardware.
PC Linux OS and Alpine Linux, while functional, are placed in the “Bad” category. PC Linux OS is less known, and Alpine Linux, while lightweight, requires building everything from scratch, making it unsuitable for new users.
Kubuntu, a KDE variant of Ubuntu, is not recommended due to the same issues with Ubuntu, including the use of Snap and the Chronicle back end.
Solus falls into the “Do Not Recommend” category due to its outdated status and apparent lack of updates, potentially signaling abandonment.
Arch Linux is unique, earning a spot in both “Good” and “Do Not Recommend.” While it’s excellent for learning and offers a solid experience, its complexity and potential pitfalls make it a challenge for new users.
Fedora takes a spot in the “Great” category, offering stability, up-to-date software, and reliability. It’s suitable for both desktop and production use.
Nabora, a derivative of Fedora, falls into the “Average” category. Tuned for gaming by the developer of Proton GE, it offers a gaming-focused experience.