One of the reasons many motivations for programmers to use a Linux OS is that it’s free and open-source.
Additionally, Linux is incredibly secure. While antivirus programs for Linux do exist, Linux viruses are incredibly rare. Many Linux distributions benefit from regular updates too, and this cutting-edge nature combined with stability makes the FOSS (free open-source software) a great choice.
But where Linux really shines for programming and development is its compatibility with virtually any programming language. You’ll appreciate access to the Linux command line which is superior to the Windows command line. And there are loads of Linux programming apps such as Sublime Text, Bluefish, and KDevelop.
If you want to learn new things and technologies such as website development, blockchain, game development, and machine learning, Linux
Distros will work as the best way to learn these technologies.
This article is all about my journey on switching from Windows 10 to Linux Mint 20, how I got easily adapted to the Linux environment, and some resources that helped me to set up a perfect Desktop environment.
Ok, now I have decided to switch to Linux but here comes the first question. Which distro will satisfy my needs both in terms of GUI and other aspects? Linux is not something new to me since I have been working with RHEL based distros in my work for the past 4 years with the command-line.
I know RHEL based distros are good for enterprises but not for personalized desktop environments, at least that’s what I am thinking till now. So I started my research to find the distro that should be easy for me to use and at the same time should have good community support if in case I ran into some problem. Among many Linux distros, I drilled down my list to 4 flavors.
Related Article: The Best Linux Distributions for Beginners
Before deciding the Distro it is necessary you formulate the list of tools/programs or packages needed and check if the distro you choose provides all those features.
For me, I use Linux for two main purposes: one is for my professional development work, writing articles, and second for my personal use like Video editing and Movies. Most of the popular software are created to be compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux like Sublime Text, VSCode, VLC Media Player, Firefox/Chromium browser. Other than these software, cloud-based services make our life easy Like Microsoft Office 365 or G Suite.
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Ubuntu is arguably one of the most popular and widely-used Linux distribution owing to its classic UI, stability, user-friendliness, and a rich repository that contains over 50,000 software packages. Furthermore, it comes highly recommended for beginners who are trying to give a shot at Linux.
In addition, Ubuntu is supported by a vast community of dedicated opensource developers who actively maintain contribute to its development to deliver up-to-date software packages, updates, and bug-fixes.
There are numerous flavors based on Ubuntu, and a common misconception is that they are all the same. While they may be based on Ubuntu, each flavor ships with its own unique style and variations to make it stand out from the rest.
In this guide, we are going to explore some of the most popular Ubuntu-based Linux variants.
Used by millions around the globe, Linux Mint is a massively popular Linux flavor based off of Ubuntu. It provides a sleek UI with out-of-the-box applications for everyday use such as LibreOffice suite, Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird, and multimedia apps such as VLC and Audacious media players.
Linux Mint Desktop
Owing to its simplicity and ease-of-use, Mint is considered ideal for beginners who are making a transition from Windows to Linux and those who prefer to steer clear from the default GNOME desktop but still enjoy the stability and the same code base that Ubuntu provides.
The latest Mint release is Linux Mint 20 and is based on the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
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Lubuntu is an open-source distribution of Linux based on Ubuntu. It is lightweight, fewer resource hungry, more energy-efficient and uses an LXQT desktop environment.
The initial release of Lubuntu has LXDE as their desktop environment but with version 18.04 it uses LXQT. If you are an existing user of Lubuntu who uses LXDE then migrating to higher versions that use LXQT will be challenging.
In that case, you have to opt for a fresh copy of Lubuntu 20.04. Let’s take a look at what official documentation has to say about upgrading from LXDE to LXQT.
Due to the extensive changes required for the shift in desktop environments, the Lubuntu team does not support upgrading from 18.04 or below to any greater release. Doing so will result in a broken system. If you are on 18.04 or below and would like to upgrade, please do a fresh install.
A good place to start before installing is the Lubuntu manual. It has a good set of documentation to understand what this distro has to offer. Since Lubuntu is a derivative of Ubuntu and it has access to Ubuntu software repositories through discovery software center, synaptic package manager, and apt package manager. It comes with Linux kernel 5.0.4-42-generic and bash version 5.0.17.
The latest version of Lubuntu is 20.04 LTS and it is supported till April 2023.
Lubuntu Release Cycle
Ubuntu and some of its derived versions use Ubiquity as an installer but Lubuntu uses the Calamares installer.
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There’s no doubt that Debian is one of the most popular distributions, especially among desktop enthusiasts and professionals alike. This guide features some of the most popular and widely used Debian-based Linux distributions.
Currently sitting at the first position in distrowatch is MX Linux, a simple yet stable desktop OS that combines elegance with solid performance. MX Linux initially came with XFCE desktop but has spread its wings to include KDE (MX 19.2 KDE) Linux and MX Linux Fluxbox (MX-Fluxbox 19.2) environments that were made available in August and September 2020 respectively.
MX-Linux 19.2 KDE is available in 64-bit and features an assortment of MX Linux tools, snap technology from AntiX as well as the AntiX live USB the system. Additionally, the KDE version also provides the Advanced Hardware Support (AHS) whose primary focus is to support the latest hardware such as the AMD GPU and the very latest Intel graphic drivers.
Also, you will get the latest out-of-the-box applications for daily use such as LibreOffice 6.1.5, Firefox 79, Thunderbird 68.11, and VLC 3.0.11, to mention a few.
Being a midweight distribution, MX Linux comes highly recommended as a distribution for ageing PCs thanks to its low-resource consumption while at the same time giving users a sleek UI and user-friendly experience. You can get started with just 1GB RAM, 10 GB hard drive, and either Intel or AMD processor.
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Apart from GNOME, KDE Plasma is one of the powerful and dominant desktop environments that boasts a stunning appearance with polished icons and an amazing look-and-feel. KDE Plasma has evolved and is more crisp and elegant as ever.
This review takes a deep dive into some of the Best Linux distros that can support KDE Plasma 5.
Manjaro is available for download in 3 Desktop editions: GNOME, XFCE, and KDE Plasma. But it’s the KDE Plasma edition that stands out from the rest with it’s downright elegant and flashy KDE Plasma 5 environment. At the time of penning down this guide, the latest version is KDE 5.18.4.
It comes with a modern and chic look, with some really cool menus that you can style to match your taste/preference. There’s no denying about it’s truly stunning and user-friendly UI that simple to use. Everything works out of the box, and there are you spoilt for choice as to the enhancements you can apply to improve the look-and-feel.
The default file manager is the Dolphin manager which has replaced Konqueror which also served as a web browser.
Manjaro Dolphin Manager
You can easily set your preferred desktop background, change the theme, style of widgets, and so much more. KDE Plasma is tailored for users who want a user-friendly experience with a touch of simplicity and flexibility.
At the time of writing this review, the latest Manjaro available on KDE is Manjaro 20.0.3 which is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit.
By default, Kubuntu ships with KDE, the benefit of which is the combination of the merits of Ubuntu with a modern, lightweight and appealing UI. For those of you riding the Plasma wave, you might already be aware that the latest release. Kubuntu 20.10 ( Groovy Gorrila ) ships with KDE Plasma 5.19 as of 9th June 2020.
KDE 5.19 was developed with an emphasis on consistency and unification of desktop elements and widgets in mind. This enhances usability and gives users better control over their desktop. Generally, components are much easier to use, giving users a pleasurable experience.
Once you log in, the first thing that you will notice is the new eye-catching wallpaper that adds a splash of color to your desktop. Feel free to click anywhere on the desktop and select the option “Configure desktop” from the menu and select a different wallpaper.
You get three themes to choose from Kubuntu, Breeze & Breeze Dark. Various widgets such as system monitor and media playback applet have been overhauled to yield a new refreshing look. There are many other subtle improvements that have been added to improve the general appeal and improve user experience.
KDE 5.19 also ships with Dolphin file manager that includes the subsurface clipping feature which minimizes the flickering of applications, thereby reducing eye strain. Additionally, icons on the title bar have been recolored to match the color scheme, effectively making them easily visible.
Kubuntu Dolphin Manager
KDE 5.19 also packs a new set of beautifully designed avatars to choose from when creating new users.
The KDE Kubuntu 20.04 LTS is only available in 64-bit architecture.
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