I hear quite a bit of argument between linux users about which linux distros (distributions of linux or GNU/Linux) are “best”. Some swear by fedora for it’s backing and ease of use. Some swear by gentoo because of its configurability. Some swear by arch linux because of its lightweight and KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach, and because “btw I use arch” ????. And then there’s Linux From Scratch (LFS) users even.
At some point or another I’ve used pretty much every distro, fringe mainstream, or both. Ubuntu, debian, arch linux, gentoo, SUSE, and derivatives. And as customizable as some might be, or whatever ones give me some sort of bragging rights, I always go back to Ubuntu.
Before I explain why I choose ubuntu, let’s run through some of the more popular distros and what they have to offer.
These are the SUSE distros. They all are backed or developed in some way or another by Red Hat, a company well known for its contributions to Linux and the enterprise.
All of these distros have higher security out of the box with features such as SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux, a way to lockdown file access beyond standard file permissions. See https://www.redhat.com/en/topics/linux/what-is-selinux). They also are relatively easy to use day to day, with RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) being geared towards enterprise environments.
Ubuntu is developed by the excellent folks at Canonical, and Pop!_OS by System76. These are highly stable distros with excellent software and hardware support.
Ubuntu has Snaps, Canonical’s in-house app packaging system and through that things like Livepatch to keep your device up to date without rebooting.
Ubuntu is often recommended to newbie linux users for its ease of use and support by developers.
Debian is what ubuntu is based on, and it is extremely stable albeit not always up to date.
Arch Linux/Manjaro/Arc Linux
Arch linux is a beginner unfriendly distro aimed at people who want to learn linux or just want to brag. Manjaro takes some of the complications out of Arch Linux, but because of that some linux users dislike it.
Arch Linux has no installer, and many of daily use packages aren’t in the main repositories but requires you to build them from the Arch User Repository (AUR). All in all, not for your everyday beginner linux users.
Gentoo/LFS/other DIY distros
These distros require you to compile everything from source, offering a high degree of customization but making updates take longer and offering a very steep learning curve.
Ubuntu and why I choose it
All these linux distros have their perks but at the end of the day, they’re all just different approaches to an operating system.
I choose ubuntu for its ease of use, customization, solid backing, hardware support, and software support.
My server runs Ubuntu LTS and my laptop the latest release. On both I have no difficulty with hardware compatibility, eg my laptop has nVidia Optimus which on some distros takes some serious witchcraft to make work. In ubuntu it’s one check box during install and it just works.
I don’t have to spend time trying to figure out if package X is compatible or what hacks or alternatives I have to employ to get what I need done.
In addition, it is highly customizable, more or less so depending on your flavour of choice (XFCE, MATE, KDE, LXQT, etc) with very little requiring advanced Linux knowledge.
At the end of the day it’s user choice.
Everyone has different tastes or needs and different linux distros may suite them better. But for me, and for plenty of others Ubuntu is perfect fit.
What do you prefer? Let me know in the comments!