We have compiled the top Linux distros to make it easy for everyone, beginners and advanced, to find what they need.
Linux distros are available in many sizes and shapes. Literally. These range from tiny ones that weigh just over 100MB and can be carried around in USB disks to huge 4GB monsters that are best installed on portable SSDs.
What is a Linux Distro?
A Linux distro or distribution, to use its full title is an operating system that uses the Linux kernel. A Linux operating system is not like Windows or Mac OS. It uses many open-source components that are produced and managed by different organizations.
Although you can obtain all these programs and put them together yourself, it is time-consuming and difficult to do so. This is where distros come into play. They take care of all the details, including choosing open-source software and presenting it in an easy-to-use format.
There are many distros available that can be customized to meet specific needs.
How do I migrate from Windows to Linux? You can make the migration easier with a distro. Did the Windows update cause a problem with your boot loader? It’s easy to fix with a distro. Do you want to revive an old computer? You need to connect disks to a NAS. You want to set up a firewall that will protect your entire network. Do you want to set up a home office?
Whatever your requirements, there is a distro available from the open-source community.
This guide will show you the top Linux distros in 2022. We look at the top distros that are best suited for different use cases. This includes ease of use, disk space, compatibility with the most popular Linux distros, as well as many other factors.
Top 10 Linux Distros for 2022
Nitrux is the best place to start your Linux journey if you’re just starting out. This distro builds upon some of the most reliable and respected open source projects to make it more user-friendly.
Nitrux, for instance, uses KDE Plasma’s famed flexibility and some redesigned components to make it easier to create a customized desktop environment. To make the most of the screen space available, it offers two layouts.
Nitrux even made some administrative apps easier for novice users to perform tasks like backup and firewall. You will find a variety of apps to help you with all types of desktop tasks.
AppImages is supported and encouraged by the distro. This makes it easy to install additional applications. Nitrux intends to eventually switch all of its graphical apps over to AppImages. AppImages are launched within a firejail-sandbox environment, making Nitrux safer than a typical desktop Linux.
You can interact with the distro’s active community on all of the most popular social networks. The lack of a dedicated documentation section is however a problem. Nitrux can only be used on 64-bit computers, but it will also work with older EFI machines that have the Legacy BIOS.
- Easy customizations
- Use of AppImages
- Documentation via blogs
Also read: 10 Best Linux Firewall Solutions
2. Zorin OS
In 2008, the Zorin OS project was created with one goal: to make Linux more user-friendly. The developers of the project wanted Linux to be accessible to all users. They did this by making it familiar through the user interface.
This distro is designed for first-time Linux users who are familiar with the Windows and macOS operating systems. It achieves this thanks to the Zorin Appearance app, which tweaks Zorin’s Gnome desktop environment so that it looks and functions like Windows.
Zorin can be downloaded in many different versions. These three editions, Core, Education, and Lite, are available as free downloads. Zorin is built on Ubuntu. The Core edition includes all of the apps that you would need for a regular desktop.
If your computer is an older model, The Lite edition is for machines with lower power. The Education edition, which is named after learning, comes with all the most popular open-source educational apps and utilities.
These three versions are not the only ones available. The Ultimate edition is also available. This item is currently on sale for $39.This edition includes support and a few additional features such as the ability to use interfaces that mimic macOS. It also contains a plethora of apps and games.
- Layout switcher
- Usable out-of-the-box
- Older computers won’t be able to run the Lite version.
Pop!_OS was developed and maintained in part by the System76 hardware vendor. It is available for free as a download and shipped on its own hardware. It has many interesting features that make it a great option for gamers.
This distro uses Ubuntu LTS and has its own user interface, Pop Shell.
Pop!_OS is one of many Linux gaming distros. However, it’s unique in that it comes with all the plumbing needed for gamers. Its developers make sure that hybrid graphics run flawlessly on the platform.
The distro will allow you to launch games from your hybrid graphics card via the context menu. You can also toggle between high-powered and battery-saving graphics.
Pop!_OS comes in a few editions. Pop!_OS comes in a few editions, including the standard edition. It also includes a special edition for Nvidia users and the driver.
Pop!_OS encrypts your entire installation by default. It ships with very few apps. However, you can add more apps to your installation via its intuitive app store, Pop!_Shop. This includes regular desktop apps like Steam, Lutris, and GameHub.
- Hybrid graphics
- Special image for Nvidia users
- Keyboard navigation
Kodachi was created for those who are concerned about privacy and need a secure, anonymous, anti-forensic, and anonymous distro. The latest version of the distro is based upon Ubuntu and uses a custom Xfce desktop.
Kodachi comes with many privacy-enhancing and security-enhancing apps, as well as regular apps that will allow you to use it daily. The custom desktop was designed to be intuitive and not overwhelming for first-time users.
The distro routes all connections to the Internet through a VPN before sending them to the Tor network. This is to ensure privacy. You can modify its settings to connect via your VPN service if you have the knowledge.
AppArmor is used by Kodachi to protect your privacy and isolate apps. VeraCrypt and zuluCrypt are some of the privacy-protection tools included in AppArmor. Additionally, it includes the Metadata Anonymization Toolkit for removing metadata information.
The distro’s anti-forensics capabilities include a variety of tools, including one that will wipe out your RAM. You can also create a password in the distro. This will securely erase all contents of encrypted Kodachi installations when it is entered.
- It can be used daily as a driver
- Connects via VPN
- Panic Room selection of tool
No matter if you’re using a Linux machine or a Windows one, if you run into an error, There are chances that Rescatux can help you get out of sticky situations.
Rescatux provides all the necessary tools and information to resolve any issues that arise when installing Windows or Linux non-booting. It uses the lightweight LXDE desktop, which is easy to use even on low-powered computers.
The distro’s custom helper app, Rescapp, automatically launches when it boots up. It is easy to use and allows users to fix errors even if they are not experienced.
Rescapp has many buttons. They are broken down into different categories like Boot, Grub, and Filesystem. These buttons can be used to repair common tasks like restoring bootloaders or repairing filesystems.
Each category has buttons that have descriptive labels to identify its function. Clicking them will bring up relevant documentation that will explain exactly what the distro will do to fix the problem.
To save time, advanced users can bypass Rescapp to launch rescue tools directly from their command-line interface. Rescatux also has many instructional videos and guides that can be used to assist inexperienced users.
- Custom Rescapp utility
- Designed for inexperienced users
- Lots documentation
- Some tools might be overlooked by less experienced users
6. Parrot Security
Parrot Security can perform a great penetration testing and vulnerability assessment. It is much more versatile than its peer Kali Linux.
You can boot Parrot using a USB drive, You can create a persistent partition to save changes. The developers have made it possible to encrypt this persistent part for maximum security.
A large number of tools are stored in the distro. They are organized into a categorized menu. These are used to store the tools according to their purposes, such as Information Gathering and Vulnerability Analysis. Password Attacks, Digital Forensics, and many more.
Parrot also wants to be useful for ordinary computer users who need a safe and privacy-focused distro, such as hackers and journalists. Parrot also offers a Home edition that can be used every day by anyone concerned about privacy and anonymity online.
- Chock-full of tools
- Categorized Menus
- Encrypted Persistence
Open Media Vault (OMV), is a Debian-based distro. It’s intended to turn an old computer, or even a Raspberry Pi, into a network-attached storage solution (NAS).
It is simple to install the distro and it can be managed easily through its intuitive, browser-based administration interface. OMV can be used to attach multiple disks to different levels of software RAID, or you can simply use them as storage silos that can be accessed over the network using all the most popular protocols like SSH, SMB/CIFSFS, FTP and Rsync.
You can also extend the functionality of your OMV NAS server’s storage by installing and enabling plugins. You can use your NAS as a torrent client to get data into the NAS storage or to stream music stored on the network.
- Intuitive to administer
- Useful set plugins
- Lots documentation
- Lacks enterprise-NAS features
Although you can use almost all Linux distros via a USB drive and carry them around, Porteus was specifically designed for this purpose.
There are several editions of the distro, each with its own desktop environment. Most weigh in at around 300 MB. These distros can be used with removable media like SD cards and USB drives. The distro is quick to boot and automatically enables persistent storage.
Porteus offers many interesting options in its boot menu. You can copy the entire environment to RAM using it, for example. This requires more than 768 MB of system memory to boot Porteus in text mode, initialize a PXE server, or access the PLoP boot manager.
Unfortunately, the project isn’t updated regularly. It was the last stable released in 2018 but it is still fully usable and developers are working on the next major release.
- Fast bootup
- Multiple desktops
- Persistent sessions
- Irregular Releases
- Intuitive Installation Process
Arch Linux is one of the most flexible distros, as it follows a rolling release system. It has one of the most complicated and difficult installation processes. Manjaro provides all the goodness and functionality of Arch in a distro that is easy to install. It can also be used right out of the box.
There are many different versions of the distro, both official and community-supported. Each version has different desktop environments. Each version comes with the standard desktop apps, as well as several custom apps that can be used to simplify administrative tasks.
The distro includes extensive documentation and a large and active user community. A handy tool called Hello is also available. It contains useful tips and hints as well as web links that will help you get started with the distro.
- Available in a variety of editions
- Customized Installer
- Ready for use
- A few unusual shortcuts
10. Puppy Linux
Puppylinux is a favorite distro for resurrecting older machines and putting them back on active duty. In fact, the project is a collection of different distros that are each based on a different underlying distro. One distro is based on Ubuntu, while another one uses Slackware.
Puppy is small but powerful. There’s an app to do almost every task you can do on a desktop, and it’s free!
FossaPup is compatible with Ubuntu’s repositories. This allows you to add a wider range of apps from the huge collection.
It isn’t a surprise though that Puppy skips over mainstream apps in favor of lightweight options. Its use of Joe’s window management and its fox-filer manager, which gives it its unique appearance, are the most memorable.
- Multiple installation methods
- Wide selection of apps
- Binary compatibility