Bytes: If you ask me Ubuntu has been my favorite Linux distro from the beginning. I just love it but as we all know there are plenty of Linux Distros available. Some are better than Ubuntu in some ways & some are not. Today we are gonna take a look at some of the Ubuntu alternatives & why should you switch.
You Need More Stability
Recommended Distro: Debian
You heard Linux bolstered as a more stable alternative to Windows and macOS, so you were surprised when you experienced crashes and other funny behaviors. Where is that rock solid stability you were promised?
Well, as you may now know, Linux comes in many versions, and some are more stable than others. Ubuntu is based on Debian, a significantly larger project that packages most of the software that goes into Ubuntu.
You’re Looking for New Apps
Recommended Distro: elementary OS
If you’re coming from the Windows world or have grown accustomed to the rate of new releases on your smartphone, checking a Linux app store can feel rather static. Many of us are using the same programs we fell in love with five, ten, fifteen years ago.
Still, there’s something to be said for variety. You want a Linux experience where new apps roll out every week or two? Check out elementary OS.
You Want More Eye Candy
Speaking of elementary OS, have you seen those screenshots?
elementary OS is currently one of the most stylized, instantly recognizable versions of Linux on the web. You could say it looks like macOS on first glance, but those similarities are only surface deep.
If you like the look of Ubuntu but would like a spiffier theme, check out Pop!_OS.
You Need Something Lighter
Recommended Distro: Puppy Linux
Whether you’re trying to squeeze as much performance out of your machine as possible, or you’re trying to breathe life into an old PC, Ubuntu can sometimes weigh you down.
If you know what to do, you can slim Ubuntu down yourself. But it would be easier to download a distro where someone has already done that heavy lifting for you.
You Want More Control
You can add and remove components from Ubuntu, but there’s a limit. The way Canonical chooses to bundle certain packages prevents you from removing certain parts without breaking all the things.
Maybe you don’t like having to wait six months between releases when new software updates are always coming in. Why not just receive them as soon as they’re available?
You Desire Something Fresh
Recommended Distro: Solus
Ubuntu is based on Debian, and it now uses the same GNOME desktop that we’ve known for years. Every “new” distro seems to be another derivative of Ubuntu or Arch. Where’s all the original work?
You’re Tired of Upgrading
New versions of Ubuntu come out every six months. If you don’t want to upgrade your system that often, you can stick with Long-Term Support releases that last for two years.
But maybe you would prefer to install an operating system once and never have to deal with switching to a new version again.
Be careful though, because things can go wrong if the one part of your system ends up being incompatible with another. Sometimes it’s best to wait to install updates when you know you have time to fix anything that might break.
Like the idea? Then Arch Linux or openSUSE Tumbleweed may be the path for you.
You Want Something a Little More Current
Recommended Distro: Fedora
I mentioned in the introduction that I’m currently using Fedora. This is one of the reasons why. Fedora often develops and adopts new features before they make it into other distros, including Ubuntu.
Fedora strives to be on what it calls the leading edge of open source software, which is different from the bleeding edge that you get with a rolling release distro. On Fedora you get the perks of a predictable, tested release (every six months, like Ubuntu) without taking on the risks of managing a computer where major system changes casually roll in alongside minor app updates.
Part of the reason is that many innovations in Linux come from people who contribute to the Fedora project or work for Red Hat, Fedora’s corporate sponsor. Fedora also has a tendency to accept more new apps and app updates in between major releases, so the six months in between don’t feel as long.
You Only Want Free and Open Source Software
Linux is known as an open source alternative to Windows and macOS, but not everything you can install on the system is free.
Ubuntu in particular recommends proprietary apps and components, such as multimedia codecs. If you’re trying to get your hands on Slack or Steam, this is easier on Ubuntu than other Linux distros. Though even Fedora, which has a much stricter stance on proprietary software, now lets you download such apps from flathub.org inside GNOME Software.
Even if these distros didn’t provide access to proprietary software, some closed source code is baked into the Linux kernel itself. Think hardware drivers used to make Linux compatible with more PCs.
If you want a stable release, check out Trisquel (based on Ubuntu). If you prefer rolling, Parabola (based on Arch Linux) might be for you. What’s the drawback? Taking out the closed drivers means some hardware will no longer work. Even if you are able to install the distro just fine, you may not be able to get Wi-Fi to work without buying a special dongle.
Which Distro Is Right for You?
When someone’s switching to Linux for the first time, Ubuntu is an easy recommendation. Ubuntu is the most popular desktop distro, which makes it easier for you to find support and fix problems.