10 most popular Linux distributions, and why they exist

10 most popular Linux distributions, and why they exist


Linux is one of the most popular operating systems in the world. Thanks to its extensibility and nature as an open-source, it has led to the creation of many Linux-based distributions that have strong features. However, when something is open-source, its management often becomes the responsibility of a user. This can make it hard to get managed customer support. Packagecloud provides the easiest solution to manage package distributions for its users in their cloud.


Find out more about how Packagecloud helps its customers to manage Linux distributions.


Since Packagecloud can handle the management part, you can now choose a Linux distribution without worrying about the management burden. Let’s have a look at the 10 most popular Linux distributions to help you to choose the right distro.



Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that has three editions - Desktop, Server, and Core for IoT. Ubuntu provides a user-friendly user interface and comes with free software such as LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Transmission, and games like Sudoku and chess. In addition to the user-friendliness, the operating system is known to be more secure than Windows. It is not immune to viruses but it has a significantly lower level of exposure risk to malware or viruses. Plus, it is highly customizable, so you can change your Ubuntu environment so it is more suitable to your needs.



CentOS, compared to other Linux distributions, runs faster thanks to its lightweight and reliable software. The operating system has a longer upgrade cycle of about five years. Other distributions tend to have a shorter cycle. This means that those other distros can sometimes be less reliable due to more frequent updates. Because of this, people consider CentOS as a stable operating system.      


Fedora is also regarded as a stable and reliable operating system. Fedora offers many graphical tools and useful software for your office work, virus protection, system management, media play, education, and more. Thanks to its popularity, it is supported by a large community, which is an important factor when you choose open-source software.



Debian is a stable Linux distribution, but at the same time, it allows users to experiment with Unstable versions of packages for early adopters. The Debian distribution offers the widest range of packages among other distributions. Debian's upgrade cycle is also long, which means that you can use the same version for a long time. This prevents you from installing upgrade software and rebooting your server to apply the changes frequently. Thanks to stable software and the longer release cycle, it’s perceived as a great distribution for running servers.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is used for diverse purposes for the development and operation of software and hardware. RHEL is known for its stability and fast speed. It has good compatibility with third-party software and has a faster security patch cycle. Since it is managed by Red Hat, a multinational software company, it offers good support and allows you to find the latest information from the company’s website. 


Linux Mint

Since its first beta release in 2006, Linux Mint has become one of the most popular Linux distributions. Among many benefits, people can enjoy user-friendliness. You will be familiar with its user interface if you use Windows. There can be a learning curve when you switch to a new Linux distribution. But Linux Mint can minimize that thanks to simple UI and ease of use. Plus, it comes with many useful apps by default such as Firefox, LibreOffice, and more. It has a strong app management tool. Like App Store, you can use an internal Software Manager where you can visually search software and install what you need.



OpenSUSE offers a stable environment for its users and works well with almost all of the best Linux desktop apps. OpenSUSE is considered to be driven by the community, and it delivers what users want. The distribution has an easy way to manage software. You can go to software.opensuse.org and search tools you want and install them directly from there. Thanks to its many benefits, it is a good fit for home and office settings. When you finish setup, OpenSUSE doesn’t require you to continually upgrade your OS again and again if you don't want to. You can install it and just keep using it.



Manjaro was initially released in 2011 and it has grown to one of the most popular Linux distributions. Manjaro has unique strengths compared to other distros. Particularly, Manjaro is great at hardware support. With some distros, you will have to take extra steps to make your hardware work like installing drivers and packages manually. This can be a big pain. But Manjaro makes it much easier. It scans your hardware and automatically installs the necessary drivers and packages. Unlike other distros, you don't have to deal with a Personal Package Archive that's broken when you want to install software that's not supported by a distro's repository.



Elementary OS was first released in 2011. This Linux distribution differentiates itself from others with its own desktop environment called Pantheon. It has its own user interface and its own apps. Because of the native features, people can instantly recognize the difference. It has a minimalist design and focuses on simplicity, which makes it easy to learn. This minimalist design allows users to focus on what really matters and boosts their productivity. The OS has its own app store called AppCenter that is updated with new apps regularly.



Zorin can be a good start for those who want to experience Linux distro. Zorin UI looks very similar to Windows. In Zorin's premium editions in OS 9, you can also change the UI into what looks like Apple's Mac OS. Speed is one of Zorin's strengths. The latest Zorlin is faster than Ubuntu, as the Zorin team mentioned, and it is said to be four times faster than Windows 7. The OS supports more than 55 languages.



In this article, we explored the ten most popular Linux distributions. As was evident, they offer a wide range of features to their users. However, it can be a big challenge to try various distributions on your own. 


Packagecloud offers a cloud-based service for distributing different software packages in a unified, reliable, and scalable way, without owning any infrastructure. You only need one repository to keep all of the packages that need to be distributed across your organization’s machines regardless of OS or programming language.


Check out our free trial today.

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