Five Of The Best Beginner Linux Distro’s

Linux is considered by most to be a big scary place for new users to break into, but the truth is that’s Linux distributions provide a great community for many technology enthusiasts to come together and share their ideas and of course their desktops.

So if you’re sick of looking at that familiar blue Widows desktop and you’re looking to learn something new, or if you just want something that’s more secure than Windows/Mac, then take a look at some of the best beginner Linux distro’s below.


Ubuntu is very much the de-facto Linux distro that most new users flock to. This is because it’s arguably the most well known of the whole lot. But the crown of most well known distro isn’t unjustified as it’s a great operating system. I myself first dipped my foot into the Linux pond with Ubuntu.

FS Ubuntu Icons

The Unity interface makes Ubuntu different from what you will be use to with other OS’s like Windows and Mac, but it’s no more difficult to use. In fact, I would say it’s probably easier to use than other OS’s as you only need to hit the super key (windows button), type what you’re looking for and hit enter. There’s no hunting around start menu’s here. You can read more about Ubuntu here.

Elementary OS Luna

Elementary OS Luna (Luna for short) is a great operating system, it’s arguably the most highly polished Linux distribution out there. The whole point of Luna is to be easy to use, clean, and gorgeous…all which it’s accomplishes and then some. Luna is based on Ubuntu, so if you know Ubuntu, then you will be able to easily find your way around Luna.

Faience Moon for elementary OS Luna

Unlike Ubuntu, Luna doesn’t use the Unity interface and as you can see from the screenshot above, it’s very different from Ubuntu. The whole premise is simplicity. Luna is a fantastic free alternative for both Windows and Mac migrants. More information about Luna can be found here.

Zorin OS

Zorin OS is another great OS, but this one has it’s roots firmly in the Windows camp. With a traditional taskbar, start menu, and Windows looking theming throughout, no Windows user would feel alienated in Zorin.


Even though Zorin does have it roots in Windows, it is different enough to whet your appetite and bring a lot of new features to the party. Personally I think Zorin OS is a beautiful, well made distro that thoroughly earns it’s place in this list of the best beginner Linux distro’s. You can get more info about Zorin OS from their homepage.

Mint Cinnamon

Linux Mint is almost as popular as Ubuntu, and rightly so as Linux Mint is for all intents and purposes is Ubuntu’s little brother. Mint is a direct fork of Ubuntu but it has a lot of additional features added, including many codecs and pieces of software to help get you up and running right out of the box.

cinnamon mintyLinux Mint uses the Cinnamon desktop, which again won’t be unfamiliar to any of you Windows migrants out there. Once again though, it has familiarity, yet something completely different to offer it’s users so it probably won’t get boring for you. You can get more information about Linux Mint Cinnamon from here.


PinguyOS is the ultimate in beginners distro’s, the whole point of PinguyOS is to give it’s users a complete out of the experience that requires absolutely no applications to install and no changes to be made (but you can if you want to). It comes with a tonne of pre-installed apps for just about everything you can think of. So you can literally install the base OS and you’re away.

Pinguy 1304 Start MenuPinguyOS is a great beginners distro but because of the extra “weight” in terms of it’s bundles applications, I wouldn’t really recommend it for those of you that are running on older hardware. All in all PinguyOS will give you a really good, complete experience without having to lift a finger. Here is a link to more information about PinguyOS.


Nowadays you don’t have to be some kind of computing genius that spends their life in a command line interface to run Linux. You can get a beautiful, easy to use operating system that is completely different to anything else out there, very quickly and very easily. So what are you waiting for? If your’e thinking about giving Linux a try then I say jump right in! There’s a community of people waiting to help you if you get stuck.

If you decide to give Linux a try then please let us know in the comments section how you get on as we love hearing about new Linux users, and we would like to welcome you to the open source community. Good luck!

Five Of The Best Beginner Linux Distro’s
User Rating: 3.8 (19 votes)
  • calo001

    elementary Os, is the best beginner Linux Distro’s

  • w1ngnut

    Ubuntu is the best of all the selections.

  • jon_downfromthetrees

    Elementary has not been released yet. It isn’t reasonable to expect legitimate beginners to understand the downside of using betas.

    All 5 distros are Gnome derivatives, including Ubuntu.

    I’m not sure what the standards are for a “beginner’s distro”, and they aren’t listed here. Ease of use is often seen as needed for beginners, as if experienced users want to do things the hard way. The capabilities more experienced users might want to exploit are present in all full-fledged distributions, no matter what DE they use are what user subsets they target.

    • Jim

      Gnome is a desktop not a distro. So they are not gnome derivatives. If you want you can put gnome on the OS. But these are all good distros for new users

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  • re-mark-able1990

    I absolutely love the idea and look of Luna but also looking forward to playing with piguyOS also. I have already used Ubuntu with success. Great article that gave me the motivation to finally check out linux deeper.

  • Dennis Dufrene

    I consider myself a beginner Linux user and I have tried many on this list. However, the distro I settled on was Bodhi Linux. It is an Ubuntu derivitive with the e17 desktop. It is built for minimalism and choice. I have been using for about a month or so now…and I am not looking back!

    • teklife

      Bodhi really is quite good. The new charcoal theme makes it look very slick and polished and all the text is easy to read, but it needs building still. However their start page on the Midori browser, helps you get up to speed in every way. Very nicely done. My only minimal complaint is the file manager, but it does have some nice features and is as simple as it gets.

  • #reemdudey

    I do believe I snaffled my snoo foo on the usb of my virgin prozzy


  • #reemdudey

    as an elementary os this is awful so go microsotf

  • Vinny Fonseca

    Have you guys heard of Manjaro? I’m seriously considering it for my main system. Arch based.

    • Kev Quirk

      Yep, I know Manjaro. However, it’s got the tag of being a pretend version of Arch. I wouldn’t know though as I’m not an Arch user. However, I wouldn’t say that either of these distro’s for for begineers, certainly not Arch.

      I know a lot of people in the community who have used both Manjaro and Arch, and pretty much all of them have said that they prefer Arch as it’s more fun to build. Horses for courses though. I don’t think Manjaro can use the AUR can it?

      • Vinny Fonseca

        Maybe this “pretend version of Arch” tag is the old mentality of “it has an interface, it’s not real Linux anymore”? I find that revolting and it’s the reason why Linux hasn’t taken off as it should have.

        I’m using Windows for 18 years now, and developing on it for 9. I’m an interface developer. I need to know the code, my users don’t. I’m a Linux user, I don’t need to know Linux development, the devs do. That’s the meaning of Graphical User Interface, isn’t it?

        I worked with a guy that is an Arch user and he had fun building everything from scratch every single time. I don’t need or want to do that. See, most Mac users say that their system “simply works”, and it’s true, but their system is really closed. Windows users have high compatibility for all software but the system is appalling and everything needs heavy setup.

        Manjaro is the only distro that actually caught my attention and made me consider it for my main system. It’s ultra fast, low memory, beautiful and intuitive, and yes, it uses AUR through pacman (pamac) or through the visual package manager. It’s still on beta and has yet to crash or hang on me. It “simply works” with minimal setup, very polished interface and Linux’s high customization options.

        And it also falls on your article’s category of Beginner Distros and I think it deserves a proper look :)


      • Kev Quirk

        I agree with you on pretty much every point you’ve made in your comment Vinny. However, I disagree that Luna is Mac-like. I’ve been using Luna for a while now, and I can honestly say that it’s not like OSX at all. The dock is about the only similarity – ok and the grey theme, but that’s easily changed. The actually functioning of the desktop is nothing like OSX.

        I’ve considered install Manjaro myself, and I will get around to writing a review eventually. My problem is though, that I really don’t like XFCE. I don’t see why people are always on the look out for the next “light” desktop. Why does that even matter is a dual-core 3GHZ CPU, and 4GB RAM is considered mediocre nowadays.

        You really should stop by more often Vinny, I’ve really enjoyed having a chat with you about this. Are you on G+ by any chance? I can see us having many a conversation about all sorts of geekiness haha.

      • Guest

        Two other things I’d like to add, if you will.

        1 – On Luna beig similar to Mac OS. Window buttons on the left (maximize etc), right click does nothing anywhere, and if you go to System Settings then keyboard, and look at the shortcuts, they’re all Mac shortcuts. I can of course understand how to use them, but I felt from the beginning how Mac oriented this OS is.

        2 – Manjaro has a massive selling point for me. I use the Workman keyboard layout ( using a typematrix keyboard ( and it comes preinstalled with Manjaro, but it doesn’t exist in Ubuntu based Distros. I know it’s very niche, and I had to do a manual keyboard layout install on windows which would revert to querty on advanced key combinations like ctrl+c, ctrl+v etc… You have no idea of the satisfaction I had when I fired up Manjaro, selected Workman and it just worked with no hiccups.

        That’s it :)

  • guest
    • Easy Linux

      This link is for anyone wanting to get into Linux fast

  • Ben Sailorboy

    Which Linux is Best for Multimedia enthusiast…?

    I am a windows user planning to move to Linux since i cant afford genuine copy of my favorite apps ( Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Audition, Lightroom, and J River Media Center).
    Which Linux is best for me..?
    and are there alternative apps to those i mentioned for Linux and which are freeware but with pro-level features…?

    Linux community has built magnificent Blender, why nobody thinks to build other great apps as alternative to Premiere Pro, Audition, Lightroom, and J River Media Center, as good as you have built Blender…?

    I’ve browsed KDEnlive, Cinnerela, Audacity, but it’s not as powerfull, fullset of features, well managed interface, as how you have built Blender….???

    thanks in advance…

  • Vimal Raj

    HI, i’m a new user to linux and i am completely blank about working system and stuffs which works in windows. So tell me which linux os can accept windows applications and easy to use.

    • Iam Qlue

      Honestly, the answer is none!
      Linux works best with apps built for Linux. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that any given Linux distro works best with apps built for that specific distro.
      The reason Ubuntu is often recommended for new Linux users is because it’s a well-rounded distro that offers a wide range of apps, many of the most popular ones being pre-installed.

      If you have more specific needs, you might find another distro to be more suitable however.

      Windows apps work best in Windows. Linux has it’s own apps, many of which do the same job as popular Windows apps.
      For example;
      Windows ==> Linux
      Photoshop ==> GIMP
      uTorrent ==> Transmission
      MS Office ==> LibreOffice
      Outlook ==> Thunderbird
      Internet Explorer ==> Firefox (Iceweasel in Debian)
      Windows Media Player ==> vlc
      These are just some examples. Almost all distros have more than one package in the repositories that could be used for any given function and most desktop distros will have pre-installed apps to cover the most common needs of an end-user.

  • Bear

    The most difficult experience, so far is finding that my Canon scanner a Canoscan LED 600F isn’t supported. SANE doesn’t list it as supported, just there[?]. Even the process of installing Wine into Linux Mint so that I might use my scanner is murky. I’d hoped not to enter into the same time and money I spent on Windows Annoyances books, tweaks, workarounds. So , I’ve deleted my Mint partitions, am downloading now Pinguy and Luna. Perhaps using their Live DVD will show me whether my scanner or a Wine install will be easier with one of them.
    I read that Ubuntu has configured Firefox so that Amazon purchases are recorded and customer info is being sent back to Amazon.
    Ubuntu’s website proudly tells about helping the Chinese Communist gangsters screw their own people by helping configure a version of Ubuntu distro.Since nothing occurs without the approval of their security forces I will no longer have any good thing to say about Ubuntu until they stop helping the murder and torture of the Chinese, Tibetan and Uighur peoples. The same for the current US and Russian so called governments.
    What if Ubuntu had developed a truly secure version for the Taiwanese. Even now there are may capable Linux supporters in Taiwan willing and able to help defeat the intrusions and attacks of the Chin. Comm. Party.
    About 6 years ago I met Linus Torvalds, his wife and child in at the Atlanta GA Linux conference. I feel very grateful to him. He gives us the ability to resist corporate greed for a cooperative structure.

    After using Pinguy and Luna I’ll write more briefly.

  • eyvru

    Ubuntu is just ending up like microsoft

  • sgtserenity

    The most frustrating part of the thought of switching over to Linux for me is that there is no constant system . When I google Linux I end up with 50 different versions with 1000 different opions so it doesn’t seem to attractive if the users can’t get behind 1 solid system . It is like I should try to get a linux sponsor with penguin badge and 12 step certification . I am getting sick of windows BS and being that I like building my PC’ s , I not wanting to buy anymore licensed codes for it to be obsolete in a year . I just get the feeling that Linux User change the system every other week so it is judge the massive different voice .

    I will try and pray to the Linux Gods for guidance and follow glowing path that is laid at my feet . May I always have the patience and understanding to be guided by the kernnal of knowledge that is before me .

    Happy backslash to u

    • Ewan

      It can be pretty ovewhelming moving to a new OS, any new OS. And I get that Linux has more flavors than an ice cream shop and at some point you just want to throw your hands up and ask if it’s really necessary.

      If you really don’t know where to start download a live cd for Ubuntu and Linux Mint Mate. You can try them both out without installing it on your system and see if they work with your wifi and printers and graphics. See which one you like best and install that one. Use it for a few months, and see what you think. You can dual boot or install it in a virtual machine so you don’t lose your Windows. I also recommend trying out free, open source software on your Windows machine – that’s often the real test, there. People will use the machine that runs the software they need. A lot of ‘Linux’ software is actually crossplatform; Firefox, LibreOffice, Thunderbird, GnuCash, VLC and more. See . Just getting familiarity with these will help you see the continuity in the Linux system and begin to understand how Linux’s modularity can be your friend.

      Where all the flavors come in handy is when you have special requirments. There really is no ‘one size fits all’ system, Windows or Mac included. A lot of people try Ubuntu, decide they hate it and go back to Windows, as if Ubuntu was the only good distro for beginners, because that’s where the current buzz is. PCLInuxOS, Mageia and OpenSUSE are all good Non-Ubuntu alternatives for new Linux users, with PCLinux being the easiest of the three. People complain that Linux looks cobbled together haven’t seen a distro like OpenSUSE which is totally proffesional looking and has it’s own KDE desktop ecosystem with quality apps that work together. Again with the flavors and the modularity. Enjoy the ice cream store.

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  • DollarBill

    Do you feel it would be wise to backup my Windows 7 OS before trying to install any of the Linux Distro’s? Oh and I have a Dell Desktop computer.Thank you.