Users are often confused when they first come to Linux about which distribution they should be using whether Ubuntu or Arch. These users then go and check out the distributions listed at Distrowatch. Here are a handful of Linux operating systems that could be useful for a beginner or everyday user.
Linux Mint is a “straight out of the box” operating system. Linux Mint is easy to install as any other Linux distribution. It comes with a full set of applications to get you started. They are the best of the applications available for Linux.
Ubuntu is the first Linux based operating system people try because it is the one that is well known. Ubuntu is number 2 in the rankings because most people have heard of Ubuntu they go straight to the downloads page rather than to Distrowatch.
Ubuntu is as easy to install as Linux Mint. The installers are virtually the same. Ubuntu is definitely a Linux based operating system for the everyday user.
Debian is one of the oldest Linus operating system as it has been around since long and it provides the base for hundreds of other distributions including Ubuntu and Linux Mint. Debian contains a set of repositories with an incredibly large number of applications available for users to install.
Debian only install free software and there are no third party or proprietary products included by default. New users will find it a bit difficult setting up Debian compared to Ubuntu or Linux Mint but is fairly easy to use.
openSUSE is a community distribution with big backing. openSUSE gives a number of desktop environments to choose from including Gnome, KDE, XFCE and LXDE. The operating system is stable and it is relatively easy to set up and use. openSUSE has a fairly large set of applications which come installed by default.
Fedora is cutting edge. Fedora explores the latest stuff. It tries out new things more than sticking on to stability.
New users may find its installer a bit of tricky. Fedora comes with a fairly full set of applications installed and as with the other distributions you get things like Firefox, LibreOffice, Evolution, Rhythmbox and the Totem media player.
New users to Linux should definitely try this operating system because it provides the closest experience to what they are probably used to. There is great support and a great monthly magazine and the community is very friendly and supportive.
Mageia is another operating system that new users to Linux should try out. Mageia is released for almost all desktop environments including Gnome, KDE, XFCE and LXDE. It is now easy to install there is a decent installation guide available to do it. Mageia control centre which lets you manage your whole system with good hardware support.
The setup of Manjaro is fairly straight forward and it performances very well on older and modern hardware.
Manjaro provides an instant entry point into the world of Arch Linux. Manjaro is potentially a little bit steeper than the likes of Mint, Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS.
Arch is one system which needs expertise in Linux with good computer skills. Though Arch will provide you a great base to build and you can tailor your operating system the way you want it you will have to invest your time and learn it on the way. If you can read and follow instructions and think about what you are doing as you are doing it then there is definitely merit in trying Arch out. The documentation for Arch is excellent. Arch is popular because of the power it puts into your own hands.
Puppy is not really an operating system. New and inexperienced users should not therefore use its as their main operating system. Puppy is a system designed to run from a USB pen drive or from DVD. All your favourites can be installed including FireFox and VLC but there are a host of lightweight alternatives installed by default.