Recommending Linux Distros For Newbies


People from within the Linux community have been recommending distributions of Linux for newbies to try for quite a long time; however, some of those recommendations are not always suitable for the newcomer to Linux.

Some members of the Linux community want newcomers to start off with a distribution of Linux that is extremely easy to use.

Whereas, there is a bunch of people within the Linux community who believe that newcomers should choose a distribution of Linux that uses the rolling release model.

While this may appear extremely confusing to the person who has never used Linux in their entire life, I would like to say to you, “There is merit in both decisions and the two opposing parties within the Linux community are not entirely wrong.”

You Will Need To Know Their Level Of Proficiency

Before a Linux user recommends any distribution of Linux to a newcomer, they will need to know the following things about them:

  • Is the person that they are recommending Linux to tech-savvy?
  • Is the person that they are recommending Linux to an average computer user?
  • Is the person that they are recommending Linux to knows very little about computers?

The logical thing to do, my friend, is to recommend a distribution of Linux that is compatible with their level of proficiency.

Therefore, you would not go out of your way to recommend Arch Linux to someone who knows very little about computers and had an extremely hard time finding their way around Windows 10.

However, you could get away with recommending Arch Linux to someone who is tech-savvy.

And, it would be okay to recommend Linux Mint to the average computer user (As a matter of fact, you could even get away with recommending Manjaro to them).

By the way, you could recommend Ubuntu to the person who knows very little about computers (But they will need to put in the work in order for them to learn something that is entirely new).

You Will Need To Know If They Care About Receiving Regular Security And Software Updates

You might be shocked to know that there are people who care very little about receiving regular security and software updates; all they care about is using their computer.

Their hatred for receiving regular security and software updates probably began when they had to wait until their Microsoft Windows computer was finished with the updating process (And that waiting period can be an eternity for some people).

You could recommend a Debian-based distribution of Linux; for example, the Linux Mint Debian Edition for the person who dreads the idea of receiving regular security and software updates (This distribution of Linux does not receive security and software updates as frequent as the other distributions of Linux).

If the person does not mind receiving regular security and software updates, you could recommend one that is a rolling release.

On Saturday the 20th of February 2021, Linux Mint’s lead developer, Clément Lefèbvre published, Update your computer!, on Linux Mint’s official blog (He stressed the importance of Linux Mint users updating their computers).

For the record, it is important that people find the time to update their computers (This applies to every distribution of Linux).

You Will Need To Know The Specs Of Their Computer

If a person has a low-spec computer; for example, one that has very little RAM, an old CPU and GPU, you would not recommend a Linux distribution that comes with the GNOME desktop environment; you would recommend a distribution of Linux that comes with the LXQt desktop environment or the Xfce desktop environment or the MATE desktop environment.

In regards to a very old 32-bit computer, you will have to recommend a distribution of Linux that still has support for 32-bit computers.

A person who has a high-spec computer ― a computer that has lots of RAM, a powerful CPU and GPU, will be able to handle almost any distribution of Linux regardless of whichever desktop environment that it comes with.

Most Linux users seldom think of recommending an appropriate distribution of Linux along with an appropriate desktop environment because they wrongfully believe that everyone has a modern computer ― a computer that has a 64-bit architecture.

The sad truth is that there are a lot of people who possess old low-spec computers.

Here in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, there is a small portion of people who do not own a computer (They would not mind acquiring an old low-spec computer).

Anyway, find out the specs of a person’s computer before recommending a distribution of Linux that comes with a specific desktop environment (That can be achieved by conducting a simple inquiry).

You Will Need To Know If They Are Fed Up Of Using Microsoft Windows

Yes, believe it or not, there are people who have grown tired of using Microsoft Windows.

Some people have grown tired of Microsoft Windows because:

  • They value their privacy.
  • They dislike the idea of purchasing new hardware every time Microsoft releases a new version of Windows.
  • They learned that they do not own the copy of Windows that they actually bought with their computer (The truth is that it is being rented to them).
  • They cannot customize their Windows operating system to their heart’s content.
  • They are tired of their computers getting viruses and spyware.
  • They are fed up with their computers slowing down.

Dear friend, the types of people that I mentioned are perfect candidates for Linux (You can introduce them to all of the wonderful things about Linux).

You Will Need To Know If They Are Interested In Linux

Truthfully speaking, not everyone is interested in using Linux on their computer.

There are people who could not give a rat’s buttocks about Linux (These people are devotees of mainstream operating systems; such as:

Chatting with a person who is not interested in using Linux is akin to a Hindu explaining to a Jehova’s Witness about the wonderful aspects of Hinduism (The Jehova’s Witness is close-minded to such things).

The Bottom-Line

Linux users will need to take the following things into consideration before recommending Linux to others:

  • The level of a person’s proficiency in computers.
  • Whether or not the person cares about receiving regular security and software updates.
  • The specs of the person’s computer.
  • If the person has grown fed up with using Microsoft Windows.
  • If the person is interested in using Linux on their computer.

As you have learned, the person who wants to recommend Linux to others has their work cut out for them.

12 thoughts on “Recommending Linux Distros For Newbies

  1. I’m not tech-savvy enough to want to bother with Linux or anything else, the Mac OS runs smoothly, rarely updates, and fits my needs perfectly. I dumped Windows years ago because of its constant virus infections, all too frequent updates, and clunky interface. In fact, I haven’t had an actual Tower in years, the MacBook laptop and iMac are all you need.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 🙂 John, there are a lot of people who view Apple products as being somewhat expensive.

      And, I am happy to learn that you have gotten your money’s worth from your iMac and your MacBook.

      Linux is not only for the tech-savvy people; it is for the regular computer user too.

      Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Your welcome, Renard. Oh yes indeed I get my money’s worth from these devices. They certainly are more costly but the tradeoff is a device that will simply continue to run perfectly. My 2017 MacBook Pro which I am typing on just now is in mint condition and runs beautifully. I did have to replace the battery a month or so ago, but that cost just $200 dollars! Much cheaper than a new unit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Most people don’t complain about the prices but about the lacking repair- and upgradeability of the hardware … and that Apple locks its users into a walled garden.


  2. “newcomers should choose a distribution of Linux that uses the rolling release model.”

    Those are not diametrically different. A distro doesn’t need to be more complicated to use just because it rolls. For example LMDE is the same level of Minty goodness as Mint static releases, only that the user never ever again needs to reinstall their system.

    I guess what truly make a distro good for beginners is the desktop environment, they won’t care about the basis underneath. Cinnamon is good for when you come from WinMac.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Linux Mint is good for those who like Windows and if they are gamer , I’d go with Pop OS for that because of the integration of games but Linux Mint can do that also with some tweaking of the Apps and installing of other apps and not to mention you’ll need to install the GPU drivers unlike POP OS which already has a Nvidia driver installed so if you have Nvidia driver that would be my recommendation for the new or average user to install Pop OS.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Thank you for your valuable input.

      I am one of those rare people who do not play games on their computers.

      Gamers would be pleased to know that they can play their games on Pop!_OS.

      Linux Mint, in my opinion, is the perfect all-rounder.

      Liked by 1 person

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