There are thousands of Linux distributions, each with their own characteristics. Because of course you won't try them all yourself to experience which one you find most comfortable with, we have listed the most important distributions for you briefly and concisely. That makes choosing a lot easier! Whether you're looking for a distribution for an old PC, one for internet banking or something for multimedia, there's something for everyone.
A Linux distribution or "distro" is an operating system such as Windows. But unlike Windows, the different components of the operating system are developed by different groups. A distro is therefore an integration of all those components into one coherent whole. And because there are so many ways to integrate those components, there are so many Linux distributions out there.Ubuntu is the best-known, but no longer most popular, Linux distribution.
Ubuntu is the best-known name among Linux distributions and still the reference, even if according to DistroWatch it is no longer the most popular distro. Ubuntu is very user-friendly for beginners, and commercial software vendors usually offer their Linux version for Ubuntu first. You can even buy laptops with Ubuntu preinstalled, including from Dell.
Fedora is arguably the most innovative general-purpose Linux distribution. Especially ideal if you want to be the first to try out the latest innovations in the Linux world. It is also the distro that Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, works with. This is not a distro for those new to Linux. After all, you do get access to powerful possibilities, but you will also have to sit on the blisters if things go wrong and have to solve it yourself.
A fairly progressive distro, especially in terms of system administration, is openSUSE. For example, with the Btrfs file system and the Snapper snapshot tool, you can easily create and restore snapshots down to the file level. And with the powerful YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) administration tool, you can configure almost anything on your system, both graphically and at the command line. The standard interface KDE Plasma is also completely customizable.
Arch Linux is a lightweight and flexible distro that follows the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle. After installation, you have a minimalist working environment without frills. Even a graphical environment is missing: you choose which packages you install for your graphical environment. With Arch Linux you can therefore create your own custom distribution. A nice side effect is that you learn a lot about Linux as a result.
There are still countless derivatives of Ubuntu, each with their own focus. Bodhi Linux, for example, is ideal for giving an older PC a second life, but despite that focus, the distro still looks pretty good. And elementary OS has a look that's so borrowed from macOS. Another popular Ubuntu derivative is Linux Mint. And Ubuntu itself also has all kinds of 'flavours' with a different graphical environment.
Ubuntu itself is derived from Debian, in full Debian GNU/Linux. Although not as popular as Ubuntu, you can run Debian on your PC just fine. The problem is that Debian takes longer to release new releases (about every two years instead of every six months), leaving you with a lot of older software. On servers, this is not such a problem, and Debian is ideal for running on a Linux server.
Do you want to surf the internet as anonymously as possible? Then there is no better Linux distro than Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System). You install it on a USB stick and start it up for an anonymous session. After you turn off the PC, no trace of your session remains on the PC. All internet traffic is routed through the Tor anonymity network and the Tor Browser takes the necessary measures to protect your privacy.
With its slogan 'a reasonably secure operating system', Qubes OS is far too modest. It is one of the safest operating systems you can run because it allows you to split your programs into different 'domains'. Each domain runs completely transparently in a separate virtual machine and cannot access the other domains. You can even run Windows in a domain. Each program gets a colored border around the window that is specific to each domain.
LibreELEC (the ELEC stands for Libre Embedded Linux Entertainment Center) is optimized for the media center software Kodi. The distro boots up very quickly and then immediately displays the interface of Kodi. Ideal for installing on a Raspberry Pi that you connect to your TV screen. With the right Kodi add-ons, you can even stream videos from Netflix and Amazon.