Choose a distribution

Because there is no "one GNU/Linux", finding what you need can be difficult. Here are our choice of three beginner-friendly, widely used distributions.

Note: There are plenty of distributions to choose from and compare.
This is our selection for newcomers. These links are not commercial.

Debian is one of the oldest operating systems based on the Linux kernel. It has the reputation of being a very stable and secure GNU/Linux distribution which is backed by a well-organized community of developers and users. For this reason it is popular for use on personal computers as well as servers. Debian is also the basis for many other distributions, most notably Ubuntu.

We recommend this distribution if you are committed to freedom in your computing.

  • Debian screenshot
    Accessing applications in the GNOME desktop environment.
  • Debian screenshot
    LibreOffice Writer open, editing a standard document.
  • Debian screenshot
    Shotwell photo manager

Ubuntu is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian. The philosophy behind Ubuntu is that every computer user should be able to download and use their software free of charge, that anyone should be able to use their software in the language of their choice, and that anyone should be able to use all software regardless of disability. The result is an operating system that has excellent hardware support, is easy to use and pleasant on the eyes.

We recommend this friendly and complete distribution if you are looking for an easy way to try and step into GNU/Linux.

  • Ubuntu screenshot
    Accessing applications in the GNOME desktop environment.
  • Ubuntu screenshot
    Firefox web browser
  • Ubuntu screenshot
    GNOME music player

The distribution by the long-time prominent GNU/Linux developer company Red Hat. The default layout is similar to Debian, but there are differences in the chosen applications, install protocols and several technical elements. The Fedora developers are committed to innovation, which is reflected by incorporating new technologies early on, providing the latest in stable and robust, useful, and powerful free software.

We recommend this distribution if you wish to learn more about the workings of a GNU/Linux system, security configuration, or work on software development.

  • Fedora screenshot
    Accessing applications in the GNOME desktop environment.
  • Fedora screenshot
    Desktop overview with two applications open.
  • Fedora screenshot
    Software manager open, install/remove applications.