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Abhijit Hota
Abhijit Hota

Posted on • Updated on

Suggest me the right Linux distro

Hello, good people of Dev! I need some help from the Linux users out there.

I've been thinking to switch to Linux (again) after being fed up (again) with Windows' constant lagging on my PC. I'm a web developer and just want a distro which is performant, good looking and has an abundancy of all the required packages (without any workarounds).

The distros in the banner are the ones I've been considering.

  • Linux Mint Cinnamon: I've heard it's very good for web development. It's lightweight and performant and I've heard some good things about Cinnamon. I've used Mint in the past (like 5-6 years ago).

  • Ubuntu 20.04: I've used Ubuntu and have been considering it only for: familiarity and availability of a large user-base. My main pet-peeves while using Ubuntu 18.04 were the unavailability of these following features:

    • In Windows, the clipboard is at my disposal when I pressed Win + v. I didn't really search for a clipboard manager that does this.
    • Blue light filter. I tried using Redshift but for some reason, I couldn't get it to work.
    • Hibernation
  • Manjaro: I don't know anything about it.

  • Peppermint OS: I was considering it because some people claim it to be super performant.

  • Pop!_OS: Super pretty! Lots of support for it on the comments below! I'll probably end up using this.

So, suggest me anything that you think will suit me!

  • Web Development
  • Kinda done with the lag-ful experience in Windows.
  • Will run on Dual boot alongside Windows (which I'll mainly use for Photoshop, Premiere, etc).
  • Wants small important features which were mentioned as pet peeves of Ubuntu above.

Laptop Specs:

  • 1 TB HDD
  • Intel Core i5 8th Gen @1.60GHz
  • 8GB RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce MX130

Thanks!

Edit: add laptop specs


Update

Thank you everyone for the suggestions and inputs! By far I've cut the list short to Mint Cinnamon and Pop!_OS. I looked at Fedora too but as I'm not really familiar with it, I doubt if I'll be using it.

Thanks for your inputs on Manjaro and letting me know about other cool distros like Zorin OS and Elementary OS. I'll surely try them out in the future!

P.S. I researched a bit and found out that the hibernating feature is not available out of the box in any Linux distribution(?).

Update: Aug 2021

I bought an SSD and shifted to Linux Mint and have been using it for a month.

  • I don't miss the hibernate feature because booting & shutting down takes less than 10 seconds
  • I use CopyQ for clipboard management
  • Yet to find a Redshift alternative that can be turned on at any time and not just during the night

Thanks everyone for the inputs!

Top comments (131)

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley

Unpopular opinion, but Ubuntu has improved a lot since 18.04. You mentioned the lack of a blue light filter, and that's become a system setting in 20.04. Still no clipboard manager, though, but I'd be surprised if there isn't an application that does that. GNOME is constantly evolving, and theming works way better, so if look is what you're concerned about, don't worry. I have about six different themes I've installed - some that look like MacOS Big Sur, some that look like Windows 7, and some that look plain cool 😎. I'd suggest giving it another try!

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kailyons profile image
Loralighte

I feel like Ubuntu's improvements usually come in LTS releases. Between 18.04 and 20.04 there is ton of change and improvements but between 20.04 and 20.10 and the upcoming 21.04 there is very little improvement other than bug fixes and maybe some updated software. This is good for an enterprise setting but at the same time I feel like the true improvements come in distributions like elementryOS, FerenOS, ZorinOS, Linux Mint, and others. Yes these use Ubuntu as a base, but they improve on their systems in their own special ways. Ubuntu is becoming the new Debian. Used by enterprise, not great for consumers, but survives because of its business use and the forks that make it good for the consumer markets.

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micahlt profile image
Micah Lindley

Hmm, that's an interesting perspective. You're totally right about the LTS release schedule, and that's intentional. However, I'd argue that not adding extra features and breaking changes in between LTS releases makes Ubuntu more user friendly. Think about Windows 10. When's the last time we got a major UI revamp or breaking features? The best consumer OS's don't change drastically, so they can be learned and consistent. The more dynamically changing ones like elementary, Zorin, and Mint are aimed for users hungry for new features and awesome UI changes.

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kres0345 profile image
Kresten Laust

Just wanted to add, Windows releases breaking updates pretty often. It's probably at least every second large update (not major, just large).

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loftwah profile image
Dean W Lofts

Something I noticed with the windows update breaks is that it was almost always the newer functionality I poke around with and not the stuff that the bulk of their users would be using.

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

I found CopyQ! (as a clipboard manager)

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mdhesari profile image
Mohammad Fazel

I would like to know more about that mac os big sur theme bud :)

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loftwah profile image
Dean W Lofts

I never lost love for Ubuntu, it is the distro that I used while getting familiar with Linux so I likely have an attachment.

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codebird profile image
Hicham Mallah

Gpaste is awesome

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_ibrahimturan profile image
Δ°brahim Turan • Edited on

If you have laptop that have nvidia graphics card I highly recommend POP_OS. You can start use with almost 0 config that's amazing.

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psvpl profile image
Piotr Szeptynski

My first impression with PopOS was "How the f. I minimize a window. Are they serious?". Then I removed it a few minutes later, going back to Zorin.

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stellarbeam profile image
Kashinath Patekar

This is something they should've done by default... But any way, the trick is to install GNOME Tweaks and then enable the minimize and maximize buttons.

You can also enable battery percentage from there ( shows up in top bar).

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denisvalcke profile image
Denis

They are very focused on keyboard driven flows. But you can add the min/max controls with a simple Gnome Extension.

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cadams profile image
Chad Adams • Edited on

If you’re new to Linux stick with Ubuntu based distros because there’s an endless amount of guides out there. Ubuntu, PopOS, ElementaryOS, Mint or Zorin OS are all good. I’ve tried them all and honestly they are all the same just different desktop environments.

If you are coming from Windows: ZorinOS and Linux Mint will feel most familiar.

If you’re coming from Mac: Elementary OS or Zorin OS (Mac layout)

If you’re a developer and want to be very producitive but open to a new desktop environment: Ubuntu, PopOS, ZorinOS. Gnome desktop is my favorite personally cause its very producitive.

I put ZorinOS in all the ones above because you can switch the layout between Windows, Mac and Gnome. It’s actually really awesome.

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cacarrpdxweb profile image
Christopher Carr

" ... there’s an endless amount of guides out there ..."

The Arch Wiki is pretty darn comprehensive.

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

Whoa! The thing that shocked me was ZorinOS supported MS Office?!

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soubhagya1234 profile image
soubhagya1234

Actually in every ubuntu based Linux you can configure for MS office very easily but it is not not working that well as it 8s working in windows. You can use the web version of office for basic things. And for other Linux it is slightly more difficult to set up and zorin is come with the base setup only.

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cadams profile image
Chad Adams

Well it comes with wine preinstalled so it can run most windows apps. You can install wine on any linux distro.

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

Oh. I was aware of Wine. I thought it supported MS Office without Wine. Thanks for the clarification!

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bigdogboy profile image
BigDogBoy

If you're looking for each to use, Windowsesque OS, look at Windows/Linux FX; it's absolutely mind boggling, how "look alike" it is; it's practically a Linux born Windows doppelganger, in both form, "AND" (relative) function. Its' WINE implementation is better, than that of any of I've ever seen. It can run the Windows XP version of pinball, unaltered, "AND" without "any" issues, even sound runs smoothly; first run, OoTB, no issues, no alteration; you can also (just the same as in Windows) edit the in game control keys, and they work!!!!!

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swapnil0709 profile image
swapnil

Hi, I would say I tried almost all the distros. Pop os seems to be the best option. But my only issue was battery life. It is not great as compared to windows so I found a perfect way which works for me. I upgraded to ssd. Trust me on this, windows 10 is terrible at hdd but at ssd it is very good and fast. I use WSL for web development and I like it even more than a linux distro.

So I would suggest if battery life is not a factor for you then go with Pop os otherwise WSL works really great in windows.

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

Hello.

windows 10 is terrible at hdd

Indeed, Swapnil. I've experienced it. I tried with WSL but it's not as fast.
My only options now were to upgrade to an SSD or change my OS. The battery life issue you said is common in all Linux distros I guess? Because I faced the same problem in Ubuntu 18.04.

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swapnil0709 profile image
swapnil

Yes, battery life issue is same because of drivers support being not that great in linux. Wsl works great for me. Try exploring more and see what works best for you. Do try pop os and manjaro. As I have used them for good amount of time in the past for development.

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

Try exploring more and see what works best for you

Will do when I get some free time in the future! πŸ˜„

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hasindulanka profile image
Hasindu Lanka

Use TLP ( TLP UI ) . It's a power management tool for Linux and it boosted my battery time from 2 hours to 15 hours of streaming

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nikhilshetty13 profile image
nikhilshetty13 • Edited on

For battery issue
You can install Slimbook Battery 3 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and above by adding the official Slimbook PPA to your list of software sources.

To add the PPA run this command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:slimbook/slimbook

Followed by this command to install the battery
optimizer applet:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install slimbookbattery

When everything has downloaded and installed you will be able to launch the app from the apps grid. Search for β€œBattery” and launch the tool.

Keep in mind that this app only works when it is run and an energy mode is specified. If you don’t launch the app, it can’t provide any power optimisations β€” so consider adding it your Startup Applications.

I hope it helps!!

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swapnil0709 profile image
swapnil

Wow, thanks. I did not heard of this before. I will surely try this.
πŸ˜€

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kailyons profile image
Loralighte

If you desire a stable distribution, use either Linux Mint or Pop!_OS. If you want to play games on your system Pop!_OS or Manjaro. If you want a light-weight desktop (which your system doesn't need but it's an option) either go Linux Mint or Peppermint.

Overall the only one I don't recommend is Manjaro, as it is unstable and will brick something you run eventually.

My biggest recommendations are Pop!_OS and Linux Mint. I have never used Peppermint but I also heard it is good.

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j00jitsu profile image
j00jitsu • Edited on

Actually I respectfully disagree. Other than the KDE version, Manjaro has been very stable in my experience, as long as you don't go crazy installing random stuff from the AUR. My preference is the Gnome version as it has a smooth interface like Ubuntu out of the box, but also has a layouts tool that quickly changes the desktop to look like Windows, Mac, or even tiling if that's your preference.

If you want something that's Ubuntu based, Feren OS is another good one to check out.

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kailyons profile image
Loralighte

FerenOS is good, I know the developer and he is pretty chill

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rexyandrian profile image
Rexy Andriansyah

Agree

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hydraulisch profile image
Clifford Robinson

Hello there, andrian! Welcome to the dev.to community!

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rafaskacore profile image
Rafael Batista

Totally agree with you. I moved from Fedora to Manjaro and it's been a great experience so far, totally stable, fast and it has the fastest package manager out there.

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king11 profile image
Lakshya Singh

I saw this comment and my question was why switch from Fedora cuz am actually going in the reverse manjaro to fedora. As recently my pip break because of some dependency issue in manjaro

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

Thanks for the suggestions!

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cacarrpdxweb profile image
Christopher Carr

Manjaro Gnome is very stable in my experience.

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jhisham profile image
jhisham • Edited on

Although I mainly use Manjaro as my daily driver now because it is a rolling release distro and I like to be on the bleeding edge of stuff, I'd have to recommend pop!_os for you if you want to get up and running quickly without the hassle of tinkering too much on settings to get a perfect setup. I used pop!_os literally a few months ago before moving on to an arch-based distro which is Manjaro, and I quite loved the auto-tiling feature and how easy it is to configure keyboard shortcuts to improve my overall workflow as a developer. So yeah, I'd suggest start with pop_os! first and when you're comfortable down the road you may wanna give Manjaro a try and hopefully appreciate how sleek, fast, and powerful it can be. Happy switching to Linux! Haven't regretted it since I permanently moved away from Windows.

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

Thanks! πŸ˜„

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farshadj101 profile image
Farshad

I just recently migrated to Linux, so my experience could be useful to you.
I tried Manjaro, Fedora, Elementary OS, Ubuntu 20.04, Mint Cinnamon, and MX Linux.
First I realized that even though very clean and polished, Manjaro and Fedora are not my choice because 1. I don't want a rolling release distro (cause it means tons of updates every month) and 2. I am more comfortable with the software ecosystem of Debian based distros.
I didn't like the Ubuntu and it was a little laggy on my laptop. Then there was elementary and mint. Because I came from windows, Linux mint cinnamon was more familiar and I really liked it. I used it for two weeks and everything was great except sometimes my laptop overheated. The Cinnamon environment was eating my ram! So I switched to Mint xfce but the environment was too simple and lacked some of features I wanted. Finally, I found MX Linux KDE! It is perfect for me. KDE is not hungry in ram usage yet I found it prettier than xfce and feature rich. MX Linux is lightweight and stable. It's not as clean as Manjaro or as beautiful as mint cinnamon but I have all my favourite apps and my laptop runs cool!

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rafaskacore profile image
Rafael Batista

Fedora isn't a roling release distro, however you really have tons of updates weekly (sometimes daily) just because it's the most updated distro out there, if you ask me if it's a good thing, I'd say: I don't think so, I felt like a Tester while running Fedora, always reporting small bugs or searching why something suddenly stopped working after a "dnf update"...

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farshadj101 profile image
Farshad

Exactly! I needed a stable distro to keep focusing on my daily tasks.

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

You said Cinnamon was eating up your resources. Can you tell me your laptop/pc specs if you don't mind?

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farshadj101 profile image
Farshad • Edited on

Sure!
HP 14
Intel i5 1035G7/ Intel Iris Plus graphics
8 Gb ram/ 256 Gb SSD

Not that I experienced any lag but one day I was watching a movie with VLC player and fans were running in a noisy situation which was annoying. Since I was just watching a movie, it was strange. I expected Linux to run cool and be more efficient than windows. When I checked, cinnamon itself was responsible for my CPU and ram usage. I don't know what was the problem and asked a friend of mine and he said maybe because the cinnamon is based on GNOME 3 it is memory hungry. He suggested XFCE but after a bit of searching, I concluded that KDE suits me better.

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anthoclites profile image
Anthoclites

I'm one of those Linux fans who has tested, if not all, many Linux distributions, and by many I mean that I spent whole days downloading, testing and customizing distros. They are all incredible projects; they are all brothers, in order to give the world the opportunity of a fantastic operating system like GNU/Linux; however, after trying lots of distros, and almost deciding for the incomparable Manjaro, I returned to where I started: Linux Mint. Linux Mint fills the hole I found in every distro, it does it in a subtle and efficient way. I'm one of those who hates the popular, and I didn't like Ubuntu, but finally Linux Mint based on it, has given me everything I need.
But finally, the usual answer is: your distro is the one that meets your needs and tastes.

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kretaceous profile image
Abhijit Hota

Lots of Love for Mint, I see!

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jericomanapsal profile image
jericomanapsal

Given that you should use what is comfortable to you, the distro must also be customizable to fit the environment that you need. Personally, I prefer Pop!_OS since you can get started immediately. Further customizations can be easily added.

Also if you need a more complex highly-customized dev environment, you might want to check out containerized IDEs like theia.

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cacarrpdxweb profile image
Christopher Carr • Edited on

The Arch User Repository is so handy as to make Arch-based distros worth checking out in the future.

You really should get a SSD to install the OS on. Make a very noticeable performance difference. HDDs are miserable Rube Goldberg contraptions that are good for nothing more than archiving. :-)

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mueslimak3r profile image
Cameron • Edited on

I see questions like this a lot. There are so many Linux distros to choose from. However, many of the choices you've listed are just debian-based systems. The only one that isn't is Manjaro, which is what I use. At the end of the day, the nitty gritty of which distro you use and what it's based on probably won't matter at all. What I find matters when I choose is how easy it is to first install and configure, install new apps, upgrade the system, and how easily I can get support for my GPU. I chose Manjaro because it's excellent at providing an easy user experience. Ubuntu is a kinda-close second. Manjaro really shines in that getting new apps via the Arch User Repository is amazing, and upgrading the system and kernel is easier than ever. It's a rolling release distro too, which you may like or dislike depending on how new you like your software (it has the near-newest). Think of it this way: with Manjaro you get all of the perks of Arch Linux without the extra complexity you hear about. Regardless of which distro you choose, the desktop environment you choose is almost as important. For a balance of performance / features MATE will always be a first choice. I use Gnome right now though, and I'm planning to test out KDE again to see if it's more stable than last time I used it.

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pontakornth profile image
pontakornth

I use Manjaro but I suggest Linux Mint if you're more familiar with Ubuntu. Your laptop will run fancy software without problems. Besides distro, I would like to recommended tiling windows manager such as i3 (i3-gaps) for productivity.

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creator54 profile image
Creator54 • Edited on

Would suggest to switch to a distro based on Arch cuz u get Arch User Repository(AUR: biggest packages repository for linux) support which means for almost any app/package u can think u can install it just via few commands + u won't be needing ppa's anymore. Since these are rolling distributions meaning there are never major releases like Ubuntu 19/20 etc you are always on the latest release.

Need to install something ?
open terminal:
$ sudo pacman - Ss "package_name"
searches your package in Arch main repository
install it via
$ sudo pacman -S "package_name"
For AUR u could enable in pacman
would suggest yay: it's an aur helper
usage is same as pacman

Desktop Environment (DE): KDE/XFCE/LXDE

i think most Ubuntu people are generally Gnome user but feel it kinda a bit resource hungry and touch friendly.

KDE : most customisable DE,less resource hungry than gnome + u get more of a desktop feel .

XFCE : bit less customisable than KDE thus bit less resource hungry too, look and feel is also good. I feel it like LXDE but good looking πŸ˜…

LXDE: the least resource hungry DE out there , look and feels is bit like Windows XP

Or install all DE'S then check which one suits you best. If you ever got bored of DE's do checkout Window Managers(WM's). I personally use awesome window manager.
A Window manager just manages your window openings/arrangements like how are the open app windows placed on your screen automatically. Everything else u get to configure yourself and is generally for keyboard peeps (KeyBindings for everything 😁)

Note: after installing any distro do install 'timeshift' and configure it to hourly backups or something similar so that incase you do something careless you can
safely restore your system into working state.

I am currently using nixos+awesomewm .If you are up for a bit learning do checkout.

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etienneburdet profile image
Etienne Burdet

I am on POP!_OS and couldn't be happier. Web dev wise, any distro will be pretty good. The nice thing with POPΒ is that it comes with a lot of built-in options for gaming, 3D, CAD, science etc. than regular Ubuntu.

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mehedeetalha profile image
Mehedee Hasan Talha • Edited on

I prefer Manjaro XFCE. I know your Laptop Specs is good. But you have to open too many tab of browser. So, they will eat your ram more than any other software. Manjaro is based on Arch Linux. But this distribution is more stable than arch. You can use any kernel from 4.14 to 5.10 on manjaro. On the other hand, XFCE is one of the lightweight desktop environment but has many customizations.

But if you want to go with Debian/Ubuntu based distribution, I prefer Pop!_OS

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