Understanding Linux Distributions: Your Guide to the Open-Source OS

A Linux distribution, often shortened to distro, is a collection of software designed to give users access to open-source Linux on your computer in a user-friendly way. It essentially acts as a complete operating system, much like Windows or macOS, built around the Linux kernel.

Here’s a breakdown of the key components of Linux distros –

  • Linux Kernel: Linux Kernel is the core building block that acts as the interpreter that translates instructions between your computer’s hardware (processor, memory, etc.) and the software applications you use. It manages essential tasks like memory allocation and device communication.
  • Desktop Environment (DE): It is the graphical user interface (GUI) that you interact with. It provides the familiar windows, icons, menus, and desktop elements you’re used to on other operating systems such as Windows or macOS. Popular DE options in Linux distros include GNOME, KDE Plasma, and Cinnamon.
  • Pre-installed Software: Most distros come with a selection of essential applications, such as LibreOffice, browsers, etc., pre-installed, allowing you to get started with common tasks like web browsing, document editing, or even playing games right away. This eliminates the need to find and install individual programs yourself.
  • Package Management System: It is a powerful tool that simplifies software installation, updates, and removal on Linux. It acts like an app store specifically designed for your distro, offering a vast library of additional software you can easily add to your system.

The beauty of Linux distros lies in their sheer variety. There are hundreds of options available, each catering to specific needs and preferences. Some prioritize a user-friendly experience for beginners, while others cater to power users or specialize in particular tasks like web development or scientific computing.

Why Choose Linux?

While Windows and macOS are familiar options, Linux offers some unique advantages, especially for beginners –

  • Free and Open-Source: Unlike commercially licensed operating systems such as Windows, Linux is completely free to use and modify. Plus, the open-source nature allows for continuous development and customization by a passionate global community.
  • Security: Linux is known for its robust security features. The open-source nature allows for constant scrutiny and improvement by the community, making it a secure choice for your computer. Besides, Canonical even offers Ubuntu Pro for free to all Ubuntu users.
  • Lightweight: Some Linux distros are lightweight and require fewer resources to run compared to Windows or other operating systems. This can be beneficial for older computers or those with less powerful hardware.
  • Vibrant Community: The Linux community is known for being welcoming and supportive. If you encounter any problems, there are countless online forums and resources available to help you troubleshoot and get the most out of your Linux experience.

List of the Best Linux Distros

To make things easier for our readers, we listed Linux distros based on different use cases.

You can find the list below –

How to Choose the Right Distro for You?

With a vast array of Linux distros available, selecting the perfect one can feel overwhelming. We understand that and that’s why we have compiled lists of distros based on their use cases that you can find in the above section.

That said, while choosing a distro for you, you can consider the following criteria –

Consider Your Needs

  • Beginner-friendly: If you’re new to Linux, prioritize distros known for ease of use and intuitive interfaces (e.g., Ubuntu, Mint, Pop!_OS).
  • Hardware Compatibility: Ensure the distro you choose is compatible with your computer’s hardware, especially if you have an older machine. Some lightweight distros (e.g., Lubuntu, Xubuntu) require fewer resources.
  • Specific Tasks: Many distros cater to specialized tasks and are optimized for them, such as gaming, web development, or scientific computing. Consider this when choosing the right Linux distro for you.
  • Desired Features: Think about the software and desktop environment (DE) you prefer. Some distros offer a wider variety of pre-installed applications or customizable DE options.

Explore and Experiment

Many distros offer live boot options that allow you to try them out before installation. This is a great way to experience different DEs and see which distro feels most comfortable for you.

Leverage the Community

The Linux community is a valuable resource! Online forums and communities can answer your questions and offer recommendations based on your specific needs, helping you learn even complex Linux distros.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect Linux distro for a smooth and enjoyable computing experience.

Below, we have covered all the popular Linux distributions along with detailed guides related to those, allowing you to easily get a good grasp on them.


Ubuntu is amongst the most popular Linux distributions, built around the Linux kernel. It is best suited for beginners who are shifting from Windows or macOS and want a smooth transition. You can read our detailed Ubuntu review to learn more about this Linux distro.

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Authored by Mark Hoffman
Mark is a troubleshooting expert who has helped countless people fix errors and get their computers working again. At Eeebuntu, he mainly covers troubleshooting guides, listicles, and product reviews.