Below are the Top 10 Linux Distributions of 2012 sorted by popularity. Linux is a free Operating System and an alternative to Windows. There are many different types and flavors called “Distributions” or “Distros”.
Linux Mint is the most popular Linux distro for 2012 and is still rising in popularity. Linux Mint is popular for a reason, because it’s easy to use, easy to install, and comes out-of-the-box with a lot of software / applications. Linux Mint is basically just a version of Ubuntu that is easier to install and use, and comes with much more. The DVD version comes with much more software than the CD version. Mint can be slightly harder to properly put on a USB flash stick, and usually suggest burning to a DVD instead.
Ubuntu is a solid distro, and was the most popular version of Linux for years. It’s been starting to lose popularity ever since they switched to the new Unity (Compiz) interface, which most people do not like. You can try a fully interactive online demo of Ubuntu here.
Fedora is mainly used for servers and networking. Formely known as “Red Hat Linux”. Fedora can still be used for desktop use, and is an excellent Linux distribution.
A German distro that is known for coming with lots of software and being excellent with drivers. Also has a reputation for being easy to use and versatile.
Debian is a lot like Ubuntu. (Ubuntu is actually based on Debian). Debian is known for having an excellent database of available applications and being lightweight.
Arch is more suited for the experienced Linux user, especially users that prefer to use the terminal (command line) and like to script with bash. Arch uses bash scripts to help easily configure and setup the system. Arch Linux is also known for its FTP installation, and custom package manager called “pacman”.
Mageia is basically the Mandriva Linux project, but developed by a non-profit community based organization.
CentOS is developed by a community of contributors, which is based on the “Red Hat Linux” platform.
Puppy Linux is a tiny distribution that is more geared for live use for computer repairs. It fits very easily on a CD, and loads programs to the RAM instead of reading it off a disc, making it one of the fastest live copies of Linux. Excellent for fixing a PC running Windows that won’t boot up. Just boot to Puppy Linux which will bypass the password and let you easily back up your files. You can even run Puppy without a hard drive.
Known for it’s out-of-box support for graphics cards and wifi adapters, PCLinuxOS is an excellent choice for users that are transitioning from Microsoft Windows.
WHAT’S THE BEST LINUX DISTRO FOR A BEGINNER?
I highly recommend Xubuntu, which is a form of Ubuntu that is lightening fast and easy to use. If you are installing Linux for someone that is used to using Windows 7, and wants to have a similar look and feel, Zorin OS is the Linux distro that looks the most like Windows 7.
WHAT IS THE FASTEST LINUX DISTRO?
There are several Linux distro’s that are very lightwieght and can run on very old systems. Please see our article “The Fastest Linux Distro’s of 2012”
FREE LINUX SUPPORT
For any questions about Linux, please try our free tech support chat, a non-profit service provided by volunteer Geeks. This article was written by Eugene Computer Geeks, offering computer repair services in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene Computer Geeks is Linux based company that promotes open source software whenever possible.