What is Linux? Linux is a group of Unix-based operating systems that are built on top of the Linux kernel. Linux Kernel was developed by Linus Torvalds and is since developed by a group of open-source developers.
A Linux distribution "distro" is a version or a different flavor of the operating system. Different distros have different desktop environments, levels of customization, and also tools and features.
In this article, we will go through some of the most popular distros that are beginner-friendly and their support is just a Google search away.
By far, this is the most popular of them all. Ubuntu is made available to you by the canonical team. This distro comes with tons of features which include a great UI/UX, a variety of open-source software, and most importantly a large community of developers and users
Ubuntu comes with several versions: Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu server, Ubuntu for cloud and IoT, so no matter what project you are working on, there is something for everyone.
If you are a total Linux beginner, let this be your first distro.
But it doesn't end there, if you are not a fan of the GNOME desktop environment, there are spin-off versions of the operating system that have different desktop environments including Lubuntu,Kubuntu, Xubuntu.
2. Linux Mint
If you don't want to dive deep into the Linux ecosystem, and you are still caught up in Windows OS Stockholm syndrome, then this is the distro for you because it has a look and feels just like the windows operating system.
Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, so you will enjoy the same open-source software. In terms of functionality, expect the same as any other ubuntu-like distro.
It's not close to any of my favorite distros, but it gets the work done, especially for a very new beginner.
3. Kali Linux
You have probably heard of Kali Linux before, if not, let me introduce you to it. Kali Linux (formerly known as BackTrack) is the cool kid of distros. This is a Debian-based Linux distro tailor-made for penetration testing and security research. If you are interested in hacking and cyber-security then this OS will come in handy. It comes pre-loaded with tons of security tools such as NMAP, Burp Suite, and Metasploit Framework.
Three primary reasons why I love Kali Linux is:
A vast array of security tools for mobile penetration, web penetration testing, and information-gathering tools.
Kali Linux comes in three desktop environments, Gnome Shell, KDE Plasma, Xfce, and recently the rolled out an undercover mode which resembles Windows OS UI.
Kali Nethunter - A mobile platform for penetration testing.
I must say that this distro can be a little overwhelming if you don't have extensive Linux experience, but sometimes the best way to learn is to get your hands dirty from the onset.
4. Parrot OS
Now onto my favorite distro and the one I am currently using, Parrot OS. This is another security-focused distro but that's not all about it, Parrot OS comes with pre-loaded programming, hacking, privacy, and multimedia tools.
One tool I would single out is the AnonSurf, this tool tunnels your internet connection through the Tor Network giving you much-needed privacy on the internet.
Parrot OS is an all-around distro, with many great features and an amazing community. I would highly recommend it. If you want to get started right away, here is their official website.
Fedora is an outlier Linux distro, I don't have a lot of experience with it, but I had to highlight it here because it has a very large community, and it's backed by large corporations such as RedHat.
Fedora comes in a Gnome desktop environment, with a workstation, server, or IoT edition.
Install Fedora from their official website and start learning more about it today.
Bonus: Tails Os
Tails Operating system does not feature as a top Linux distro in my books, but it's worth the try.
Tails OS is a plug-and-play privacy-focused distro, that main focus is anonymity, privacy, and anti-censorship. If these are your primary concerns, then I suggest you try it out.
All you need to get started with this is a USB drive, and you are ready to surf the internet worry-free.
The Linux world is huge. These are just but a few distros that I sampled out. There are more out there and more still to come. Let me know in the comment what Linux distro are you going to get started with.
If you are a Linux OG, let me know what distro you have been using and for how long. Cheers guys!