What is your favorite Linux distribution?

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How to upgrade your Fedora Linux system with DNF

Opensource.com

Of all the many questions you might ask an open source enthusiast, none may evoke quite the passionate response as asking which distribution they prefer.

People choose a distribution for many reasons, from look and feel to stability, from speed to how it runs on older machines, from the pace of updates to simply which offers the packages they need. Whatever the reason, with so many distributions available, asking which one you use can be seen as a proxy for asking how you choose to interact with your computer.

And even if you've been a die-hard fan of a particular distribution, it doesn't mean your preferences can't change over time. Trying out new distros can bring new perspectives and experiences, and makes it easier for you to make informed recommendations as you help friends, family, and colleagues make the switch to Linux.

So as we do every year, we'd like to take this opportunity to ask you what your favorite Linux distribution is, and why? In order to keep it to a manageable number of choices in our poll, we've limited it to the top ten distributions according to DistroWatch over the past 12 months. The list is far from scientific—it biases towards users of desktop distributions sitting behind unique IP addresses who take the time to visit and be counted—but it's a starting point.

If your favorite distribution isn't on this list, let us know what it is in the comments. And regardless of what distribution you've chosen as your favorite, the important thing is to let us know why you love it. So head on down to the comments and sing the praises of your favorite distros, and remember, keep it civil.

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8940 votes tallied
Arch
12% (1050 votes)
CentOS
4% (387 votes)
Debian
11% (997 votes)
elementary OS
3% (257 votes)
Fedora
11% (961 votes)
Manjaro
7% (586 votes)
Mint
16% (1408 votes)
openSUSE
4% (354 votes)
Ubuntu
22% (1960 votes)
Zorin
1% (73 votes)
Other (let us know in the comments)
10% (907 votes)

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224 Comments

Kubuntu for sure.

yeah kubuntu here too

Kubuntu, since its first release in 2006. Best of Distros (Debian) & desktop (KDE).

Kubuntu

Kubuntu also for me

I've been using Kubuntu for years. Started using KDE with Mandrake.

If you like Kubuntu than you will absolutely love Manjaro KDE. Not only is It perhaps the best Linux Distro, next to Korora that I've ever used but unlike Kunubutu it's pratically bullet proof. I don't know about you guys but I've had nothing but issues with Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xbuntu, pretty much every, including Mint, Ubuntu based distro availble today and I've tried them all. Their quality control just isn't all that good. Arch on the other hand is not only extremely fast but stable, like you can't crash it stable. This includes almost all Arch distro's. Sure, most of them require knowledge of the system your actually using however a Distro like Manjaro changed that. It is a complete system containing everything you could possibly ever want in a Linux system. You are also able to install .deb files with ease, it's how I install applications like Chrome version 56, the just complete and utter friggen awesome email client Wmail and also jsut as amazing photo manager, Pix.

Other favorites include CentOS, OpenSuse and TrueOS (Free-BSD).

I recently bought 20 Asus Tinker boards in which I made into a cluster running Arch Linux, with each board containing a Rockchip 3288 (same chip used in the Asus Flip and 2GB of RAM), I can render a 10 minute 3D, 1080P Blender animation almost 8x faster than a fully equipped Mac Pro costing more than 10 grand. Price for this render miracle, under a grand.

Same here, so much issues on Ubuntu-based distro's unfortunately.

Wait, you call Arch stable? A rolling distro, that can break at any update? A distro that goes from development straight to users? It's true, that Ubuntu is a bit rubbish and pacman is just plain old amazing, but i wouldn't call Arch "stable".

Why is Ubuntu so popular, it's not a good distro, in fact I absolutely detest it as well as any other distro based on it, especially Elementary, ugh, just so buggy. If you want to use KDE, than use Manjaro KDE, it's not only a fantastic distro but it's bullet proof. I have never, ever had a Ubuntu install that didn't have issues, nor one that didn't give me an error message on the very first day regardless of computer it was installed on. The quality control for Ubuntu simply sucks, stay away from it, far away.

I think the issue here is that people just don't know any better, they think Ubuntu is the best because it has the most installs, well, it's not, far from it. That and I could never use a distro that doesn't do rolling releases, having to completely re-install or do a full upgrade twice a year, in which never, ever works the way you want it to, just, well, sucks

Don't be afraid to use Arch Linux, especially Manjaro, it's extremely easy to install, all of you favorite applications are still available, it's faster than Ubuntu, yep, faster, a whole lot more stable, has a better package management, better community repositories, just about everything is better with Manjaro.

Just please, try it, you will love it at first bootup, I'm not the only one either, everyone, including the reviewers who have tried it, never went back to their old distro. Manjaro also has every popular Desktop Environment available, including the new ones like Bungie and Deepin, I personally use Gnome, KDE and i3, depending on what I'm doing. KDE though is something special as very few distro creators go that extra mile to make sure everything, including the theme runs and looks incredible. Even KDE Neon, which is the defacto distro for KDE, another distro by the way you should have been running wwaayy before Ubuntu, that is if you trully like KDE, can't hold a candle to Manjaro's KDE. The fit and finish is impeccable but please, don't take my word for it, just try it yourself with a live USB stick.

Ubuntu is not the best, not even 10th best as far as I'm concerned.

How do you install Debian applications on a Arch based distro?

Same here, since I started using Arch, I only do a fresh install for a new computer. Only rarely could I do a successful distro-upgrade with Ubuntu.
Also, compare the speed installing something with pacman vs apt.

Kubuntu also. Maybe KDE neon

Other..
Slackware

Slackware.

How people dare to make such a poll without Slackware, "...the oldest distribution that is still maintained." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slackware) ? Show some respect ;)

It's a wrong notation , The oldest is Red Hat and then Debian

I think you'll find that SLS ( 1992 ), Yggdrasil ( 1992 ), and Slackware ( 1993 ) existed well before RedHat, who didn't release stable until May 1995.
I personally had accounts on boxes using Slackware Linux in mid 1994 - OpenVMS was a bear at the time, and DEC VAX certainly wasn't an option for home use, as they were rather large / pretty expensive.

ding! ding! ding!

I don't think it is possible to answer the question as asked, because you didn't provide a use case. I use different distros based upon this task at hand.

For example, I use Linux Mint on the desktop, but I use either Debian or CentOS on servers (Debian for remote bare metal installs and CentOS for virtualized and local installs). For my new router I use OpenWRT (although I used to use Tomato by Shibby) and for my DVR I use OpenELEC.

The question is valid. What distro is your favorite? If you don't have the courage to answer that then that's on you, not on the question.

PCLinuxOs

PCLinuxOS here also give it a try should be on the voting list

PCLinuxOS is my favorite

It's not an issue of courage - did you fail to understand Tarus' comment? Perhaps read it again. Your comment is akin to suggesting that someone lacks courage because they see a flaw with trying to hammer a nail with a screwdriver.

Tarus Balog wrote:"I don't think it is possible to answer the question as asked, because you didn't provide a use case. I use different distros based upon this task at hand."

That's right! For Macbooks, many of us use Debian Linux. For RPi3s, most of us tend to use Raspbian(Debian). For VirtualBox VM-guests running under Windows, there are a whole bunch of distro options we typically run simultaneously, such as in addition to Debian in alpha order here.... Arch Linux, CentOS, Fedora, Mandriva, Mint openSUSE, RHEL, and Ubuntu.

I agree somewhat, I would like to know what type of user is making the choice such as admin, programmer, desktop, etc. Although I stick with a distro I am most familiar with which is a RedHat derivative and usually Fedora. My work title is Systems and Operations Administrator, means I'm in charge of the servers.

Soft Landing Systems was the first distribution I used seriously (1992-93). After they folded their tent, I switched to Slackware and have found no reason to move anywhere else. I can't afford to buy the latest hardware every other year and, so far, using recycled computers has not caused any significant issues as long as I maintain decent backups. I am not happy with some of the upgrade policies at SlackBuilds dot org, but can live with them for now. The one box that isn't Slack is my firewall to Roadrunner, which is running FreeBSD. At work, before I retired (Spring, 2013), we used Red Hat, then CentOS for both development and production servers. But I was never comfortable with their overly complex build system, even before Jenkins was added. Fortunately there were other developers that knew how to manage that side of the process, so I could just focus on the applications and test suites.

This fits in with the common desire to declare a "winner". About all the winner gets is claiming rights to being the winner.
Why not have a survey that just asks, "what are the problems you have with the distribution that you most use?" This might lead to more useful outcomes than pinning a badge on someone.

Not sure why anyone would vote you down. You made a solid point.

Although there are a lot of distros to choose from, I voted for Mint. I do use other Linux OS versions but for me, Mint has been great. Are there others out there; well yeah, but its about personal choice. The list was used from DistroWatch, which counts the downloads of each. People need to realize that yes there are others but according to DistroWatch these are the top 10. If you voted for one of the top 10, great. If the one you use isn't list in the top 10 per DistroWatch, then put it in the other and tell the rest of us what you use. I use Mint because of the DE. It is based on Ubuntu but I cant stand Unity. Can I change Ubuntu DE....yeah but I don't want to change what is default sometimes. It is all about personal taste.

I want to learn about other distros other than the top 10 that are based off of DistroWatch. That is one reason why I come here. There are many that use Arch or Slackware....the list goes on. Just because you voted or use the top 10 downloaded distros doesn't mean you don't want to hear from others about their experience in other distros. Give the survey a chance guys.....might learn something of why others choose to use certain distros.

I was a Mint user because I love Cinnamon, but I recently learned about a lot of sloppiness in their coding and did some research: Apparently Debian 8+ has Cinnamon available by default, and has one of the most stable userlands in existence. It's not as cutting-edge (no PPAs) but that improves stability and you can just install .deb files ala carte without trashing your repo stream. Mint is drawing from 2 different distros and creating its own code, it's what Debian users refer to as a "FrankenDebian". Oh, and it's got the most ignorant forum users I have ever seen. Read this article on Infoworld.com for more about it:

http://www.infoworld.com/article/3036600/linux/is-linux-mint-a-crude-hack-of-existing-debian-based-distributions.html

Other: http://slackware.com

Solus

If you like Bungie, than I would use Majaro's Bungie, Solus simply lacks way to many features and applications.

Ditto for me.

Peppermint OS7. It doesn't get the respect it deserves.

I'm a little surprised that "Other" isn't higher. It's right in the middle, though. My "Other" is MX Linux, a medium weight distro that's climbing up the Distrowatch chart. I like that it's well polished, easy to install and use, and has a forum where the developers are directly involved. I also appreciate being able to use the forum without feeling as if I'm shouting into a gale force wind. Replies are quick and focused. I feel as if I'm personally involved with MX's evolution, and I like that.

rjb

I agree that MX Linux is the best distro of any, for all of the same reasons! I am currently using the great MX-17!

It's not the only distro I use, but Ubuntu is my favorite:
-It takes very little time to set up.
-It requires very little tweaking before I can comfortably use it.
-It works with all my hardware right out of the box
-It is compatible with the widest variety of software I use (almost everything has a deb package).
-A large support community.
-Innovative design. I like the HUD. A lot. Unity works well for my usage demands.

In a nutshell, Ubuntu is just the easiest OS for someone like me who uses it in a small business environment. It's stability, design, and support works best for me.

Arch Linux: because of the documentation and the AUR. I'd also recommend an Arch derivative such as Antergos for those who don't fancy the admittedly daunting install process. Once it's up and running it's as easy as any other OS and usually more taylored to the person using it.

Couldn't agree more about Arch documentation - it's so thorough and clear, and even useful for other distros. For example, I prefer to use vanilla Debian, but if something breaks or I'm tinkering, I usually resort to Arch documentation.

CoreOS

I love Linux mint and black lab and I do a lot of distribution hopping,if Linux was compatible with iTunes I wouldn't have a windows computer at all

SOLUS OS

Gentoo still rocks my world more than any other distribution.

Agree with Gentoo. If you want to understand what's going on behind the desktop and/or want to extract the best out of old hardware Gentoo cannot be beaten

Gentoo! No systemd here.

Solus because it has the best out of the box experience. Also probably one of the fastest distros and the packaging tooling and process is really great. And because it tries to be not "just another distro" and doing things in different ways than it has been done before. But only on position 20 for the last 12 Months, but position 6 for the last month

ROSA Linux
https://www.rosalinux.ru/