I found this site a while back - basically it will ask you a bunch of questions on your usage of your PC, and will came out with a list of recommended distros, and a list of reasons why YOU could like or not like it.

https://distrochooser.de/

There are some similar sites to this one, but since I’m not familiar with them, I won’t post them. They are simply DuckDuckGo-able though.

  • @[email protected]
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    11310 months ago

    I appreciate distro chooser but I’d never recommend a newbie to use it. This just increases their choice paralysis, I chose beginner options and got recommended: Linux Mint, ZorinOS, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, elementary OS, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Pop!_OS…

    And all of them had pretty much the same check marks. They’re good recommendations but this doesn’t answer the question, people will just look at the list and say “Okay… Which distro do I choose?”

    • @[email protected]
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      3610 months ago

      Yeah it should really only give me 2, maybe 3 options. Distrochooser is supposed to be the one choosing, not the user

      • OADINC
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        210 months ago

        It should display the distros just like stemwijzer (Dutch site) displays its results in the end.

    • Flit 🦊 🔥
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      1210 months ago

      Yep, this was me when I first started out. The chooser was cool but didn’t really answer the question of which one I should use first.

      I eventually settled on Mint. Cinnamon left a lot to be desired imo, but otherwise it worked quite well and I’d recommend it as a first distro.

    • Eager Eagle
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      10 months ago

      Showing all results it’s fine IMO, they just need to make obvious the results are ranked with the “best match” at the top, so if the user doesn’t know better or doesn’t have any objections, they’ll pick the top one.

  • @Obsession
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    4010 months ago

    If someone has to ask the question, just recommend Ubuntu or Mint.

    • Aswin Benny :fedora:
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      610 months ago

      @Obsession @JokaJukka I agree mint is really good for beginners. But I would suggest people to use different desktop environments first and choose a DE.
      Then try different distros using that DE. See which one works well.

      I personally like Gnome and cinnamon

      • Coolcoder360
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        610 months ago

        Just install the DE you want on the distro you want… You aren’t limited in your DE by your selected distro, and you can have multiple installed. most of the time you have a drop down when you login that lets you pick your DE.

          • @patatahooligan
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            810 months ago

            It’s not just you. The DEs themselves generally don’t mess with each other much, beyond possibly messing with each other’s settings. But I’ve seen the the package post installation scripts cause issues. So it depends on the distro I guess.

            • @[email protected]
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              310 months ago

              @patatahooligan @aswinbenny I once installed kde alongside GNOME and it messed with all the settings. It changed the icons and even the fonts. I couldn’t even restore the settings once I decided to stick to GNOME, but thankfully I had a snapshot ready to rollback.

                • @[email protected]
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                  110 months ago

                  @patatahooligan Fedora, I’m not sure if Silverblue or normal one. If silverblue then what I tried to do was rebase to kinoite, I tried, didn’t like it and went back to GNOME to find my icons, fonts and more changed

                • @[email protected]
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                  110 months ago

                  I’m not the original person, but I’ve had exactly this happen before on both Arch and NixOS. Long ago when I was on Ubuntu I believe this also happened when I tried installing KDE (rather than wiping and installing Kubuntu). I’ve recently seen recommendations from people saying that if you’re going to try to have both GNOME and KDE installed alongside each other, to keep one user only on one, and the other user only on the other so that their config settings don’t get intertwined.

                  However right now I’m on Fedora Silverblue, I was on Kinoite and did a rebase to Silverblue (which means I went from KDE -> GNOME) and the only issue I had was a few icons were broken, which was resolved through setting it back to Adwaita in Tweak Tool. I’m guessing the fact that the rebase caused all of the KDE packages to get removed while installing the GNOME packages made it conflict less “violently” so to speak - which also had the nice effect of not having a bunch of duplicated apps as well.

  • The Quuuuuill
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    3910 months ago

    I personally disagree. Distrochooser is a great tool for distrohoppers who want to experiment and see what’s out there. it is a little less useful than DistroWatch’s ranking list, but that requires more reading to figure out if something would be diving into the deep end.

    My recommendation is to either look at the top ranked beginners distro on distro watch, or to just recommend mint. Someone’s first distro should above all else get out of the way. It should be as stable as possible, have as much hardware support as possible, and be as default as possible (less distro customizations of packages). Troubleshooting info must be captured in an easily indexible knowledge base (nothing is worse than searching for help with something and all you can find is a stack exchange post marked duplicate or a forum post with one reply that says “did you try googling?”)

  • edric
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    3210 months ago

    I agree with the other comments that it isn’t a great tool for complete beginners. There’s a question that mentions systemd. A newbie won’t know what that means.

    • @[email protected]
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      710 months ago

      When I see people recommending Devuan or non systemd OS i’m like why? The newbie has no idea what the hell is systemd despite maybe that some people hate it for some reason so it must be bad lol

    • @[email protected]
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      110 months ago

      I’ve used Linux before albeit that was like a decade ago playing with Ubuntu but I had no idea how to answer that question. I don’t want an app store and I don’t want to install from the command prompt all the time. I just want to download something from the browser click it and it install it 😂 idk why that isn’t even an option to pick since I’m pretty sure that’s something you can do with Linux.

      Either way I’m currently burning a Linux Mint/cinnamon flash drive to live boot and may dual boot it since I have an extra old SSD laying around.

  • @herrvogel
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    10 months ago

    I’m not pointing a Linux noob to any site that puts a big ol star nex to “suitable for daily use” under Gentoo.

    • UnfortunateShort
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      610 months ago

      Or Arch. Or Void. Like, I really like Arch and Gentoo sounds cool (although I never tried it), but maybe recommend something you can actually use without getting an aneurism during setup.

      • @DeltaWhy
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        810 months ago

        All these are fine for daily use if you have the Linux knowledge to use them. By ‘not suitable for daily use’ they mean special purpose distros like Knoppix, Tails, and Qubes. It’s somewhat confusing wording though.

  • @[email protected]
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    2310 months ago

    There are way too many answers after you finish this quiz. You should recommend, at most, three options after the quiz. This doesn’t help narrow down your options much at all.

    • Eager Eagle
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      10 months ago

      I think the idea is to rank them from most to least suitable based on your answers, not narrow down. Just pick the “top 3” if you want a smaller sample.

      Edit: this is not well documented, but it seems to be the case: the results are sorted based on the number of “reasons” to pick it according to your answers.

      • macallik
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        110 months ago

        Yeah. If they want to keep the structure as is, they should score the results to make the compatibility levels more obvious

    • 🦥󠀠󠀠󠀠󠀠󠀠󠀠
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      10 months ago

      Yeah woah, these questions were supposed to narrow it down but instead gave me way to many options most of which weren’t all that suitable at all.

  • @[email protected]
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    2110 months ago

    If people ask me what distro to choose I say Mint.

    Unless you already know what you want and need it is simply the best distro out there to get your feet wet. It is very competent in what it is doing and can be used by anyone no matter the experience.

    Even though I believe there are better distros out there this is the only one I would recommend to people new to Linux and it is still a solid choice for experienced users alike. You can use it forever or branch out from there, both are very valid choices.

    • @[email protected]
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      210 months ago

      how would you compare Mint to MX Linux? Whats the biggest difference in your opinion?

      When selecting a distro to mess around with, i just checked distrowatch to find the most popular distro and chose that (MX). My reasoning was that the resources like wiki/tutorials/forum posts would be most easily available with a more “popular” distro.

      • ProdigalFrog
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        510 months ago

        The main thing a newbie would benefit from with Mint is their extremely polished software appstore program, which is essentially a nice frontend to their repository that provides categories, reviews, and easy installation and management of your programs wrapped up in a polished, non-techie UI.

        MX linux has a similar program installer for common apps, but it does not offer reviews, and does not give access to the entire Debian repo, eventually requiring you to use Aptitude, which is not newbie friendly at all.

        Mint’s Cinnamon interface is also extremely easy to use for a new windows convert.

      • @[email protected]
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        310 months ago

        I think the biggest difference is that it is based on Debian and is a bit more conservative. I prefer cinnamon over xfce and in its default even over KDE.

        Really, I just assume better hardware compatibility and slightly newer packages from Mint and that’s just about it.

        Don’t read too much into it. There is nothing wrong with MX, Debian or just plain Ubuntu either. In my opinion Ubuntu fixes a few problems Debian has and Mint does the same with Ubuntu. Because apt is widely supported the Debian family is a great choice anyway.

  • @[email protected]
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    10 months ago

    I kinda feel like this is better for folks who’ve been at it for a little bit. There are way too many distros claiming to be beginner friendly for a tool like this to be helpful.

    I think it’s better to just send them to an easy to install, up to date distro that will suit their needs that has a DE that’s easy to understand but different enough from where they’re coming from to keep them from expecting it to work like windows. Stable updates from a GUI, software availability, and easy to use backup tools are all a plus.

    Which OS am I talking about? Hell, I have no idea. Fedora? Maybe Vanilla 2 when it comes out? Certainly nothing Arch based (sorry, guys, I love arch too but it’s not for beginners…).

    • @[email protected]
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      210 months ago

      Which OS am I talking about? Hell, I have no idea. Fedora? Maybe Vanilla 2 when it comes out? Certainly nothing Arch based (sorry, guys, I love arch too but it’s not for beginners…).

      I honestly think it’s Ubuntu. If we put aside the biases many of us “experienced” users have against Ubuntu/Canonical/snaps, Ubuntu seems like the best choice. Well supported, wide community, sane defaults.

      • @[email protected]
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        10 months ago

        I’d agree if it weren’t for the Snaps bullshit. Because of that, I don’t want to recommend it to anyone because I don’t want to encourage Canonical.

        • @[email protected]
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          110 months ago

          If I’m looking it from a new user’s perspective, snaps offer an easy way to install many apps. If people actually care about their downsides they will eventually find out and stop using them on their own.

          • @[email protected]
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            110 months ago

            Yeah, I’m not talking about the technical issues. Those are just growing pains. Snap is really no better or worse than, say, Flatpak. I don’t like dealing with it, but that’s not why I wouldn’t recommend Ubuntu.

            It’s stuff like redirecting apt installs to snaps. It’s Canonical I have issue with, not Ubuntu itself.

  • @[email protected]
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    2010 months ago

    The rage-forks (Like devuan) are way to prominent positioned. There should be a question (or fixed filter vor warning) about how stable the development processes are.

  • @geno
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    10 months ago

    I’m using Windows as my daily driver due to prioritising gaming over everything else. But I also have a 8-year old laptop which is stuck with Win 7, and I’ve been wondering if I should just install Linux on it to try things out. In the past, I’ve only ever tried Linux for short times, never used Linux as my main OS or longer than a week.

    With this context, I’ve had the “which distro should I choose?” on my mind a few times. There’s some obvious and some non-obvious issues with this questionnaire. I’ll just go over my thoughts step by step:

    • “I want anonymous web browsing” and “distro which is supported by game publishers” can’t be selected at the same time. Is this really true? I’m doubting my understanding of what “anonymous web browsing” actually means.

    • “I often need help from others” and “I have already used Linux for some purposes” can’t both be selected. Why? The logic behind this is “You have used Linux at some point, so you can clearly solve some problems without asking anyone”. Makes no sense, and/or the questionnaire’s creator thinks that Linux is impossible for newcomers. I have used Linux in the past and I’m generally good in troubleshooting, but anyway.

    • “I want to use the default preset values in the installation assistant” is impossible to answer if I don’t know which values are given as the default. My general answer would be “give me a default value for everything, but also let me change the things which I have an opinion about”. An answer equal to this doesn’t exist.

    • Pre-installed programs: this does feel like it lacks the answer of “let me choose what to install during installation of OS”, but I guess I can just skip this question without answering since I don’t care.

    • “There are many way to administrate a linux distribution” -> “I want to avoid systemd”. I’ve never heard about systemd, and the explanation give on the page doesn’t really help. For what reasons would I want to avoid it? My actual answer for this is “I really don’t care”, so I just skipped it.


    About the result of the questionnaire: I did answer that “I’m fine with paying something”, but it’s not really something I aim for. The suggestions seem to tag “There is a non-free version available” as a plus for the distros, which really isn’t what I answered - there’s a difference between “I’m fine with something” and “I want something”.

    I also marked “supported by game publishers” with a star, because gaming is what I’m aiming to do on it. I have no idea if this even matters in practice, but it made sense as an answer when asked about. The smoothness of gaming experience will always be the primary reason for any choice of OS I’ll make.

    The first EIGHT answers on the list have either “Programs versions may not be up-to-date enough for gaming” or “May require additional configuration for gaming” as a downside/warning. The game publisher question is the only answer which I marked as important.

    The first distro from the suggestions that included “supported by game publishers” is Linux Mint - which does match what I already had in mind, but I really feel like the ordering of the suggested distros feel off.


    Short “review” about this: it really didn’t help much. The list of suggestions is practically full of equally good distros, and I’m still stuck with the question “which one of these should I choose?”. I only learned about more distros that I had never heard about before.

    As for actually choosing the distro at some point later: I think that I’ll just find out the top 5 most popular distros, and select from those. My reasoning for this is that it’s much easier to find answers if/when I run into issues. Using a niche distro wouldn’t really work for me - Linux isn’t my hobby, I think OS is just a tool to run whatever programs/games I want to.

    But this questionnaire doesn’t have any data about popularity, so for my usecase, it lacks some information. I feel like it could use an additional question about “Are you fine with using a niche distro, or do you want to use a popular one?” - this question does have the issue of not being objective though, as there’s no clear answer of what can be counted as “popular”.

    TL;DR good idea, but execution could be better.

    • @[email protected]
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      310 months ago

      I don’t disagree with you.

      All I want is for some objective statements about different distros. Like tell me what distro is a full time job to maintain. Tell me what distro is sending me to the command line all of the time. Give me some basic functionality benchmarks (search time, opening a browser and boot time) on a low, mid and high end computer.

  • @[email protected]
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    10 months ago

    At the end I got a list of 29 distros, this is terrible. A user who is willing to go through all pros and cons and is able to compare them doesn’t need this website to choose a distro.

    • Andy
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      1210 months ago

      I think it gives everyone the same list of 29, but it’s the order that’s important. Gentoo came back as my top. I use Void which came back as 4th in my list.

  • @[email protected]
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    1610 months ago

    If they are new to linux I think we should always point them to mint. Then they can use a distro chooser to explore the rest of what linux distro’s have to offer.

    • TimeSquirrel
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      10 months ago

      What does Mint offer that other distros don’t? Cinammon DE? KDE is just as easy to use, and looks modern and doesn’t look like it’s from 2004. Why has Mint specifically become the defacto “beginner” distro?

      It’s just another Ubuntu derivative with a DE nobody else seems to be using.

        • TimeSquirrel
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          310 months ago

          The “just works” thing applies to dozens of distros these days. And KDE looks and acts more like Windows 10 than Cinnamon.

      • mihnt
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        810 months ago

        Ubuntu derivative

        Is one reason.

        DE nobody else seems to be using

        Cinnamon is easy to use though. Seamless transition from windows to linux for people who don’t know what they are really doing. When they get the hang of it, you can do some neat stuff with it.

        Cinnamon is also an in house thing from the Linux Mint developers which is why it’s most common there. There’s a few other distros that have spins on it. Namely Ubuntu, Manjaro, Arch, Fedora, etc.

      • @[email protected]
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        610 months ago

        I dont know what if offers. Other than its very stable and if you ask for help and say you’re on mint people are more inclined to help.

        Linux on boarding has the same problem as the fediverse. When people first join they dont know where to start and its overwhelming. Thats why its nice to give them a landing pad where they can go and then after using it for a week or so they can move on to other options if thats what they want. Thats why I point people to mint.

      • @oaklandnative
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        10 months ago

        I agree that it’s a bad recommendation. That was my first distro and the dated look was a huge turn off and a bad first impression for Linux. It just feels like a downgrade from Windows or MacOS, which makes for a terrible transition.

        What Mint offers that many other distros don’t is that it generally works well right out of the box, with just the initial install and no other tweaks, because it has proprietary drivers and other bells and whistles pre-installed. But so does Zorin and Pop_OS and both look much better. Those would probably be my top recommendations for a new user. All 3 of those distros have lots of online support (plus the general Ubuntu support that will usually be applicable as well).

      • @[email protected]
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        110 months ago

        Mint requires you to use the terminal the least of any distro I’ve used. I’m very comfortable with CLI but for people who have only used Windows or MacOS and never ventured beyond the GUI, Mint is the easiest transition because of its plethora of well-integrated GUI tools.

    • @[email protected]
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      510 months ago

      That’s pretty much what I do now. Choice paralysis is a thing, and Mint is solid for people to dip their toes. The exception I’ve made if it’s someone more techy to begin with, then I might recommend Raspbian on a Raspberry Pi as a starting point. But that’s only if it’s someone already into networking or Powershell scripting or similar.

  • Clairvoidance
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    10 months ago

    “I prefer a distribution which is supported by game publishers.” feels like it sets bad expectations considering it’s just “do you want a stable Debian/Ubuntu distro?” and ‘game publishers’ might be a little out of date with their wording/justification

  • @[email protected]
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    10 months ago

    While I appreciate this, there were far too many questions, which were pretty technical for a layperson. And even after picking the most basic options, I was still presented with like six variants of Ubuntu, including Mint and Elementary.

    How about something like:

    • Do you use your computer more for games, or for work?
    • How much do you care about open source?
    • Do you know what a makefile is?