What is your favorite Linux distribution for use on the desktop?

36% (5114 votes)
11% (1617 votes)
9% (1247 votes)
10% (1440 votes)
1% (88 votes)
2% (263 votes)
12% (1753 votes)
8% (1089 votes)
4% (508 votes)
other (please tell us which one in the comments below)
8% (1095 votes)
Total votes: 14214


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Slackware, since approximately 1995

Theodore Kilgore's picture

I have lost count of the year when I started using Linux. I started with Slackware and stuck with it, as I felt right at home with it. I have several machines.

For some time, I have been running Slackware or Slackware64 current. I do not stick to numbered releases. One of the things that I really like is that the basic libraries and the GNU tool set are always kept up to date.

Theodore Kilgore

The one that works

Col. Panek's picture

...with the least amount of screwing around, hours spent on the forums, etc.

Puppy....almost (no wifi)
Bodhi....OMG what the hell is that
LMDE....."works right out of the box"....except no webcam, wireless, audio...
Natty w/ Unity.....BINGO! I can get back to work.

When I retire and need a hobby, I'll go back to farting around with distros and desktops.

Puppy is my 2nd best

Quattro5's picture

Wi-Fi worked great on my Compaq NC-6120- you must have one of these broadcom wi-fi cards.

I use Mint XFCE on this laptop now and am done distro-hopping (on this laptop).

I am working on old projects and Puppy is my favorite on old machines with over 128 Mb of RAM.

Linux Mint Debian

Anonymous's picture

Linux Mint Debian Edition.
The polish and media capabilities of mint. The stability of Debian in a rolling upgrade distribution.

Other distros

Anonymous's picture


Kubuntu FTW!

Rob's picture

I strongly prefer KDE over GNOME and thus run Kubuntu instead of Ubuntu.

For a follow-up poll, I'd really be interested in knowing "What Is Your Favourite Linux Desktop?"


puppylinux also

Anonymous's picture

I use Linux Mint on my desktop, however I always keep a copy of Puppy Linux on CD for use on family and freinds computers. The number of old laptops with very limited resources and bloated OS makes Puppy shine.

Puppy's numbers are flawed....

Quattro5's picture

As I think lots of people use it, but not as 1st choice.

It'd be interesting to know what is everyone's 2nd best Linux distro....


Anonymous's picture

Aptosid with KDE ueber alles!!! Seems I'm not the only one ;)


WAP3's picture

started with Red Hat in 2002.
found Mepis early on [v3 if I remember]
then v6 was the only one to recognize my HP laptop devices
have hung onto v7 and fixing to bite the bullet for v11


Anonymous's picture

Mepis is the first distro where I got wireless to work. That gave it critical mass and I've used it since.


timkb4cq's picture

I've used Mandrake, Ubuntu, Debian Slackware, & Vector and they all have their good points, but MEPIS has been my favorite since 2006.

It's based on debian stable so it's rock solid stable, with the important user applications updated and set up in a user friendly fashion. On most hardware, everything works OOTB, including wireless and accelerated video. And the forums are the most helpful I've found anywhere.


Anonymous's picture



Anonymous's picture

Slackware on Compaq laptop

Using Slackware on the

Anonymous's picture

Using Slackware on the desktop since 1994 ...

Slackware, but... "don't try

DPY's picture

Slackware, but... "don't try this at home".


crrptr's picture

Pardus is getting better day by day..


cwl's picture

Previously used Vector, now Slackware. It just seems more down to earth and not as "arty" as most of the popular distributions. Would've also liked to try Linux From Scratch but unfortunately I just don't have the time to get that deeply involved.

Other distro

Anonymous's picture

Mandriva, no doubt!

Other disto

Anonymous's picture

Yes, Mandriva

Prefering Kubuntu

Anonymous's picture

I prefer Kubuntu. KDE is fast, very flexible and easy to customize. As an added bonus, it comes without the Mono infection that is now part of basic Ubuntu for the
time being. It may disappear from future editions.

Kubuntu, of course

Tomas's picture

KDE is customizable in the extent I need it (almost no constraints).
Comes directly with important applications like digikam, kmail.
And I love to use simply Konqueror instead of different tools for webbrowsing and filebrowsing.


Gerrit's picture

What's wonderful about the comments here is that they show how well Linux and it's distributions support different preferences and styles in using a desktop computer. Sometimes people argue that there is too much choice, that to make Linux on the desktop a succes choices need to be limited. To me the richness of choice, which gives people who don't feel at home in the mainstream desktop OSes a place to go, shows that Linux is a HUGE success on the desktop if you look at other metrics than market share.

So, approaching it from that perspective, here's my story.

The first distribution I tried was SUSE, back when it still was a German company. I probably did a default desktop install, and was overwhelmed with the amount of software installed. I didn't know where to start to get to know the system. That taught me its better for me to start with a minimal installation and gradually extend it as I grow familiar with it. If that was an option with SUSE I didn't recognise it, and I lost interest for a while.

Later I tried RedHat, when that was still aimed at consumers and before Fedora existed. I did better than with SUSE, but at some point ran into serious stability issues, simultaneous high levels of network and disk I/O left me with a corrupted file system. That taught me stability was much more important than having the latest and greatest.

So I looked into the then available distros, and found one that had a reputation for valuing stability over impatience, and made it very easy to do a minimal install and build from there: Debian.

I run Debian stable, and I've never looked further. It's rock solid, no-nonsense, easy to maintain, it does what I want. There have been a few occasions where it took too long for new versions of software to appear in stable, but when I discovered backports.org that was taken care of.

I have been a KDE user for a long time, simply because it was the default in SUSE and because I liked it. It was similar to Windows, only better. But I gradually discovered I'm not a typical desktop user. I've never had a use for overlapping windows, I want everything maximized, or occasionally tiled. I prefer using the keyboard over the mouse for many things. I prefer directly editing the configuration files in /etc over using fancy graphical configuration tools. I prefer navigating the file system in a console window and starting applications from there over clicking on icons in file managers. I learned to use and like vim. I evolved from using OpenOffice to Lyx to plain LaTeX for formatted text documents. I found KDE was increasingly getting in my way. I looked for desktop or window managers that support the way I work, and found Awesome, which I'm very happy with now.

Because of the flexibility and richness in choice, not only does Linux let you choose a system that matches the way you like to work with a computer, it actually gives you the opportunity to discover how you like to work, and how you can be most productive. For me that turns out to be very different from what Microsoft or Apple think is best. On Linux, the way you use your computer can evolve with you, Linux doesn't restrict you or make your choices for you. The energy you put in exploring the possibilities pays off in a big way. This is freedom. I absolutely love Linux for that.

Kubuntu - KDE is much easier

Anonymous's picture

Kubuntu - KDE is much easier for desktop (grandma is using it too) than gnome.
For servers, no better distro than Debian (without X of course ;-) )

Oh boy ...

Running's picture

... what a hairy poll!

What will the outcome be? Have the community dispose of the least popular distributions?

Linux is a kernel. I adore my Linux box for its kernel and operating system.
Everything else is topping, choose whatever best fits your needs.

I'd love to see some polling about LJ itself.
The magazine growingly bores me, at a degree proportional to the shrinking of Zack Brown's "diff -u" corner. (Thanks heaven Doc's article doesn't give in size.)


A big +1 for your 3rd

Mayuresh's picture

A big +1 for your 3rd para..

I do use a distro that I got familiar with when I first came across Linux. It is incidentally Fedora (erstwhile RH when I started using). Do I like it - yes, very much. Is it "the best"? I have no basis to say.

I anyway don't use its default look and feel. Don't even install KDE or GNOME. Just make a minimal installation and install apps and desktop managers I wish.

In administrative matters distros differ here and there. I don't find that good enough basis to prefer one over the other.

So best distro for me is - well anything that runs Linux...

Gentoo is my favorite linux

gentooing's picture

Gentoo is my favorite linux distro.


TemporalBeing's picture


Gentoo as well

Anonymous's picture

I use gentoo as well. I switched over to gentoo from Fedora around Fedora 4 when the upgrade to 5 clobbered my system. I have Fedora on one my laptops and recently upgraded, and it clobbered the system. I have not had that sort of problem with gentoo. It is a pain to set up and get going, but once the system is in place it is much easier and less painful to upgrade and keep going.

Mine too!

Curtis's picture

I use Gentoo for everything. I hate binary-based distros. Dependency nightmare every time. >:-(

favorite Linux is aptosid

Michael Crock's picture

Was a Debian loyalist but had a problem with hybrid Gnome and KDE mixture.
settled the issue with the use of KDE running on a modified and stabilized sid.
Really like aptosid and it runs great (if you wish to learn about system management) it can teach a lot.

Ubuntu but NOT 11.04

Daniel Castro's picture

I voted Ubuntu because it has been my preferred distro up until 11.04 - Unity is just not for me and it's very buggy. I'm still using 10.04 on my main laptop at work and moved to Mint at home.
Not sure what my next distro will be on my main laptop once I decide to move on from 10.04... maybe Fedora (which I already have on a Netbook and love).

Same here

Anonymous's picture

I also voted Ubuntu, and I'm still on 10.04.
I don't think that I will easily be convinced to move on to a later Ubuntu version, though. When the time comes to drop Ubuntu 10.04, I will likely select a different distro; I, too, seem to like Fedora a lot.

Other distro

kimmersly's picture



Brendan's picture

I love openSUSE - with one qualification. I detest the jerky horrible KDE 4. Instead, I have installed KDE 3.5 with my openSUSE 11.4 on both my Acer L100 desktop and my ASUS EEE 1000 PC laptop (the one with the two SSDs). openSUSE is stable and more than fast enough for me and gives me almost everything I need to work with. For the few old Windows programs I must have, I use WinXP operating on a Virtualbox VM on both machines.

my distro is:

Ind-PC_student's picture

Mageia Linux 1 - Love it to bits; fresh, community based, nice & best of all stylish.


J.J.'s picture

I'd tried a couple distro on my 3 years old Sony laptop, Ubuntu and OpenSUSE,
expected to get a better performance over Windows XP...
I was disappointed, even after trying many performance tuning
from many websites. Finally, I came to try Crunchbang for something
considering very lightweight, and I've been with it ever since. Not
fancy distro but very powerful and just enough for my daily use,
Latex, office, web browsing, programming.... great work Crunchbang #!

Not really Debian

Anon's picture

I voted Debian in the polls, but my actual favourite distros are Mepis (currently v.11) and Crunchbang (currently v.10), both of which are Debian-based.

So is Ubuntu...

Anonymous's picture

...and Mint, and puppy (one of its floavours) and many others.

not really

Anon's picture

Ubuntu's lineage can be traced to Debian, but it isn't really debian anymore, right? As far as I know, you can't just use the Debian repositories. The normal Mint is Ubuntu-based, not Debian. Puppy, I'm not sure although I know you can run stuff from Ubuntu repositories.

The difference is that Mepis and Crunchbang do in fact use the Debian repositories.

aptosid with kde :)

the-little-gnome's picture

aptosid with kde :)


krueschi's picture

Since version 7 of the distribution, formerly known as Mandrake Linux, I'm sticked to this.
Easy to use graphical interfaces for configuration for the "real" config files (not as in suse linux...), a decent amount of preconfigured great software and I like the design ;-)


Arvi Pingus's picture

Mandriva. THE utmost friendly distro. 2010 was near perfect and 2011 is on his way. Aiming for being THE KDE distro, while not forgetting Gnome and other WM's.


Lee's picture

I like Ubuntu but I prefer KDE


Ken Roberts's picture

Still relevant after all these years. I use it on servers and desktops/laptops.


Anonymous's picture

I use Fedora, it's stable and feature full and conveniently close to the environment I have at work

Gnome 3 however is a waste of space ;), XFCE gets my actual desktop.

favorite distro

akallio9000's picture

I like Slackware, it doesn't try to coddle you, but it doesn't get in the way as a result.

I keep coming back to Mepis

Anonymous's picture

I have used on a daily desktop basis, over several months to several years each - since 2002 - Lindows->Linspire, Libranet (RIP Jon), Red Hat->Fedora, Mepis and Ubuntu. Plus tries at some others, including Debian, SUSE, Mandrake, DSL and Puppy.

Debian always seems overwhelming (do they have a simple pre-configured desktop setup for non-experts, yet?), SUSE used to make it impossible to download for free (remember those days?) then got bought out - and has now been bought out again, Mandrake would never work on my machine, DSL is focused on staying at 50 MB, Puppy runs as root.

I became a big Red Hat/Fedora fan - Red Hat making itself an industry standard. Fedora would generally work very well - then flake out without any warning on an update and become unusable. This happened with three different versions of Red Hat and Fedora before I finally wised up and stopped doing free "alpha testing" for Red Hat's corporate product. Burned thrice by Red Hat/Fedora, I won't ever be going back.

I liked Ubuntu during its soothing brown days - it became more and more solid and some of the fan-boyism started to calm down as Ubuntu began to mature. But then Ubuntu went purple and a little bizarre - like someone coming out of the closet, determined to finally be whatever IT wants to be. And there is Ubuntu's unhealthy obsession with Mono. I tried the alternative CD with whole disk encryption along the way - then, with one update, my whole encrypted Ubuntu disk became inaccessible forever. Definitely time to trod other paths . . .

Between disasters with other distributions, I keep coming home to Mepis.

Mepis is solid, well thought out, careful and quiet. It just works.

Without bragging about it.

With Mepis 11, my nVidia card finally works with hardware 3D acceleration right out of the box. Lesse . . . glxgears is running at 9558.091 FPS on a silent nVidia GeForce 7600GT DVI video card. No effort on my part - video bliss.

Mepis 11 ships with LibreOffice. Warren gets it.

The latest Firefox is available via the community repositories.

KDE is *EXCELLENT* on Mepis. Not an afterthought, as on some other distributions. I am not into the KDE/Gnome wars - I find both work well: if you simply want to give KDE a fair shake, Mepis is an excellent choice to see what KDE has to offer.

K3b, the KDE CD/DVD burner, it the best CD/DVD burner that I have found.

All-in-all - year after year, Warren and the crew keep plodding solidly along. And Mepis just keeps getting better and better and better.

More and more solid.

I cannot say the same for Fedora or for Ubuntu.

Yes - I'll have flings with other distros. They are bright and colorful, they say the right things and they surely get a fellow's attention.

But when they screw everything up - and they do - well - I hope that Mepis will keep taking me back.

It's always like coming back home.

Good fortune to you in all of your travels -



Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
W.C. Handy -- won't you look down over me
Yeah I got a first class ticket
But I'm as blue as a boy can be

Then I'm walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel . . .

Marc Cohn

RHEL Clone

Dave Miller's picture

Currently running a mixture of CentOS and Scientific Linux clones of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Quite simply, I liked the stability I got with Red Hat Linux from when I started with RHL 5 to the last free version, RHL 9. I didn't like the instability of Fedora although it has gotten better so I first switched to White Box Linux. When that effort ran into too much work and not enough support I switched to CentOS. When I recently started playing with IPv6 I rapidly ran into incompatibility issues until I moved first to a trial version of RHEL 6 and then Scientific Linux 6 while waiting (still waiting) for CentOS 6.

I'll probably switch everything back to CentOS after CentOS 6.1 comes out. On the other hand, I may stick with SL.


Of perhaps more importance

No Telling's picture

Of perhaps more importance than which distro for desktop use is which windows manager.

Even though my primary distro is Gentoo, I will use Mint from time to time.

However, regardless of distro on the desktop, my preferred WM is KDE. In other words, the question of preferred distro on the desktop should be more properly regarded as superficial compared to which WM for the desktop.