Guide to choosing a Linux distro for beginners

Tram Ho

I. Introduction

In the first article in the series, I gave a general introduction to Linux: users, definitions, advantages compared to Windows. Although I am currently stuck with ideas + the level of support for the previous post is not much + other work needs to be solved, but I still want to write more articles about Linux. So today, I will take the time to write down a few personal experiences when using Linux distributions and how to choose the right one for you. Hope it will be useful for those of you who are interested or are learning about Linux. The details below are all personal experience using Linux, not meant to discriminate which is best, contraindicated for users of Unix, Arch Linux, Slackware, etc.

For Windows and MacOS, you only have 1 choice and Microsoft and Apple will not be satisfied with you curiously tweaking their pet operating system. In contrast to Linux, you have so many options that this can even be considered a minus point of Linux. I have a habit when I go to the store to buy things that is to choose the cheapest thing first, try it, feel unsatisfied and keep trying a few other things, then finally come back to choose the first one. I don’t know when this habit has existed and I wonder if my friends and acquaintances have someone like that? Probably because I have little money, but I like to smell fragrant things + strange things. I also did the same routine with Linux. So there is content to write this article

II. Linux distributions (that I have tried)

When I first came into contact with Linux through the Operating System course at university, I was not really impressed with it (probably because I was busy with other things at the time). The Linux-based operating system that I use is Ubuntu . The instructor only shows projects with requirements such as writing some simple C programs (like HelloWorld), writing a Unix shell in C, writing a kernel module in C and inserting it into the kernel. I also spent some time researching and doing exercises but absolutely no interest at all, fortunately I still passed the subject. I also despise it a bit because the feeling of using the terminal is worse than using an interface like Windows. This is probably my big mistake and now I’m quite regretting that I didn’t know about Linux sooner.


Ubuntu’s logo

Ubuntu is one of the distributions first released in 2004 based on Debian – a distribution dating back to 1993 of the GNU/Linux operating system. Ubuntu is quite popular among Linux siblings and is released by Canonical Ltd – a private company founded and funded by South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth to support commercial and service for Ubuntu Linux and related projects. Fortunately, Ubuntu has user interface support, although not as complete as Windows, but still acceptable. The main advantages of Ubuntu over other distributions are its user friendliness, large forum & community, extensive documentation & Q&A.

After learning Ubuntu at school, I tried to tinker with some of the following Linux distributions:

  • Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu) with an improved user interface over Ubuntu


uses less memory, the software manager works faster, the software source manager has more features, the Timeshift application helps to backup the state etc. I remember creating a bootable USB from the Linux Mint ISO and reinstalled it almost 30 times on my poor Dell Inspiron laptop just to master the process of installing a GNU/Linux operating system. I rate this as one of the distros most similar to Windows in terms of interface (windows, folders, settings, taskbar, start menu, etc.)

  • Lubuntu : a lean version of Ubuntu . I installed it after feeling that the laptop is still slow despite removing Windows 10 and installing Ubuntu. Lubuntu can run on computers with only 1G of RAM because it is more compact in terms of installation ISO size and available applications. In terms of core features, Lubuntu is not too different from Ubuntu, but in terms of interface, it is simpler and somewhat cruder because it uses LXQt. Of course, you can still change the desktop environment to your liking because of the ease of editing of GNU/Linux.


  • Kali Linux : for security people because this distribution comes pre-installed with specialized toolkits for information gathering, analysis, assessment, attack, exploit vulnerabilities, packet theft, and law. This is also the distribution I use to learn Computer Security and do some practical exercises such as denial of service attacks, SQL Injection, certificate generation for HTTPS. I quite like Kali’s default Zsh shell because it’s more beautiful and useful than Bash or Sh Really when booting this operating system, I feel like I’m a real hacker, despite my knowledge in this area is still quite limited. However, because there are many such tools available, Kali is heavier than other distributions that I have used.


  • CentOS : a free version of Red Hat Enteprise Linux. Because it is based on the Linux distribution of the Red Hat corporation, it is sure that the stability will be better than other distributions. In addition, the configuration, structure of installation files, and names of services on CentOS are also slightly different from the above distributions, but not much. Instead of using apt to install software packages, use the yum command.


III. Which distribution should I choose?

Most distributions of Linux-based operating systems share many similarities. Their essence still has the core components of a Unix-like operating system such as Windows or MacOS, only differing in some characteristics of the file system, network, process, disk, system monitor, translation. service, security, etc. As I mentioned in part 1, depending on your needs, you can choose a suitable Linux distribution. If you want to learn to get used to Linux at first, I recommend choosing Ubuntu because it’s beginner-friendly (or Linux Mint ). If you want to dabble in hacking things, try Kali Linux as it has almost all you need. If you want to run a stable server , choose distributions such as Red Hat Enteprise Linux, CentOS, Fedora . If you want to challenge yourself even more, choose Arch Linux, Slackware . Also if you like you can also try Gentoo, openSUSE, Fedora, FreeBSD, etc. Regardless of which Linux distribution you choose, remember they are just tools to solve computing problems and serve people’s needs. use, so don’t worry too much or spend too much time thinking about the best option. Instead, just roll around and practice with it, I hope you find love with Linux.

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Source : Viblo