Thinking of choosing an OS for a desktop or a server? Well, Linux could be a great pick. There are many names in the list of best Linux OS available in the market.
You might have this thought in your mind, why choose a not-so-popular operating system over one with well-known user-friendly features. Let’s know the reasons and then decide.
You know or not, today Linux operating system is everywhere be it your smartphones, cars, home-appliances, desktops, servers, or even in supercomputers.
It comes with so many amazing features that can make your work budget-friendly, trouble-free, and more reliable.
Linux is one of the most secure operating systems available and is generally far less vulnerable to cyber attacks. Have an older system? Not an issue, Linux works with minimal hardware requirements.
Not only this, if you’re a programmer, it’s also perfect for you. It supports almost all of the major programming languages. It also provides free and faster software updates and better community support. To your surprise, all these features come free of cost as it is open source.
Now, you have the answer to why we should go for Linux yeah? Wait! there’s much more in the bucket. Linux comes with a number of different versions called “Distros”. If you’re a newbie, you might get confused about which one to use and when.
To make your task easy, we have curated here the best Linux OS in 2021, which you need to know for different purposes. We will be listing the alternative distros too so that you can check them as well if interested.
Best Linux OS Distributions You Can Try in 2021:
Note: The Linux Distros we are reviewing here are our personal views and are not a part of any Promotion or Sponsorship.
Best Linux Distro For General Purpose
If you’re a newcomer and not that technically sound, the most user-friendly and basic distribution we would recommend is “Ubuntu”. Ubuntu is famous for cloud computing and comprises a Linux server.
• One of the best Linux OS for beginners (especially for switching from windows).
• Comes with all the characteristics of a Unix OS with a customized GUI.
• Available in three versions – Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, and Ubuntu Core.
• Easy installation with all the basic software required.
• Releases new versions every six months, so no stress on frequent upgrades.
• Guarantees five years of security.
• Gives very less strain on the system resources.
Ubuntu Official Website – Click Here!
- Sponsored by Red Hat.
- Similar to Ubuntu in various ways, making it the next best Linux OS for beginners.
- Available in three versions- Workstation, Server, and Atomic.
- It offers shorter software support than Ubuntu.
- Uses a Gnome desktop environment by default.
- Both Fedora and Ubuntu offer spins. E.g- Fedora spins(with KDE).
- Free to use, modify, and distribute.
Best Linux Distro For Security And Recovery Purpose
Those who concern more about privacy and security should go for Linux Qubes. It’s the most secure version of Linux. Kali Linux and TAILS can also serve as good options.
They are not very common compared to the other operating systems out there and this is their specialty.
• One of the most secure but free OS meant for single-user desktop use.
• Implements security by isolation approach and uses Xen-based virtualization.
• Uses multiple OS at the same time.
• Lets the user define lightweight VMs(Virtual Machines) called “qubes” on their local machines.
• Satisfies users on working without worrying about a single cyber-attack.
Qubes Official Website – Click Here!
• Most advanced penetration testing platform, best Linux OS for ethical hacking.
• Available in 32 bit, 64 bit, and ARM flavors.
• Can always be updated to a new version without the need for a new download.
• Source codes are available on Git and are open to anyone.
• Supports numerous USB and other wireless devices.
• Offers multilingual support.
• Completely customizable.
• The Latest version is Kali Linux 2021.1.
Kali Linux 2021.1 Release
The latest release of Kali Linux 2021.1 is available for download here on Official Site. The main features which were added in this version are-
- Dark and Light themes for the KDE Plasma.
- Different Login Screen for the themes.
- Default PowerShell, present into a primary meta-package “kali-Linux-large”.
- Improved ARM facility.
- Solutions/Instructions regarding the Installer change in 2021.1.
- New key packages such as Gnome 3.36, Joplin, Python 3.8, SpiderFoot, etc.
For detailed ideas about the new release refer to the Kali Linux Webpage.
Kali Linux Official Website – Click Here!
Parrot Security OS:
- This Linux distro was developed by Parrot Project Team together with the Frozenbox Dev Team and initially released on 13th April 2013.
- It is a Debian GNU/Linux based operating system developed by mixing it with Kali Linux and Frozen box OS so that it can provide the best security and penetration testing experience to the security testers as well as attackers.
- It is a uniquely constructed Linux operating system to detect an authorized simulated attack on your system that helps in accessing the deficiencies or instabilities within your system and checking if they are strong enough or not.
- It comes with a fully portable lab that keeps your system secure from any unnecessary usage whenever you are playing games or browsing the Internet.
- It is the best operating system for forensic expert users.
- Get Parrot OS here.
Best Linux Distro For Gaming Purpose
Although distros for the sole purpose of gaming are not very common and improving every year, there are some great options available that are fully equipped with various drivers, emulators, and software needed for the great gaming experience.
Steam OS and SparkyLinux can be the best Linux OS for gaming. SparkyLinux includes awesome features like the Lutris Gaming Platform and comes with an impressive size of 3.57 GB.
Whereas, SteamOS is probably the best Linux OS for gaming as it proves to be an actual games console and comes with a size of 4 GB. Get the key features for these best Linux OS below:
- One of the best Linux OS for gaming.
- Used for creating Steam Boxes.
- Built for light performance.
- It offers a large collection of games.
- Supports high-end games.
- Compatible with various GPUs, gamepads/joysticks, and software.
- The latest version of SteamOS is Brewmaster release 2.198.
SteamOS Official Website – Click Here!
Let’s have a look at the SparkyLinux review now-
- The next best Linux OS for gaming.
- A free Linux distribution
- GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian.
- It is lightweight and fast.
- Fully Customizable operating system.
- Available in three editions- GameOver, Rescue, and Multimedia.
- GameOver is the best one of all the three editions for this purpose.
- It supports around 20 desktop environments.
- comes with a large number of pre-installed games and useful scripts.
- It offers easy USB installation.
- Stable releases
- Not much preferable for beginners.
- The latest version of SparkyLinux is SparkyLinux 5.10.1 “Nibiru”.
SparkyLinux Official Website – Click Here!
After the SparkyLinux review, let’s move to the next category.
Best Linux Distro for Multimedia:
Since you have seen the One of the best Linux OS for gaming, how about getting an operating system with countless image editors, manipulation tools, digital audio workstations all for free?
Linux provides the best distros for video editing, music production, graphic design, and much more on a budget. Fedora Design Suite and Ubuntu Studio are the best Linux OS in this field.
These are not just the collection of apps but actually optimized for all multimedia-related tasks. These Linux distros offer low-latency and use a lightweight desktop environment.
Ubuntu Studio is a variant of Ubuntu whereas the Fedora suite inherits features from the main Fedora release, including the desktop environment. Get the key features for both of the distros below:
• Most popular multimedia Linux distro
• Provides lots of required software and stylish fonts by default.
• Offers a Low-latency kernel and JACK-tweaks for Linux music production
• Simple to use.
• Synfig Studio is the most interesting app available for high-quality 2D animation.
• The Latest version of Ubuntu Studio is 19.10 “Eoan Ermine”.
Ubuntu Studio Official Website – Click Here!
Fedora Design Suite:
- Includes the design tools from the Fedora Design Team.
- Used for creating all the artwork like desktop backgrounds, web page designs, application interfaces, posters, etc.
- GIMP, Inkscape, Blender are some of the featured applications of it.
- the latest release of this suite is Fedora Design Suite 31.
Fedora Design Suite Official Website – Click Here!
Best Linux Distro For Programming
With the distros based on different purposes, Linux also provides some special distros for programming. Let us find out which are the best Linux OS for programming-
While Ubuntu is considered the best for newbies, it’s an excellent option for the developers too. Yes, it’s also one of the best Linux OS for programming. Let’s see how-
- Based on Debian and includes important packages like GNOME, Firefox and LibreOffice, etc.
- It offers an excellent web-based infrastructure and the Wiki-style documentation along.
- It provides the facility of bug-reporting.
- allows easy migration for Windows users.
- Supports the latest technologies, like the 3D desktop effects.
- Easy installation of proprietary device drivers for graphics cards and wireless networking.
- On-demand support is available.
- Most of the programming tools and packages available in its default repository.
- Supports Open Source Android Project.
- Supports the ‘snaps’ application packaging format allowing you to write apps in any programming language.
- Direct download and install facility using modern integrated development environments.
- Highly active community, to test your work and get your queries answered easily.
Ubuntu Official Website – Click Here!
- Another best Linux OS for programming.
- It comes under the main Linux family.
- Available in two main editions – Leap(stable platform) and Tumbleweed(with rolling release).
- It’s an Open Build Service for the developers.
- Easy installation of coding packages and configuration through the YaST tool.
- Default Btrfs advanced filesystem support is present.
- Offers automated file-system snapshots and boot environments.
- Has a large repository of software packages.
- Provides an impressive website infrastructure with the printed documentation.
- Preinstalled basic tools for developers like Vim and Emacs text editors, etc are present.
- Includes pre-built automation tools like CMake, packaging tools like RPM, and OBS (Open Build Service) to build software for different distros and platforms.
- Great community support with a good programmer-friendly environment.
- A good competitor to Ubuntu in terms of features.
OpenSUSE Official Website – Click here.
- The next best Linux OS for programming.
- Almost all the distros are based on or built around Debian.
- It includes ample software in its repository and hence regarded as the Developers operating system.
- features a large number of tutorials that help in testing and getting the issues solved.
- Includes a lot of stable and highly reliable software, helpful for advanced programming.
- Minimum chance of system instability hence the ideal OS for programmers.
- It shows an excellent quality control feature.
- provides more than 30,000 software packages.
- The highest number of processor architectures among all other Linux distribution
- It comes under one of the most bug-free and best-tested distributions.
- Has a slow and stable release cycle for integration and stabilization of packages and features.
- Not a very user-friendly interface but can be customized based on the requirements.
Debian Official Website – Click here.
Some other good Linux distros for programming include Fedora, centOS, and Pop!_OS.
Best Linux Distro For Music Production 2021
If you need an Operating system for music production but on a budget, Linux again proves itself as a great deal. So which are the best Linux distro for music production 2021? Let’s have a look-
Ubuntu Studio is the first pick for the purpose as it is the most popular multimedia Linux distro out there. Clear from the name, it is a part of the Ubuntu family. Have a closure about its features.
- It’s a free and open Operating System.
- It offers a number of stylish fonts installed in it by default.
- It includes a low latency, real-time Linux kernel.
- Its default desktop environment is Xfce which is very simple to use.
- For low latency audio recording, it offers JACK Studio.
- Special tools for video editing and rendering are available by default like- OpenShot and FFMPEG.
- It offers a variety of tools for live processing, recording, mixing, mastering, etc.
- Provides Graphic design and modeling applications along with the plugins.
- Effects such as 3D modeling, compositing, animation, post-production, etc are available.
- Provides Ubuntu audio handbook on the Ubuntu Studio User Wiki.
With so many features and Softwares in-built in it, you can get the additional applications or tools from its repository.
Ubuntu Studio official Website: Click here
The next best Linux distro for music production 2021 is AV Linux probably. It gives a bit of almost every feature that you need for the reason. Let us give a quick glance over its features below-
- It’s a Debian based Linux distribution.
- It runs on a lightweight desktop environment called Xfce.
- It is pre-configured and ready to Install.
- Runs fast as a professional environment for audio recording.
- For audio, it includes applications such as Ardour, Audacity, EasyTAG, Guitarix, Renoise, Rosengren, etc.
- For video, it includes applications such as Blender, LiVES, OpenShot, VLC Media Player, Desktop Recorder, and many more.
- For graphics, it includes applications such as GIMP, Inkscape, Shotwell, etc.
- It provides low-latency, real-time Linux kernel with JACK audio and a large number of applications for media creation.
- It has the ability to run with a Live environment with the Read/Write permissions.
- It includes repositories such as PulseAudio integration and KXStudio.
- It also supports AVL Drumkits.
AV Linux official Website: Click here
The next Linux distro which we are going to cover here, under the music production category is Audiophile. Let us see its features below-
- It is a lightweight, Arch Linux-based distribution.
- Offers a customized, real-time Linux kernel especially for playing music.
- Uses a lightweight window manager called Fluxbox.
- Avoids unnecessary applications.
- Supports various music players.
- Includes many pre-installed audio and video programs.
- It has low latency, real-time kernel.
- It also provides digital support to users.
- provides access to audio servers such as PulseAudio.
- It is ideal for reproducing high-quality audio content and not for audio creation.
Audiophile official Website: Click here
There is other good Linux distro for music production out there. But we have included the best ones which you can use.
Best Linux Distro For Graphic Designers 2021
As of now, we have discussed so many Linux Distros for different purposes. Let’s head out to the next category that is the best Linux distro for graphic design 2021.
Graphic Design is the process of creating visual content for communicating messages. It uses textual and graphical elements to implement them into various graphical designs. To work with the graphic designs here is the best Linux Distros list-
- It is free, so no cost is applied.
- It is the most user-friendly Linux distro(best GUI).
- It has a great feature of monitor partitioning (into virtual monitors) that helps in working on the different applications at a time.
- Works well with powerful graphic design tools like GIMP(photoshop alternative) and Inkscape(illustrator alternative), Krita, Pinta, etc.
- Easily available with Ubuntu, the most versatile Linux distro.
- Offers long term support.
Get Ubuntu Studio here.
Fedora Design Suite
- It is a live operating system.
- A Fedora Spin which is an all set ready-to-go environment for the graphic designers.
- It is an open-source multimedia platform.
- Includes many tools for the artwork such as tools for creating posters, basic animation, 3D modeling, and many more.
- Includes a set of packages for graphics in its Design Suite.
- It also has software with which you can install thousands of other packages and tools needed.
- Uses Gnome GUI and related configuration tools for graphic design.
Get Fedora Design Suite here.
Although no specific Linux distro has been created solely for the purpose of graphic design, these two are capable of giving you the best result for graphic design.
Best Linux Distro For Small Businesses 2021
Since Linux has begun to support most of the cloud services along with the extensive bandwidth of the internet, so it is increasingly becoming popular not only among individual users but also among small businesses.
Let’s see some of the Linux Distros which are best at empowering SMBs:
- It is a Linux distro that is completely supervised from a web interface.
- Since it is fully governed by the web interface, you won’t need any mouse, keyboard, and not even a monitor connected to the machine once you have completed the installation process of ClearOS.
- Due to the web interface only, it becomes easier to install as well as manage various components of ClearOS such as email server, file server, etc.
- The web interface, it’s administrator also helps in setting up a firewall for your business so that all the components of OS work together perfectly.
- It is an excellent alternative for commercial server platforms rather than other servers like Red Hat Enterprise Server or Windows Small Business Server, available for small businesses in the market.
- It is relatively easy to use than the other server-based operating system.
- Professional tech support is also available for this OS.
Get ClearOS here.
- It is an open-source Linux distro based on Arch Linux OS but it is not as intimidating as Arch OS.
- While working with Manjaro, you won’t need to worry about installing the latest updates as you will get the updates whenever the latest version of it is released.
- It is preferably used by the end-user systems because it offers a better installer and improved hardware detection than the Arch Linux OS.
- It also has the repositories full of stable software.
- Since Manjaro is just an upgraded form of Arch OS rather than a completely new one, it has abruptly become a widely used Linux OS in homes as well as small businesses.
Get Manjaro here.
Best Light Weight Linux Distros For Older Systems
As mentioned earlier, some Linux distros can run with minimum hardware requirements, hence they revive our older systems and make them usable again. These lightweight Linux distros can run on modern systems as well and help to free up additional system resources.
One thing to note here is, these lightweight Linux distros lack many features and wizards and hence you may need to install some additional programs according to your requirements in order to customize these Linux distributions. Let’s see some of the best Linux OS for older systems.
- One of the smallest Linux distros with around 300MB in size.
- Created by Barry Kauler in 2003.
- It’s a collection of multiple Linux distros.
- Supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems(old and modern systems).
- Present in three broad categories- official, woof-built Puppy Linux distributions, and unofficial derivatives also called “Puplets”.
- Pretty fast and responsive.
- Can use the Ubuntu repository to install applications.
- Can be booted live using a CD/DVD/USB.
- Default JWM and Openbox window managers make it easy to use system resources
- Contains some basic applications such as Firefox, Firewall, Claws Mail, Abiword, etc.
- Minimum hardware requirement-
- RAM: 256 MB
- CPU: 600 Hz Processor
- CD-ROM any speed
Get Puppy Linux here.
The next best Linux distro for older systems is Linux Lite. Let’s see its features.
- It’s a lightweight Linux distro and runs fine with low-end hardware.
- Based on the Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) release.
- Created by Jerry Bezencon and the team.
- Supports 32-bit systems.
- Comes with some essential applications and tools such as Firefox, Thunderbird, Dropbox, VLC Media Player, LibreOffice, Gimp, etc.
- Getting Popular in the recent past.
- The latest version is Linux Lite 5.0, with many out-of-the-box features that give a better Linux desktop experience.
- Supports default UEFI boot mode.
- Best for novice Linux users.
- One of the best Linux distros to switch from Windows.
- Minimum hardware requirements for Linux Lite:
- CPU: 1Ghz Processor
- RAM: 768 MB RAM
- Display: VGA screen(1024×768 resolution)
- Disk space: At least 8 GB free disk space
Get Linux Lite here.
Editor’s Choice: The best and the most advanced version on Linux os 2021
Besides these above-mentioned best Linux OS suitable for different categories, we are mentioning here the distros the overall best and most advanced version on Linux OS-
- The best Linux OS for beginners.
- excellent web-based infrastructure.
- Open Source Android Project.
- Best for programming and general-purpose.
- Latest LTS version – Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS “Bionic Beaver”.
- Latest Non-LTS version – Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Emine”.
- Gnome desktop environment.
- Similar to Ubuntu.
- Free to use.
- Multipurpose use.
- Two separate editions for desktop/laptops and servers.
- Latest version- Fedora 32.
- Best Linux OS for hacking and pen-testing.
- multilingual support.
- Completely customizable.
- Rolling release for tools.
- Latest version – Kali Linux 2019.2
- Most distros are built around it.
- one of the best Linux OS for programming.
- A large number of tutorials.
- Highly unstable.
- Excellent quality control.
- Latest version – Debian 10.4
- Best Linux OS for beginners.
- Resembles Windows XP.
- Based on Ubuntu.
- Multimedia codecs.
- Latest version – Cinnamon edition
With all these varieties of distros for the system, Linux also comes in ranges of servers. It provides both free as well as paid distributions.
For instance, Ubuntu Server and CentOS are some of the best Linux OS which is free to use while others like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Enterprise Linux are paid.
Though there is an ample range of the operating systems available in the market, each one has its own specialty with it.
Based on that we have covered you the best Linux OS for different purposes which you can use like best Linux OS for beginners, best Linux OS for gaming, best Linux OS for programming, best Linux OS for small businesses, and their review for instance – SparkyLinux review.
So what are you waiting for? Enjoy working with the best Linux OS for your work free of cost and without worrying about any security threat. Happy learning!!