With thousands of Linux distributions available, it can be difficult to work out which is best distro for you. We’ve spun and tested dozens of distros, and these are our choices for the ten best Linux distros for 2023. Ubuntu No guide to the best Linux distros of 2023 would be complete without an entry for Ubuntu. Ubuntu took the best that Debian had to offer and made it better, adding improved support for non-free software, proprietary drivers, and a more sensible release cycle. Ubuntu comes as multiple official “flavors” offering different desktop experiences, and specialized versions including Ubuntu Studio for creative endeavors, and Ubuntu Server – which is designed for servers. Lunar Lobster, the next LTS Ubuntu release is due to arrive in April 2023, and is already available for testing. The release version is expected to come with the GNOME 44 desktop environment, along with the Mesa 22.3 graphics stack, and the 6.2 kernel series. Ubuntu 23.04 (Lunar Lobster) As the most popular Linux distro worldwide, Ubuntu has a huge user base. This means that finding answers to Ubuntu-related questions, solutions to issues and general support is easy through forums and blog posts. Whatever issue you’re facing, someone else will have had it too, and the answer is usually simple to find. Ubuntu comes with the full LibreOffice office suite, GIMP graphics package, and an array of other useful software. A huge number of distros are based on Ubuntu, and will have to wait for new features for the parent distro to implement new features before adopting them for themselves. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced Linux user, Ubuntu is a superb choice for anyone who wants a reliable and easy-to-use operating system with a large and supportive community. Linux Mint Linux Mint 21.1 Linux Mint started life as an Ubuntu spin-off, which made a point of offering out-of-the-box support for proprietary drivers and media codecs. This means that users can often get up and running quickly without needing any janky workarounds. 15 years later, Linux Mint is its own unique distro which distinguishes itself from its parent, and comes with a huge variety of tools developed in-house. Mint is also responsible for the creation of the Cinnamon desktop environment. Cinnamon desktop is a fork of gnome 3 and using gtk3+ for theming. It provides a traditional, easy-to-use desktop experience which includes built-in libraries of extensions, desklets, and themes, allowing for easy customization of the desktop. Users can mix and match these features to create a personalized experience. For open source purists, Linux Mint also provides a version based on the Debian stable branch. Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is faster and more responsive than the main Ubuntu-based version, and adheres closely to free software principles. In short, Linux Mint is a top-tier Linux distribution that offers an outstanding balance of user-friendliness, stability, and performance. Linux Mint is a brilliant choice for anyone who wants a reliable and easy-to-use operating system. Arch Linux Arch Linux 6.1.12 There’s a reason that ‘I use Arch BTW’ is seen as a cliched boast within the Linux community. Arch Linux is a minimal bare-bones installation, to which you, the user, add the parts you require – ensuring that each Arch installation is completely unique. Once the base system is installed, you can use the Pacstrap utility to add drivers, a desktop environment, a login manager, a lockscreen, and anything else you feel you need to create a functional Arch Linux system. Or not. The beauty of Arch Linux is that it’s entirely up to you. You can have an all singing, all dancing rainbow system, or you can keep it simple, and live entirely on the command line. Zorin OS Zorin OS 16.2 Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based distro which is designed to ease the transition of Windows and macOS users into the Linux ecosystem. With a heavily customised GNOME 3 and Xfce4 desktop environment, Zorin OS will be instantly familiar to proprietary OS users. T he easing-in process goes deeper than that as both WINE and PlayOnLinux are both installed by default, meaning that you’ll be able to use your favourite Microsoft software without too much fuss. Zorin OS is available as either the Core, Lite, or Pro version. Core is completely free in both senses of the word, while Pro is a paid product, which offers additional features such as additional theme options. Lite is designed for older 32-bit machines. If configuring your system from scratch doesn’t sound like fun, Arch has recently implemented a guided automated install script, which can help you through the process. MX Linux MX Linux 21.3 MX Linux is derived from the stable Debian branch and comes with a choice of three desktop environments: Xfce, KDE, and Fluxbox for window manager fans. With the Xfce DE, MX is lightweight and simple to use. It’s also one of the few Linux distros which isn’t abandoning support for 32 bit architecture in the foreseeable future (although the KDE desktop is only available on 64 bit machines). If you have the latest, bleeding edge hardware, MX Linux should be your go-to distro thanks to the “Advanced Hardware Support” (AHS) edition. Be aware though, that AHS is only available to download with the flagship Xfce desktop. However, there’s nothing to stop you from installing another DE once you have your system otherwise set up. MX Linux is descended from the venerable antiX distro, which means that systemd is disabled, and SysVinit is the default init system. If you’re a big systemd fan, you can re-enable systemd from within MX Linux. The distro comes with a variety of packages likely to be useful to most Linux users, including LibreOffice, FireFox, and Thunderbird, alongside more unusual choices such as LazPaint for the default graphics package, and a graphical adblock utility, accessible from the settings menu. If you get lost, you’ll find a comprehensive 192 page user manual on the desktop, alongside the more modest four page FAQ document. Fedora Fedora 37 KDE Plasma Fedora is a RPM (Red Hat Package Manager)distro, currently on its 36th iteration. With a reputation for rock-solid stability, Fedora is upstream of the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distro, meaning it gets packages and updates first, and new features which debut in Fedora will eventually trickle down to RHEL. While Fedora ships with the GNOME desktop environment, there are official spins with KDE Plasma, Xfce, LXQt, LXDE, MATE, Cinnamon, and i3 window manager installed. Fedora is available as five separate editions, which are tailored for use on workstations, servers, IoT devices, and as the minimal CoreOS. Fedora SilverBlue is an immutable distro, which is notably more stable and runs applications as containers. Pop!_OS Pop!_OS 22.04 Pop! OS was created by Linux computer manufacturer, System76, and was designed to be used on their systems. The distro runs an Ubuntu base, along with a customised version of GNOME, called Cosmic. Cosmic differs from GNOME in that it contains Tiling Window Manager (TWM) functionality, and can be easily operated using only the keyboard. If however, you prefer mousing your way around the desktop, you can ignore or disable these options. Unlike its parent distro which seems to be edging towards greater reliance on snap, Pop! OS doesn’t come with snap store support, instead favouring APT and Flatpak. In addition to the standard Pop! OS distro, which uses open source drivers, Pop! OS also offers a version specifically tailored to make the best use of Nvidia hardware. Elementary OS Elementary OS is another distro which seems to be aimed squarely at luring users away from Microsoft and Apple. The desktop is immediately usable and intuitive, with its on Pantheon desktop environment, and a dock containing all the commonly used applications. Despite its visual similarity to macOS, the elementary OS interface has a few oddities such as the lack of a button to minimise windows, however you’ll soon get used to this. Elementary OS is principally designed with x64 hardware in mind, although there are experimental builds available for ARM64. Developers have opted for a pay-what-you-want model for Elementary OS, and before you download the distro, you’ll need to say how much you’re willing to pay for it. It’s fine to pledge $0. Garuda Linux Garuda Linux is another Arch based distro, and aims to make the distro suitable for the average desktop user. Rather than limiting the number of available desktops, or necessitating huge downloads at install time, Garuda Linux devs offer 13 full ISOs, which give completely different experiences, and which are suitable for different purposes. Garuda GNOME and Garuda Xfce are best for normal PC usage, while Garuda KDE Dragonized Gaming is for high-end PCs, and gives a premium gaming experience. Manjaro Manjaro Linux is a rock solid Arch-based distro for people who want a user-friendly system that’s easy to get along with, and with an active and supportive community ecosystem, Choose Manjaro and you get a choice of Xfce, GNOME, and KDE Plasma desktop environments, plus community built and maintained spins, which come with DEs for Budgie, Cinnamon, and Mate, as well as the i3 and Sway window managers. During the install process, you’ll also get the choice of whether to use proprietary or open source drivers. Manjaro is a mid-weight distro which is simple and straightforward to use, and which will run happily on x64 and Arm hardware. One of Arch’s best features is the Arch User Repository (AUR), which is home to a huge variety of software that isn’t available in the default repositories, and you’ll probably install most of your Manjaro software from the AUR. In addition to Arch’s Pacman installer, Manjaro comes with the much friendlier GUI-driven Pamac, and has built-in FlatPak support for secure and sandboxed apps. There’s no shortage of great Linux distros in 2023! Whether you use Linux to break away from Windows and macOS, or you simply love Linux and the free software philosophy, it’s almost certain that you’ll find a distro that will delight you. We’ve tested all of the distros above, and know that you’ll love them as much as we do!