Best Top 20 Ubuntu Linux Alternatives (Pros and Cons)

Ubuntu is quite popular among the Linux community and probably one of the most popular and widely used Linux distributions for its ease of use, simple user interface, and rich repository with more than 50,000 software packages. But is Ubuntu the only choice available to users of Linux platforms? There are many alternatives, and this article will explain the top 20 options for Linux users.

1. Fedora

Fedora Linux is produced by the Fedora Project, a non-profit organization supported by Red Hat, an IBM subsidiary. Fedora is a free and open-source operating system that strives to be at the forefront of free technology. It is the upstream source of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Pros of Fedora

  • RedHat, the second-largest Linux kernel contributor, supports Fedora. 
  • It comes with minimal GNOME installation.
  • Updates make it easy for security and other problems to be fixed quickly.
  • It provides integration with Flatpak and Snap packages.

Cons of fedora

  • Fedora does not support proprietary drivers, users may encounter issues with a wide range of hardware. 
  • It seems problematic for users when updating to new releases.
  • Wayland does not support Prime/Optimus.

2. Artix Linux

Artix Linux is a rolling-release distribution based on Arch Linux, which uses OpenRC, runit, s6, suite66, or dinit as init rather than systemd. It is possible to utilize packages from the Arch Linux repositories or any other derivative distribution, even those that expressly depend on systemd, on Artix Linux, as it is a pacman-based distribution. AUR (Arch User Repository) can also be used as another option. Arch OpenRC was first built in 2012, while Manjaro OpenRC was created at the same time. Artix Linux was born out of the merger of these projects in 2017.

Pros of Artix Linux

  • It is based on Arch Linux.
  • Its repositories are compatible with the Arch Linux repository.
  • It’s almost as close and quite comparable to Arch Linux.
  • Artix Linux supports the runit init system.
  • It uses Pacman as a package manager
  • Rolling distro.
  • Lightweight and flexible.

Cons of Artix Linux

  • It doesn’t have systemd.
  • Few Arch packages might not be available yet.

3. Zorin OS

Zorin OS is based on Ubuntu and it comes with a GNOME 3 or XFCE 4 desktop environment, but it’s highly tailored to enable Windows and macOS users to switch to Linux. It is designed to make your computer faster, more powerful and secure.

 

Installing Wine and PlayOnLinux on Zorin OS is simple and allows users to run compatible Windows software. The designers of Zorin OS provide three free editions and a paid Pro edition. They are Zorin OS 16 Pro, 16 Pro Lite, 16 Core, 16 Core Lite, 15.3 Education, and 15.3 Education Lite. It still uses the Ubuntu Linux kernel and the GNOME or XFCE interface. 

Pros of Zorin OS

  • It is designed for people new to Linux who do not want to lose touch with Windows or Mac OS. 
  • It is based on Ubuntu.  Making it ideal for Ubuntu alternatives.
  • The init system is systemd
  • It’s partially compatible with Windows.
  • Interconnectivity between mobile device and computer
  • Privacy-respecting.

Cons of Zorin OS

  • There are limited desktop styles with Free Version and in order to get the look and feel of Unity or MacOS paid version is required.
  • Not suitable for older hardware

4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) was created by Red Hat with it’s initial version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux was called Red Hat Advanced Server is another great Ubuntu alternatives. Red Hat renamed Red Hat Advanced Server Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS in 2003 and added Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES and WS. 

Pros of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

  • It’s easy to fix security vulnerabilities, by using yum update.
  • Vendors support it widely, so there is no need to compile drivers, modules, or programs from the source.
  • Simple maintenance scheduling and alerting.
  • Third-party compatibility.
  • Performance is good when process big transaction and traffic.

Cons of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

  • Red Hat’s cluster file systems frequently fail.
  • No user-friendly GUI
  • Upgrade policies are complex.
  • It doesn’t have another boot environment, like Solaris (BE) or AIX.
  • Complex upgrade policies between major versions.

5. Kubuntu

Kubuntu is an official Ubuntu flavor that uses the KDE Plasma Desktop instead of GNOME and shares the same underlying system as Ubuntu. Ubuntu’s repository is also used by Kubuntu and it releases packages on the same schedule.

 

Kubuntu installation includes productivity, office, email, graphics, photography and music applications ready to use.

Pros of Kubuntu

  • The workstation-oriented Kubuntu is up to date and offers a fully functional desktop environment unlike some distros.
  • The workspace can be easily customized.
  • It’s stable, and there are quite fewer reports of crashes.
  • The training is minimal. It’s identical to Ubuntu, so Linux and Mac users can easily switch. It’s the most secure open-source compared to other Linux distributions. The user experience is enhanced by speed and UI/UX.

Cons of Kubuntu

  • Its performance is not upto the mark as  tends to be slow and uses a lot of memory.
  • It’s not appealing to those with decent/good configuration, but that’s not the target audience anyway.
  • It lacks GNOME so it is not for the hard-core developer who wants super-fast performance while developing and running code.
  • Even though it comes with almost all necessary applications, it lacks compatibility with some third-party software. 

6. KDE Neon

KDE neon is a KDE-developed Linux alternative distribution based on the current Ubuntu long-term support (LTS) release and the software includes a collection of additional software repositories containing the newest 64-bit versions of the Plasma 5 desktop environment/framework, the Qt 5 toolkit, and other suitable KDE software.

Pros of KDE Neon

  • It is the most stable, and the probability of the system crashing is quite low as compared to other OSs.
  • User-friendly and easy to use.
  • The installation process is an absolute breeze. In fact, it is a derivative of Ubuntu.
  • By default, KDE Neon is squeaky clean.
  • In KDE Neon, the Plasma 5 desktop is up-to-date.

Cons of KDE Neon

  • Not meant for beginners.
  • Users have complained about the outdated kernel.
  • Tooltips for non-QT apps are not so friendly to the eyes of the user.
  • Overwhelming desktop customizations.

7. Solus

Solus is an independent OS based on the Linux kernel and offering the Budgie, GNOME, MATE, or KDE Plasma desktop environments. It’s package manager, eopkg, is based on Pardus Linux’s PiSi package management system and fresh package updates land in the stable repository every Friday. Solus’ creators declare that it is designed solely for home PCs and does not include applications designed for enterprise or server systems.  A good Linux OS for Ubuntu alternatives.

Pros of Solus Linux

  • Offers a rolling release.
  • It is quite stable and responsive (system boots quickly and stays responsive).
  • Great package management ( easy to install the latest software through Snappy and Flatpak.
  • Easy to install 
  • Fast booting time

Cons of Solus Linux

  • There is no USB-image writer.
  • Complaints about the system frequently breaking on upgrades.
  • Lack of software in repositories
  • There is not much software available.
  • There are frequent complaints of a black screen after an update.
  • No USB Image writer.

8. CentOS

CentOS is a Linux distribution that is compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). CentOS Server stated in January 2014 that it would officially join Red Hat while remaining independent of RHEL. Red Hat ended CentOS development in December 2020 and as a consequence, CentOS founder Gregory Kurtzer established the Rocky Linux project. It’s called AlmaLinux and it’s from Cloud Linux (manufacturer of CloudLinux OS). While the distribution itself ended in 2021, CentOS Stream, its midstream Linux alternative, is still being developed.

Pros of CentOS

  • Excellent for enterprise workloads, a free variation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
  • It is quite fast and reliable.
  • CLI as well as GUI interfaces consume very less hardware resources and perform well.
  • CentOS Linux works very well for high availability clustering. It contains native packages for DRBD which enables  high availability.

Cons of CentOS

  • The GUI could be more interactive.
  • Unofficial distros may be necessary to keep up with the latest software upgrades.
  • Configuring network interfaces sometimes causes a lot of issues, especially when you are using it out of regular configuration.
  • Since CentOS is community-supported some software vendors will not officially support it because it isn’t Red Hat.

9. Manjaro Linux

Manjaro is an Arch Linux-based free and open-source Linux alternative distribution. Manjaro is designed to work straight out of the box with its selection of pre-installed apps. In addition, it employs Pacman as a package manager.  

Pros of Manjaro Linux

  • Manjaro is an Arch-based distribution that has all of the advantages of the Arch ecosystem and community while still being considerably more user-friendly.
  • It has a lot of features that are hard to beat. Best desktop distribution with the LTS kernel  that supports  multiple kernels, that makes  distro stable and less buggy.
  • RAM usage is very small.
  • Stable and consistently up to date

Cons of Manjaro Linux

  • Because it is a rolling version, it requires updates almost every week, which must be manually downloaded, confirmed, and installed (despite the fact that they are checked for automatically).
  • Bad way of handling dependencies. Manjaro is based on Arch Linux. Arch Linux and its derivatives have a bad way of handling dependencies. To handle dependencies, it installs a whole another program which contains the required dependencies.

10. Elementary OS

Elementary_OS Ubuntu alternatives

Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu LTS and  it calls itself as a thoughtful, capable, and ethical alternative to macOS and Windows and the added benefit that it is free. Elementary, Inc. develops and maintains the operating system, desktop environment and it’s applications.

Pros of Elementary OS

  • It is user friendly.
  • The UI is comparable to MacOSX.
  • It is built on Ubuntu which makes it a very good Ubuntu alternative.
  • It is quite lightweight and fast compared to other Ubuntu-based OSes.

Cons Oof Elementary OS

  •  Lots of bugs.
  • Complaints of outdated default applications are quite common.
  • There are no proprietary driver installers.
  • Not much configuration options.

11. Arch Linux

Arch Linux

Arch Linux is an x86-64 Linux distribution and it follows the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). The project tries to avoid distribution-specific changes, focusing on customizability rather than user-friendliness.

Pros of Arch Linux

  • The OS comes bundled with close to 10,000 packages, but the Arch User Repositories (AUR) can be used to add over 50,000 plus packages.
  • It is always updated with the most recent versions of both kernels and a graphic representation of a home screen.
  • It is possible to install beta versions of utilities in order to participate in testing. However, their stability is not assured.

Cons of Arch Linux

  • The system was built with the assumption that all OS components would be installed and configured manually.
  • Different procedures must also be performed manually using pre-programmed commands. This negative limits the community’s ability to gain popularity.
  • There frequent complaints of fragile packages.

12. Linux Mint

It is based on Ubuntu and is a community-driven Linux distribution that is based on Debian. It comes with a lot of free and open-source apps and  provides full out-of-the-box multimedia support for people who want to add their own software, like codecs for multimedia, to their PC. The Linux Mint project was started by Clément Lefèbvre and is still being worked on by the Linux Mint team and other users.

Pros of Linux Mint

  • Linux Mint installs similarly to Ubuntu.
  • It is extremely user-friendly for novices.
  • Offers customisable desktop for advanced users.
  • Cinnamon, the desktop environment included with Linux Mint, is highly customizable and may be styled in any way desired.

Cons of Linux Mint

  • The package management system is slow and inconvenient, requiring you to choose and install one item at a time.
  • It’s not possible to select a large number of packages and then install them all at once.

13. Slackware

Slackware was designed by Patrick Volkerding in 1993. Based on the Softlanding Linux System, Slackware is the oldest Linux distribution still maintained. It strives not to anticipate user situations or preclude user decisions. Unlike most recent Linux distributions, Slackware does not offer graphical installation or automatic package dependency resolution. Slackware is available for IA-32 and x86 64, with an ARM port.

 

While Slackware is primarily free and open-source software, it lacks a structured bug tracking system and a public code repository. There is no formal developer membership system, and Volkerding is the primary contributor.

 

Slackware Linux provides new and experienced users alike with a fully-featured system, equipped to serve in any capacity from desktop workstation to machine-room server.

 

Web servers, ftp servers, and email servers  are a wide selection of popular desktop environments. A full range of development tools, editors, and current libraries is included for users who wish to develop or compile additional software.

Pros of Slackware

  • It’s the most popular Linux distribution since it’s mature, easy to use, and widely deployed.
  • With Slackware, you can install and use tools like linuxconf and rpm (Red Hat package management).
  • Strong adherence to UNIX Principals.
  • No systemd.

Cons of Slackware

  • Slackware is an outdated operating system.
  • Unlike RedHat, Slackware lacks enticing administrative tools.
  • Slackware comes with security flaws pre-installed.
  • Slackware isn’t being developed anymore.
  • A commercial vendor or sanctioned user organization does not support Slackware.
  • Slackware isn’t made by a committee or a group of developers.
  • Very slow release cycle.

14. Gentoo

Gentoo Linux is a package-based Linux distribution because, unlike a binary software delivery, the source code is generated locally to the user’s specifications.

 

Some larger packages or those without source code have precompiled binaries. Gentoo Linux takes its name from the Gentoo penguin. The name was selected to emphasize machine-specific optimization, a key Gentoo feature.

 

Gentoo package management is modular, portable, and adaptable. Gentoo calls itself a “meta-distribution” due to its versatility, as most users have customized setups and installed programs specific to their systems and applications.

Pros of Gentoo Linux

  • It provides an easy customization option for each component.
  • Portage is an extremely powerful package manager. Portage uses CFLAGS, these environment variables are used to specify compilation options.
  • The use of CFLAGS variables improves the performance of applications.
  • The system’s overall performance is outstanding.
  • Supports a wide range of processor architectures.
  • Gentoo Linux supports Live USB installation ( a feature that allows you to go back and fix mistakes from it without having to restart the whole installation process). 

Cons of Gentoo Linux

  • There is no default installer (installation must be done manually).
  • Not beginner-friendly.
  • Customized package installation can take a long time and cause installation failures.

15. Debian GNU/Linux

Debian Linux Alternative

Debian, usually known as Debian GNU/Linux, is a free and open-source GNU/Linux distribution, created by Ian Murdock on August 16, 1993. Debian’s first release (0.01) was on September 15, 1993, and its first stable release (1.1) was on June 17, 1996. The Debian Stable branch is the most widely used on PCs, servers and WordPress. Many other distributions, including Ubuntu, use Debian as a base.  A very popular Ubuntu alternative and Linux alternative.

Pros of Debian GNU/Linux

  • Debian has a large number of apps, ranging from productivity software to business software, gaming, and development tools.
  • The Largest Number Of Installed Packages. It includes about 55,500 packages 
  • Stability And Security. Debian Stable repository is almost certainly the most dependable version of Linux available.
  • Debian is the Base for many other Distributions such as  Ubuntu, Knoppix, PureOS or Tails. 

Cons of Debian GNU/Linux

  • Systemd is notoriously difficult to debug on its own, and can fail in bizarre ways.
  • The growing number of desktops that rely on systemd-specific functionality (policy kit, dbus, etc.) makes the entire system more fragile and difficult to debug.
  • Debian Software Is Not Always up to date.

16. OpenSuse

OpenSUSE is recognized for its Linux distributions, particularly Tumbleweed and Leap. MicroOS and Kubic are new transactional self-contained desktop and container distributions. The community project started with a beta of SUSE Linux 10. OpenSUSE Leap 15.3 is the current fixed release.

Pros of OpenSUSE

  • It has good support for RPM packages.
  • In terms of package installation, administration, and customization, OpenSUSE is relatively user-friendly.
  • It provides access to the Zyper GUI for package management.
  • It comes with a slew of pre-installed programs that take care of your day-to-day needs.

Cons of OpenSUSE

  • There is no native driver support.
  • Nouveau may be broken, especially for KDE, and may be incompatible with some GPUs.
  • Nvidia drivers are not greatly supported in Tumbleweed.
  • The installer size is massive.

17. Kali Linux

Kali Linux  is a Linux distribution, that was created purely for the purpose of penetration testing and ethical hacking.  Kali Linux is Debian-based Linux distribution that is maintained by top feature security. 

Pros of Kali Linux

  • It has many hacking tools included in the package.
  • It offers standardization of the file-system hierarchy.
  • More than 600 penetration tools included (designed to make it easier for network security teams to assess the security of their networks).
  • The development tree is accessible to everyone.
  • Multiple languages are supported, and it offers a wide variety of customization.
  • It’s free and open source.
  • It offers support for a variety of wireless devices.
  • Many deployment options, including operations over Virtual Machines and containers.

Cons of Kali Linux

  • It is a bit slower.
  • It covers a lot of Junk Space.
  • Applications may not function properly or may crash. Not for Linux beginners. It is meant only for hackers.
  • The free tools bundled into Kali are often just invites to the paid versions.

18. Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is an easy-to-use and memory-efficient Linux distribution with it’s  entire system can be run from RAM, with current versions taking up around 600 MB (64-bit) and 300 MB (32-bit). Included are AbiWord, Gnumeric, MPlayer, several lightweight web browsers, and a utility for downloading other packages.

Pros of Puppy Linux

  • Puppy Linux requires only 128MB of RAM and 333Mhz of CPU to run, while 256MB of RAM is a better option.
  • Puppy Linux’s read/write performance is irrelevant because it runs entirely on RAM and not on a hard drive.
  • In most Puppy Linux installations, the low-resource JWM window manager is utilised.

Consof Puppy Linux

  • It has the smallest software library.
  • When you use a puppy, you feel as if you’ve simply jumped 20 years back into time.
  • Because Puppy Linux is designed to run on low-resource PCs, the software utilised tends to be older, which is why it looks like it’s been around for 20 years.

19. Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a lightweight Linux system based on Ubuntu that utilizes LXQt instead of GNOME. Lubuntu claims to be lighter, less resource-hungry, and more energy-efficient. Lubuntu is a combination of LXQt and Ubuntu.

Pros of Lubuntu

  • The Ubuntu Kernel is included in Lubuntu, making it ideal for both business and home use.
  • It is available in both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version, all of which are free and virus-free. 
  • It runs flawlessly on 64-bit systems and consumes a fraction of the system resources of the Windows OS.

Cons of Lubuntu

  • At times, the system is painfully slow.
  • On high-end PCs, it doesn’t work very well at all.
  • If you have a faster PC, you can use features like the Unity Dash and its file search.

20. Xubuntu

xubuntu

Xubuntu is a community-maintained and built with Ubuntu as a base. Instead of Ubuntu’s GNOME desktop environment, Xubuntu uses the Xfce desktop environment. It ‘s goal is a light, stable and configurable desktop environment with conservative workflows.

 

 Xubuntu can be used for both  a novice and expert Linux user. Rather than targeting low-powered machines, it aims to improve existing hardware’s responsiveness and speed.

Pros of Xubuntu

  • Xubuntu, in contrast to Ubuntu’s (Gnome Desktop) and Kubuntu’s (KDE Desktop) siblings, is less feature-rich and focuses more on core functionality and a simple user interface.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Compatible with old hardware.
  • It supports a multi-desktop environment.

Cons of Xubuntu

  • It is slightly sluggish compared to Ubuntu. 
  • It is not a perfect solution for server operations.
  • It doesn’t support high-end graphics
  • It is not suitable for beginners or people with no prior programming experience.

Best Top 20 Ubuntu Alternatives (Pros and Cons) Conclusion.

These are the 20 best Ubuntu alternatives. We chose to highlight the best top 20 Ubuntu Alternatives. However, the selection of an OS depends on various factors. Also, if the OS consideration is for a commercial establishment, then there are certain critical factors that are important for a commercial establishment. I hope this article helps to select a suitable candidate for your system.

Avatar for Bhaskar Narayan Das
Bhaskar Narayan Das

Data analytics, Cloud development and software development are my passions. I have extensive knowledge in Java and the AWS platform. I am currently one of Cloud Infrastructure Services technical writers.

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