The world of operating systems has been practically dominated by Microsoft Windows for several consecutive decades now, although Apple software is also out there on associated pieces of technology. Some growth and innovation in the netbook and laptop markets also see new players like Chrome operating systems from Google, but for the most part, Apple and Microsoft rule the scene.
Despite all this, Linux has hung around, catering to a select base of users. Some individuals prefer it at an enthusiast level as either a complement or even a replacement for corporate software, and some companies like using it because the very nature of Linux distributions means they can be had freely.
Whatever your reason for being curious, you might be in a position where you are wondering what the best Linux distributions are at the point in time you are in. It’s not a question quickly answered, as one single distribution rarely proves best for all uses and cases. In fact, what you intend to use a Linux distribution for will often determine just which one is going to prove the most optimal choice for you.
The first thing you should establish is your minimum system specifications on the computer or device you intend to run a Linux distribution on. Most of the time, such distributions will need fewer resources than another operating system, which is something many Linux users love, so you’re probably safe. Still, you don’t want to get a distribution you can’t run. In fact, you should verify you can run it well.
Secondly, consider if you are going to have it share a machine or have a computer all to itself as a secondary computer. Some Linux distributions coexist with other operating systems better than others.
Third, ask yourself what your intentions are? If you’re looking for an alternative operating system because you’re tired of the instability and cumbersome controls often associated with Microsoft Windows, then looking for a stable beginner system should be your goal for the best fit. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to support a gaming rig, you want something that uses far fewer resources than Windows, so your games have more dedicated power, yet, you also want options for specific controls over components and possibly even overclocking for your CPU and graphics card.
One final decision you should make is whether you want to buy a retail package or download the freeware kernel of a particular distribution. A retail package might be more convenient and easy to install and use, and might even come with some support. Then again, you are paying for something that could be free for you.
It’s not a bad idea to ask around or look online. PC sites are always updating their lists of the best Linux distributions available to reflect the current state of affairs, and any Linux enthusiasts you know are probably going to be more than happy to discuss things with you since they can show off their knowledge and expertise.