"What Linux distro should I start with?"

It really doesn’t matter.

Beginners often make choosing their first Linux distribution a bigger deal than it needs to be. This is mainly due to the overwhelming number of options available.

A Linux distribution is essentially a collection of software packaged together. The two key components of most distributions are the Desktop Environment (DE), which provides the graphical user interface for users to interact with the operating system, and the Package Manager, which manages the installation, removal, and updating of software on the operating system.

Many Linux “geeks” recommend choosing a distribution right away, but I disagree. I suggest choosing a DE first, as it is what you’ll be interacting with the most to complete tasks on your computer. There are several excellent options available, and it’s primarily a matter of personal preference.

Choosing a Desktop Environment

For beginners, I recommend selecting one of the following DEs (google their names followed by “desktop environment” to learn more about them/see how they look and function):

KDE Plasma, GNOME, and Cinnamon are considered more modern and feature-rich desktop environments, while Xfce, MATE, and LXQT are more lightweight and customizable. All of these options are actively developed/maintained and quite stable.

Tips for Choosing a Desktop Environment

1. Don’t stress about it

The more you procrastinate actually choosing a DE, the worse. Most DEs are customizable, so you can make them look and feel however you want after installing them, or even switch to another DE entirely if you ever need to.

2. Try them out

Most Linux distributions allow you to test out different DEs before installing them. Take advantage of the opportunity to test different DEs to see which one you prefer. You can use a live USB or a virtual machine to test any DE or Linux distribution.

3. Consider your system specs

4. Consider your use case

5. Don’t choose a DE just because it’s new

After choosing a DE, you can choose a distro that uses that DE.

Choosing a Distro

There are three main types of Linux distros:

Tips for Choosing a Linux Distro

The two distros that I feel confident recommending to most people are:

Fedora (Red Hat-based)

Linux Mint (Ubuntu/Debian-based)

If you’re still not sure which distro to use, you can install a virtual machine (or live USB) with one that you want to try out! You don’t need to install it on your main computer straight away!

Also, what many people don’t know is that any distro can practically be turned into any other distro.

So… Just pick one.