7 Best Linux Distributions for Desktop/Laptop 2018

This would be our first article in 2018 and happy to present you a list of the best Linux distributions to add to your favorite list in 2018 for your Desktop/Laptop, it is important to note that there is no such thing as “best” Linux distribution. People have different tastes which vary from UI experience to the feature set provided by a Linux distribution. As an example, a newbie will have a different preference from an advanced Linux administrator who has worked with a distribution like Gentoo and is obsessed with Linux CLI administration.

If you're not sure about a Linux distribution to use, It's best to test them on VirtualBox or VMware Workstation, you'll definitely fall for one that suits your needs and preferences.

Please also note that our description is not presented in any particular order. There is a likelihood that your preferred Linux distribution may not be captured in the description list since our description is based on the various user tastes fetched from various forums, and distribution ratings on the internet. Feel free to give us your views on the same. This list present to you best Linux distributions suited for Developers, those doing gaming and Linux beginners.

1) Ubuntu 17 (18 LTS Expected April 26, 2018)

Ubuntu 17 Desktop

Oh, Ubuntu! Probably this could be the word that might pop up if you happen to type the word Linux on google search bar. It is the most popular open source operating system and thus there are a couple reasons to use Ubuntu Linux worth distro to give an eye in the new year.

Talk about the ever supportive Ubuntu community. You can’t encounter any problem, be it software or hardware problem and fail to find multiple fixes in the community. You will like this, I tell you. Ubuntu works seamlessly even on the low-end systems, talk about 512 MB of RAM, Ubuntu won't complain. So why don’t you put that old system you in the store into use? Grab Ubuntu and get things rolling.

It is open source, free and compatible with most drivers and therefore, you won’t pay a cent to get that software that you want it for your daily tasks. Do not forget it is user-friendly, highly customizable, secure, tones of flavors. Give a try, thank me later.

Ubuntu can be used in cloud computing, as a server, as a desktop OS, manage containers etc. Find more about all these at Official Ubuntu website.

Ubuntu 17.10 is the latest release but recently found it corrupts BIOS on few Lenovo laptop models. This version is expected to last for about 10 months and therefore, the next release is likely to happen by April 2018. After 6 years sticking with Unity, Canonical has decided to switch to Gnome Desktop this year.

2) Fedora 27 (28 Expected release May 08, 2018)

Fedora 27 Desktop

Fedora is a Red Hat sponsored community-based distribution and all of its software is distributed under a free and open-source license with the aim to be on the leading edge of such technologies. For a long time, Fedora has retained a reputation for being focused on innovation and integration of new technologies while working closely with Linux communities.

Fedora ships with three main editions (Server, Workstation, and Atomic Host). The latest release of Fedora is Fedora 27.

The default desktop environment in Fedora is the GNOME the GNOME Shell being defaulted interface. You can install other desktop environments, including Xfce, KDE, MATE, LXDE, and Cinnamon. Fedora is one of the best looking Linux distributions.

Fedora Project does distribute a number of custom variations called Fedora spins. Spins are built with specific sets of software packages, offering alternative desktop environments or targeting specific interests such as gaming, security, design, scientific computing, and robotics.

You can download Fedora 27 Workstation

3) Elementary OS 0.4 Loki (0.5 Juno Expected release April 2018)

Elementary OS Desktop

This is an Ubuntu-based best-looking desktop distribution. Its initial release is dated to 2011. Elementary OS is the flagship distribution to showcase the Pantheon desktop environment, which was written from scratch using Vala and the GTK3 toolkit. With regards to usability and appearance, the desktop has some similarities with GNOME Shell and MacOS.

Some Elementary OS more interesting features include:

The fact that it is stripped down version of Ubuntu and thus does not come bloated with unnecessary software. This gives a user a chance to install any tool that he or she wants for their daily tasks. It is stable (based on Ubuntu LTS), lightweight, simple and intuitive, battery friendly and therefore suitable for day to day activities.

The current stable release version of Elementary OS is version 0.4.1, code-named Loki. It was released on 17 May 2017. The next version, 0.5, which will code-named Juno is baking and the release date is yet to be announced.

Find out more about Elementary OS

4) Solus ( Solus 4 release expected January 2018)

Solus 3.0

Well, talk Solus talk uniqueness, from its exception custom desktop environment, the Budgie (which is built upon the GNOME techs) to its package manager, the eopkg. Solus is the most innovative rolling release OS that has not been forked or based on an existing distro. It has been developed cleanly from scratch and it aims at providing sleek desktop experience.

The current release is the Solus 3, which came with major upgrades ranging from default applications such as Firefox, multimedia applications such as ffmpeg, hardware, and the kernel.

Solus has its own software center that provides important packages and libraries that allows the end user to search, install or update any package.

From my personal experience, Solus ultra fast and lightweight and works well for both Linux beginners and Laptop enthusiasts. Above all, It is resource friendly.

There is so much about Solus. Having to build it from scratch, to ensure a bug-free classy system whose software and libraries are well optimized to meet the daily demands of the end user, is actually a big job that deserves a round of an applause.

The developers of Solus announced recently that the next release of Solus ( Solus 4 )  will run Budgie 11, powered by Qt, a move from GTK with Wayland support, Read more on Softpedia website

5) Antergos (rolling release)

Antegros 17

Antergos is another classy distribution that is based on Arch Linux. Well, if you are allergic to the terminal and having to deal with how to use parted commands to install and taste an Arch distro, worry not since Antergos will provide you with a graphical installation program that can save you all that energy and let you perform the hassle-free installation.

Other outstanding features of Antergros include:

Support for a wide taste of desktop environments such as Gnome, Cinnamon (in fact it was initially named Cinnarch, Cinnamon+Arch), Xfce, Mate, KDE Plasma 5 and hence your desktop environment your choice.

It provides you with a ready-to-use system, Antergos comes with common software preinstalled and hence, once it is installed, you will be able to surf the web, listen to music, watch videos, write software e.t.c

Know little or no English? Hold on, Antergos is also multilingual. It supports multiple languages including Spanish, Galician, Catalan, English, German, and more. This, therefore, makes it available to almost everybody.

Do not forget is Arch based and hence Antergos is a rolling release distribution. Your entire system, from the base OS components to the applications that you install, will receive updates as they are released upstream-saves the trouble of having to re-install your system to make upgrades

Check more about Antergos Basics
Find out about Antergos distribution releases

6) Linux Mint

Linux Mint 18

Linux mint is elegant, easy to use, up to date and comfortable community-driven Linux distribution that is based on Debian and Ubuntu.

Linux Mint 18.3 is the latest long-term support release. This version will be supported till 2021. Linux mint uses customized Cinnamon desktop environment that provides windows like a desktop environment. This makes it easy to use for users that are so used to windows and are transitioning to Linux.

The Cinnamon desktop environment has been reported to use less computing resources as compared to others like GNOME, Unity, and KDE hence can run smoothly even on traditional hardware.

The software source tool on Mint provides a unique feature to reset the repositories to default. This comes in handy in case you tamper with the repo list. The software source tool can also help fix installation related errors.

It also comes with a cozy, lighter and faster software manager that organizes applications into categories that makes it easy to search for the various software.

There are so many features that make Linux Mint worth trying, find them at Linux Mint What's new page

7) Manjaro (rolling release)

Manjaro 17

Manjaro is a Linux distribution that is based on the independently developed Arch operating system. Unlike Arch, which is a bit unfriendly in the sense that it requires some level of expertise and willingness to read and learn in order to set it up, Manjaro bridges this gap by providing features like:

It is a rolling release distribution and hence users do not need to re-install the system in order to make updates and upgrades.

User-friendly installation process hence even a newbie can set it up and run with less hassle. Automatic detection and installation of computer’s hardware and their drivers respectively for instance graphics cards/drivers.

Dedicated software repositories to ensure delivery of fully tested and stable software packages.
Access to community-driven Arch User Repository (AUR) that enable users to compile packages from the source especially those that are not available on the official Manjaro repos.

As of this writing, the current stable release of Manjaro is 17.0.6 Codename "Gellivara". The release was made on October 27, 2017. It currently supports only x86-64 systems. Manjaro is best for both Laptops and Desktops. Being based on Arch Linux, you’ll enjoy packages available on AUR and git.

Wrapping up

Up to this point, we've covered top Linux Distributions for 2018. We'll be updating this list based on Distribution popularity and user comments/reviews, so be tuned in for updates. If you're new to Linux, feel free to test a number of distributions and see which one works best for you, I'm certain you won't miss one.

Josphat Mutai 12:05 am

About Josphat Mutai

Hat Certified Engineer with more than 2 years experience managing critical Cloud Infrastructures and Services. Passionate about Technology and loves testing and reviewing gadgets and Open-source tools.

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4 Comments

    1. Hello Dale,

      CentOS is more Server centric and is not fit for daily Desktop usage. Its Desktop packages may be outdated and you may encounter many dependency issues for most Desktop applications. I use Fedora instead which receive latest package updates from upstream. Actually, CentOS is a hardened version of Fedora.