6 Fun Linux Distributions to Try If You’re a Distro Hopper

There are many different flavors of Linux, and since most of them are free to use, there will come a time when you may feel compelled to try some of them. This is what we call distro hopping.

Some people distro hope only for a few months. Others find that the experience never gets boring. If you’ve tried a few distributions and are looking for one that offers something different, here are six options worth trying.

elementary is unique in the Linux world. A traditional Linux distribution offers several ways to offer and showcase much of the same set of open source software. This is why the experience of using Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE or Debian can feel much the same.

On each, you choose one of the many desktop interfaces and have to browse the app stores or package managers for apps designed with your chosen interface in mind.

elementary OS comes with its own desktop environment called Pantheon. It comes with its own app store known as AppCenter which comes with apps specially designed for basic operating systems.

While the basic operating system uses Ubuntu as its base, it is invisible to everyone except more technical users. Nearly every aspect of the visual experience is designed to form a cohesive and consistent experience.

While desktop Linux as a whole has made great strides in this area, the basic operating system has come the farthest and today offers the best example of what a desktop designed for ordinary people using exclusively free software could be.

What constitutes a Linux distribution has a lot to do with how software is packaged and distributed. For this reason, Fedora Silverblue represents a rethink of what a Linux distro can be. The usual approach involves building a system using several programs individually packaged and distributed, with updates modifying these packages one at a time.

Silverblue, on the other hand, provides core system components as a single image that is identical from one system to another. When you download updates, you are downloading a new system image instead of updates for a handful of packages.

This increases the chances of your system remaining stable. Anyone having access to the same image means that the developers are using the exact same software that’s on your computer, and they can probably replicate any bugs you come across, assuming they have similar hardware.

If you’re having trouble with an update, don’t try to revert hundreds of packages back to how they were. You can easily switch back from the latest system image to the previous one that worked.

Silverblue also goes all-in on the universal flatpak format. This means that most of your software has some degree of isolation from the rest of your system, improving your security. Of the Flatseal app installed, you can fine-tune which components and data each app can access.

Arch Linux is a popular distro, but with the installation process that comes with it, it’s not ideal for newbies or regular distro hoppers. No problem. There are many Arch Linux derivatives that make Arch easier to install. Garuda Linux is one of them.

So why choose Garuda Linux? In short, Garuda offers the speed and flexibility of Arch without requiring extensive command line knowledge. It gives you granular control over your system in a way that is more welcoming to newcomers.

As a rolling release distro where updates come in all the time, there’s a risk that a critical system component will break, leaving your computer in a state where you can’t boot. Like Silverblue, Garuda offers protection against this.

Garuda uses the btrfs file system by default, which provides a built-in snapshot mechanism to roll back to older versions of your system that are known to work. With most distributions, this feature requires using the command line, but Garuda offers a desktop app that makes it more accessible.

Garuda is also a good version of Arch for gamers, and it comes with a colorful theme that, while maybe not to everyone’s taste, is just plain fun.

Some people find that various Linux distributions look too much like Windows or macOS. For example, the default layout of the KDE Plasma desktop is reminiscent of Windows. And if you take a quick look over someone’s shoulder in a cafe, their basic OS desktop can easily leave you wondering how they installed macOS on a laptop that isn’t a MacBook.

But these similarities fall apart once you actually start interacting with your computer. Most Linux designers don’t try to copy Windows or macOS, despite some similarities.

That is not the case with Zorin OS. Zorin explicitly tries to imitate Windows and macOS, going so far as to ask newer users which interface they are most familiar with before downloading the distro. While Zorin is still not a copy, it gives you an idea of ​​how close to an impression Linux can get.

This makes Zorin worth checking out for anyone switching to Linux out of a desire for privacy or out of necessity, but without leaving behind the interface they are already familiar with. While no amount of theming will make Linux the same as Windows or macOS, the similarities may be enough to teach you something new.

Perhaps even more than elementary OS, Endless OS is not like other Linux distributions. Here’s a desktop designed for completely offline use. Endlessly focuses on communities and parts of the world where fast internet access is not a given.

This means that it comes with a plethora of apps designed specifically for Endless OS. Much of it uses freely available Creative Commons licensed content, but presents this information in fun and useful ways. For example, the encyclopedia app offers an offline copy of Wikipedia, with an interface that could invite you to spend more time reading than on the Wikipedia website.

Endless uses a heavily modified version of the GNOME desktop environment, so the interface is plain but not built from the ground up for this particular distro. Nevertheless, many of the apps are, so you’ll only experience them if you give Endless OS a try. Heads up, yes. Since a distro is meant to be useful offline, the installation file that contains everything is quite large.

Deepin is a distro that goes all in on style. If you like the vibrant, vibrant look of a Samsung Galaxy phone and want something similar on your desktop, Deepin may have the shine you’re looking for. But that doesn’t mean you want to try Deepin just for its looks.

This distro emphasizes making software readily available, not just open source software. Deepin has no problem providing proprietary apps. You can even download software made just for Windows. These apps come with the Wine components needed to run Windows apps on your Linux machine, so you don’t have to configure Wine yourself.

Deepin is made in China for a predominantly Chinese audience, so keep that in mind. Many of the proprietary apps are apps that Chinese users may be more interested in than those living elsewhere, such as WeChat. And if proprietary software is involved, check your privacy settings as best you can.

Does distro hopping make sense?

Distro hopping can seem like a waste of time. You turn on your computer, learn a new way of working, and just when you hit a rhythm, you start over.

But distro hopping can be a good way to learn, and it can help you know exactly how you like using a computer. There is also always the chance that you will come across the distro that you fall in love with. You never know until you try.

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