Linux Format

Try some distro hopping

Don’t like Elementary? Try one of these beginner-friendly OSes.


While it’s a potentiall­y easy way into Linux, you may decide that Elementary OS isn’t for you – perhaps you don’t like its desktop and cutdown app store or find it’s more trouble getting set up than it’s worth. But this doesn’t have to mean bringing your adventures into the world of Linux to a premature end. The great thing about Linux – unlike Mac OS or Windows – is that you have an unbelievab­ly diverse choice of alternativ­e distros to choose from.

Most distros are based on another distro, tweaked to provide a specific user experience, or fill a perceived gap in the market. Most – including Elementary OS – are based on Ubuntu, one of Linux’s most popular distros (itself based on another distro – Debian). Ubuntu is backed by Canonical, a well-establishe­d company capable of providing lots of resources and support.

And if there’s one area of the Linux marketplac­e where there’s plenty of choice, it’s those distros looking to appeal to newcomers to Linux.

We’ve rounded up five alternativ­e distros to check out – the only cost to you is time downloadin­g and testing each one. All five are distribute­d as ISO files offering a live environmen­t and an installer, so just download them to your hard drive, then either create separate installati­on media for each or copy the ISOs to your Ventoy USB flash drive and switch between them to see which take your fancy.

You’ll see that many distros offer multiple options, each sporting a different desktop. There are desktops like Elementary’s Prometheus, offering a slick, modern experience, as well as desktops designed for lower-end machines, like the minimalist Xfce. You’ll also see that desktops work across multiple distros, enabling you to mix and match as you see fit. Happy testing!

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Manjaro Linux (
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Ubuntu (
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Zorin OS (
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Linux Mint (
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Pop!_OS (
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