Help me find a fitting distro

Hello there!

After some lurking on r/Unixporn and its Discord, I'm more and more tempted to try Linux as a daily driver. While I'm by no means a pro, I've been using WSL at work the past year and generally I can fiddle around finding solutions when something doesn't work.

These being said, the main requirements I would have from a distro is to be able to run League of Legends (saw that it's pretty straight forward using Lutris) and not be insanely complex from the get-go (wouldn't want to jump straight into something like Arch), I intend to use something like Hyprland.

So far I am split between OpenSuse Tumbleweed, NixOS, Fedora and EndeavourOS, but would gladly hear alternatives.

LE: Read (and tried to reply to) most messages. I will come back with an update once I decide my pick and see how it goes. Thanks everyone!

pipyui, (edited )
pipyui avatar

Have distro hopped over the years - most recently Manjaro to Fedora to Endeavour, but haven't found the one that's quite perfect for me.
That said, I'd make a few recommendations based on the person I'd be "marketing" to:

  1. New to Linux, looking for polish: Mint
    Mint is built off the well-known Ubuntu, polished a step further. It's in my experience the simplest to use and most generally polished of the Linux offerings. The community generally isn't as catered to power users, but if you care more about your time than about customization, I'd recommend Mint.

  2. Looking for Stable/Modern, willing to jump thru a few hoops: Fedora
    Fedora has come a long way over the years. It's far more stable, polished, and accessible than ever before. I'd hazard to call it my top recommendation, BUT, third-party software management and installation can be something of a nightmare. COPR is approximately equivalent to the AUR of Manjaro/Endeavour/Arch below, but at this time very obtuse and difficult to learn or work with. Some day you'll want a package that exists in COPR, and that day won't be fun for you.

  3. Need apps you can't find anywhere else: Endeavour/Manjaro
    Forget bleeding-edge packages and rolling release - the Arch User Repository (AUR) is hands-down the greatest feature on offer from Arch-based distros. The AUR is a repository of packages created by users that aren't supported by the main repos. If ever there's a time you need a piece of software and you can't find it anywhere else, the AUR's your best bet.
    That said, I found/find both Manjaro and now Endeavour to be a little rough around the edges, and the consequence of rolling-release and bleeding-edge software is a system that isn't always working just right.

  4. Looking to learn, straight into the frying pan: Arch
    Same benefits and drawbacks of Endeavour/Manjaro above, but if you want to set up your system service-by-service, as lean as you want, Arch is there for you. A great experience if you just need an excuse to "try" putting an OS together piece by piece, even if you don't ultimately keep it in the long run.

Desktop Environments
The great DE debate. Nobody can tell you what's right and wrong here, but I have a few general breakdowns of the "big three".
GNOME: If simplicity and elegance is your style. You sacrifice customization potential for cohesion and polish.
KDE: Modern. Powerful. Usually polished out the gate. Can be a bit much if you're trying to tweak it tho. My personal choice.
XFCE: Less modern, more friendly to lower-end systems.

Whelp that's it from me, hope it helps!

hikeandbike,

Great write-up. Arch was my first experience with Linux on the desktop, and I learned so much. Would highly recommend it, even if you don’t want to stick with it.

GrumpyRobot,

I would also throw PopOS next to Mint. Great for beginners, especially gamers.

Balssh,
Balssh avatar

Very useful reply, many thanks!

tibi,

I agree with most of the suggestions, but I would recommend staying away from Manjaro. They don’t seem to know what they are doing.

Their idea of releasing updates is delaying them from upstream (Arch) with little testing. Updates frequently break the distro. They let their SSL certificates expire way too many times.

leifrstein,

Void Linux is what I use and it’s by far my favourite, can’t recommend it enough. It’s rolling release while also being very stable, has a small but very engaged and welcoming community.

Wheeljack,

Use Ubuntu until you have a first-hand reason why you should use something else.

It's not perfect, but it's still the 800 lb gorilla, and it's what things have the least chance of not working with. It has the most eyes on it and the most immediate solutions when you google a problem.

If you don't like Gnome, then use Kubuntu.

riidom,
riidom avatar

To add to this: Try to avoid adding software via the software center, instead prefer flatpak, appimage or plain .deb if there is no alternatives. (Application) software in the official repos is often outdated.

I also wanna stress the point that you should not only research different distros, but also whether you would prefer KDE or Gnome. There are other desktops, but for your first time, I'd go as mainstream as possible.

tibi,

After having tried many distros, I settled on Fedora. It’s a boring choice, but it has been a great experience for me. Everything pretty much works without issue, and the OS gets out of the way for me to do my work.

I also think that having a trustworthy company and team behind it matters. It’s hard to trust some obscure distro to provide proper support, security updates, and proper testing.

Also, while I enjoy tinkering and messing around, my main OS is not one of the thinks I would want to tinker with. I have work to do, and I need a stable platform i can rely on.

Ozzy,

I know this thread is old, but let me add this to the conversation: Look into distrobox, it essentially allows you to use packages from any distro inside of your current one.

Warning: not space efficient

That said, this takes the question of “what packages do I want” out of the equation when choosing a distro

Balssh,
Balssh avatar

Thanks for the suggestion, I decided to give EndeavourOS a try and so far I'm really happy with it.

basedtheorem, (edited )
basedtheorem avatar

I was in a similar situation; I was a windows power user and I jumped straight into nixos. I do not recommend it for someone completely new to linux.

Having to deal with new concepts and confusing terminology like window/display/login managers, a new file system, bash, desktop environments, etc., and then having to learn nix (my first dive into a functional language), nixpkgs, NixOS, AND all the noise surrounding flakes was incredibly frustrating. After a week I gave up and jumped ship.

I played around with void linux for a bit (followed jake@linux's playlist on YT, it's a fantastic guide), had a blast ricing my desktop, got comfortable running without a desktop environment, then went back to nix a month later. By that point I was familiar enough with linux and just had to learn the nix ecosystem (still difficult, but bearable).

Things started to click, especially once I had read the nix pills in its entirety. Now with my entire system configured with flakes I just can't see myself ever going back :>

I never tried the beginner friendly distros like mint or ubuntu so I can't comment on them, but I was really happy with void. Yes it's doesn't hold your hand, but it very quickly taught me a lot about how everything fits together. I'm sure arch provides a similar experience.

Balssh,
Balssh avatar

Very informative reply, thanks!

staticlifetime,
staticlifetime avatar

Unless you're really inept to not be able to handle adding a repo, and I'd argue that you'd probably have a much harder time with Linux in general, you are not going to have a problem with Fedora Linux.

rankshank,

From your post I think you've got enough of a power user inclination to reccommend Arch. Depending on how quickly you need a system up don't be afraid of trying one of it's derivatives such as endeavor, but there's tons of good guides and documentation in the arch eco system that a technically inclined person should definitely be able to swim. From my experience starting with Manjaro (wouldn't reccomend now) and quickly swapping to Arch, it's very doable and a good way to learn how parts of your operating system interact.

Balssh,
Balssh avatar

Yeah I am more than sure I am capable enough to install/config Arch, although not so sure if I'm willing at the moment to jump straight into it. Still on my list thought.

hugz, (edited )

Ubuntu is the common bistro that everyone gets started on. Lots of advanced users continue to use it, because it works well.

Use Ubuntu or Mint or Pop_OS (both of which are modified varieties of Ubuntu). Watch some Youtube videos to compare them. Pop_OS is supposed to be particularly good for gaming, but I'm not sure why

IncidentalIncidence,

NixOS is a bad choice for a new user. EndeavourOS is okay, but arch-based distros (even ones with nice graphical installers) can get overwhelming for a beginner if an update breaks something and you have to figure out why and fix it, which isn't an irregular occurence for me. Wouldn't recommend tumbleweed for similar reasons.

I think the best mix of easy customizability, beginner-friendliness, and stability are probably offered by fedora and mint, personally.

backhdlp,
@backhdlp@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

One I haven't seen here is Arco Linux. It's designed as a kind of learning path from getting to know basic Linux concepts to being able to install Arch on your own, so I think it's a pretty good early choice, tho probably not that good for the first choice.

General recommendation is that you choose something with good community support or at least good documentation. You might also not want a rolling release, because they tend to be more on the unstable side.

tophu,
tophu avatar

I'm going to suggest one I'm not seeing here; OpenSUSE Tumbleweed. I cut my teeth on Tumbleweed for years, and it has the pros of a rolling release while YaST provides the tools needed to have a stable base that rivals that of Ubuntu. Gaming is extremely easy to get set up, and you can choose pretty much any major desktop, although I recommend XFCE.

kudzu,

Yeah I love OpenSUSE

euphoriainafruit,

I tried tumbleweed, but zypper was just agonizingly slow. Is there any way to speed up the updates?

bedrooms,

Yes, set the right mirror for your repo. The closest one is usually the right one.

OctopusOnFire,

I like Fedora, you get the best of many worlds. It is as bleeding edge as a non rolling release distro can be, so you’ll get updated versions of hyprland, for example… Fedora’s package manager is super-easy to learn and I would say it is one of those “just works” kind of distro that still allows you to take it wherever you want. If you want it for gaming I would recommend Nobara specifically, because it is a Fedora-based distro tweaked for gaming and maintained by people specialized in that field. I don’t like Ubuntu (Snaps suck) or even Linux Mint (Cinnamon is ugly, sorry). I really love Opensuse and it has a ton of things going for it (Yast and their involvement with btrfs and snapper, and mostly chameleons!), but I’ve got to say Fedora has given me a better experience after using both extensively.

Balssh,
Balssh avatar

Highly considering Fedora hearing it's one of the most stable/bleeding edge distros available.

OctopusOnFire,

You can’t go wrong with either Fedora or Opensuse TW. It’ll be down to personal preference.

danielmark_n_3d,

I recommend Fedora. It's rock solid while also having really up-to-date packages coming often. Not bleeding edge but deffo leading edge. Also has a decent amount of info online when you hit an issue.

I used to use Ubuntu but the older packages, and Canonical with their obsession with SNAP and becoming a baby Microsoft kept me away.

Arch is a good option and TONS of information online for help (some of the best) but it is a bit more DIY and is a rolling release so very up-to-date package but keep clear of Manjaro, just do base Arch. The folk managing it keep dropping the ball so not worth the headache

melroy,
@melroy@kbin.melroy.org avatar

Linux Mint is perfect! Avoid Ubuntu, which has a very shady history... Despite Mint being based on Ubuntu/Debian, it doesn't have any spying software. Like Ubuntu used to send all the search queries to Ubuntu when you were searching locally on your system for a file or an image.

Balssh,
Balssh avatar

I'm not as focused on privacy (don't stone me to death pls), but I am not very keen on Ubuntu, having dabed a bit into it in the past.

melroy,
@melroy@kbin.melroy.org avatar

Well you can in that case still try out Linux Mint.. I mean, why not?

sadreality,

Windows been doing this since at least win10.

Can't click shit with out it starting to ping bill gates or live.com

  • All
  • Subscribed
  • Moderated
  • Favorites
  • linux
  • everett
  • Youngstown
  • normalnudes
  • cubers
  • mdbf
  • slotface
  • thenastyranch
  • tacticalgear
  • kavyap
  • DreamBathrooms
  • khanakhh
  • rhentai
  • ethstaker
  • magazineikmin
  • bokunoheroacademia
  • rosin
  • Leos
  • osvaldo12
  • cisconetworking
  • InstantRegret
  • modclub
  • GTA5RPClips
  • Durango
  • relationshipadvice
  • tester
  • lostlight
  • HellsKitchen
  • sketchdaily
  • All magazines