A few weeks ago I wrote a list of the 5 Linux distributions that I would recommend for the Everyday Linux User.
Within minutes of its release I was asked why various other distributions weren’t considered for the list.
I therefore set a challenge asking people to submit their own lists with reasons as to why they would choose those distributions.
Here is an entry by David Bley who obliged my request. This in my opinion is the most well thought out and elaborated entry as yet so I thought I would share it with you first.
The Top 5 Linux Distributions
By David Bley
I don’t fit your definition of an everyday linux user but I consider
myself one. My favourite Windows OS was XP. I did not care for Windows 7 and
did not like the gestapo tactics that MS used to roll out Windows 10.
I started in IBM PC’s at dos 2.1, so the terminal works OK for me, but I have
become more used to a GUI to do things and prefer it. I want the OS to
fade into the background and let me run the software I need to perform
Also, in the mid to late 80’s I used an IBM AT (12MHz !) that
had a UNIX co-processor board in it without a GUI, so I learned some
basic UNIX commands for copying files, listing directories, etc.
I will assume that everyday linux users are coming from a windows
environment or that they have gotten a workable piece of hardware
(desktop or laptop) that the original OS has become obsolete on and are
installing Linux because updating their current OS is not possible or
too expensive. I am assuming that everyday linux users are not buying a
system with linux pre-installed, unless it is a Raspberry-PI or a
So my requirements for a Linux distribution are that the installation
should be easy, not ask me questions that I don’t understand, and work
with minimal fiddling, which includes installing a printer. As far as
all the things that most developers seem to worry about, what the screen
looks like and what apps are installed and how fast it is, are of
secondary importance. If it is too slow, then I am mostly using the
wrong hardware although I grew up before computers and any wordprocessor
is faster than a typewriter.
Other requirements that I come across is a distribution that will run on
older hardware. this includes being small (fits on single CD), being
lightweight (runs adequately on minimal RAM – approx 256MB) and supports
all hardware on older machines.
I have examined many different distributions for the hardware that I have.
My top distribution for 32 bit machines is Lubuntu as it was the first
distribution that I installed on my constantly used Windows XP netbook. My
current version is 14.04 LTS, mostly because at this point in time I
don’t want to update and possibly convert a working computer to a
On my 64 bit computer, I am running Ubuntu Mate 14.04 This computer is a
return from lease that had XP installed. I tried to install the 64 bit
version of Lubuntu but it did not work properly. Even with Mate, the
graphics driver had an issue, but some poking around on the Ubuntu
website got me an answer. This is my everyday computer (desktop) with a
25″ monitor and I have not updated for a similar reason as the first. I
also want to max out RAM to 8G and change out harddisk with a 1T before
I change OS. I am not one to change everything at once and fire it up!
On my oldest systems, which are intended for single purpose use (file
server, audio player, home control, etc.) I need a distribution that
fits on a CD, will run on older cpu with 256MB of RAM at OK speed. I
have tried many “lightweight” distributions even ones that I had to
install from a USB drive using PLOP on boot CD and I keep coming back to
Damn Small Linux. It will fit on a small CD, supports hardware that
was running Windows ME, installs easily, and is quite fast. There is some
question as to whether DSL is an active project, but it seems like it is
still being maintained even though the releases don’t come out very
I seem be be stuck in Ubuntu-land. I have tried other distributions,
SUSE, Fedora, Mint and they did not meet my requirements as well even
though I did try many.
When I first started down the road of moving from Windows XP to Linux, I found
that the number of distributions was daunting. I used selection aids
but they were not as helpful to me as I would have liked.
I have tried to think of two final distributions to add to the list but I cannot.
David has come up with three Linux distributions: Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and Damn Small Linux.Ubuntu MATE would definitely be close to reaching my top five and I would recommend Lubuntu for low end computers and older netbooks.
Damn Small Linux might be a bit daunting for non-technical users and for something of that size it might be worth thinking about a Puppy Linux such as Simplicity.
Thanks for sharing David.
If you think you can do better read this article and submit your list.
I have received a number of good suggestions in my inbox and as well as posting more of your lists I will be reviewing the likes of Antergos and openSUSE Leap.
Thanks for reading.