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Best Newbie Distro? You Say Linux Mint.

According to our “Newbie” Distro Poll, someone considering moving from Windows or Mac to Linux should consider taking Linux Mint for a spin. The poll asked the question, “What Linux distro would you be most likely to recommend to a new Linux user?” Evidently this was a subject that interested many of you, because a whopping 1,339 votes were cast in this poll, making it the most number of votes one of our polls has ever received.

602 of you, representing 45% of the votes cast, said you’d steer someone new to Linux in the direction of Linux Mint. Ubuntu, the distro on which Mint is built, was a distant second, garnering 344 votes, or 25% of those cast.

After that, it wasn’t even close. PCLOS, a distro that defaults to the KDE desktop many consider to be easiest for Windows users to learn, picked-up 87 votes for 6%, with openSUSE close behind with 69 votes for 5%. Fifth place in our polling went to Mageia/Mandriva with 50 votes or 4%. 44 votes or 3% went to Fedora, with Chrome OS taking last place with 20 votes or 1%.

The “Newbie” Distro Poll was posted on May 20, 2013 and was closed on June 13 at about 7:45 PM EDT. Participants could vote for one distribution only out of a field that included the seven distros named above and an eighth choice labeled “Other.”

Voters who made the later choice (“Other”) could “write-in” a vote for a distro not listed by typing a choice into a provided text box. 123 participants, representing 9% of the total votes cast, chose to vote “Other.” 51 different distros ended-up being named by these “Other” voters.

The distros receiving more than one write-in vote are listed below, with the number of votes each received:

Linux Mint Tux

Found on the Linux Mint Forums

  • Debian–19 votes
  • Zorin–13
  • Kubuntu–8
  • Pinguy–7
  • Elementary–6
  • Slackware–5
  • Xubuntu–5
  • Arch–5
  • Manjaro–5
  • Lubuntu–4
  • Solus–4
  • Mepis–3
  • Gentoo–3
  • CrunchBang–3
  • Solus–4
  • Puppy–3
  • SolydXK–2
  • Trisquel–2
  • Lite–2
This poll is closed! Poll activity:
start_date 20/05/2013 01:18:32
end_date 13/06/2013 19:48:44
Poll Results:
What Linux distro would you be most likely to recommend to a new Linux user?

From the time this poll was opened until Monday afternoon of this week, voting on this poll was limited to one vote per computer by use of a cookie placed on the participants machine at the time the vote was cast. However, after another poll we were conducting was tainted and had to be closed early and the results discarded because a single user stuffed the ballot, we tightened voting security. Therefore, since Monday, voting in all of our polls has been controlled both by cookie and IP address. Before making this change to this poll, we checked our logs to determine that no obvious ballot stuffing had taken place.

The fact that both Linux Mint and Ubuntu fared well in this poll came as no surprise, as both distros have become somewhat synonymous with the term “user friendly” in the world of GNU/Linux distributions. However, we were somewhat surprised that PCLinuxOS didn’t recieve a larger share of the votes. Over the years, this distro has built a sizable user base, the OS is both robust and stable and KDE is considered by many to be the most “Window-like” of the major desktop environments.

We were also a little surprised that Mageia/Mandriva fared so poorly, as Mandrake (the original name for Mandriva) practically wrote the book on newbie friendly distros. However, it appears as if Mageia, the community based fork of the Mandriva code, is picking-up traction. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it perform much better when we repeat this poll next spring.

11 comments to Best Newbie Distro? You Say Linux Mint.

  • Being a former Ubuntu user that tranfered to Linux Mint, i have to admit the performance on my machine has significantly improved.

  • Eddie G.

    Linux Mint was my first foray into the world of Linux….it has been a faithful OS….I’ve gone from 10….right through to 15….and I’ve never had any major issues with my PC. It really is an OS that a newbie should use to get familiar with Linux! it gives you everything you need to move around in the FOSS world, without confusing you too much (I will admit i had NO idea what a .deb file was when I first started using it…but some serious reading cured me of THAT problem! LoL!) I even started my son on Mint…..my Mom is STILL on it…and my sister’s husband is now using it too. I sometimes wish i had like….”Donald Trump” money…I would throw so much of it at the creator of Linux Mint…so that FINALLy there could be competiton for Apple / Microsoft!…but I guess one day eventually huh?…

  • Albin

    I’m currently using Xubuntu Raring pretty happily on Persistent Live USB but will be giving Mint XFCE a try. All for fun.

    But don’t be ridiculous pretending (oh fantasy, oh fantasy) that a Windows XP user who has not had to reinstall the OS for half a decade and still has a completely current OS and third party software, is even remotely interested in a 9 month version of any Linux. Silly goose. Mint will have to pull up its socks and earn the right to wear long pants and it’s too late to do it before XP is terminated in 2014. Stupid Ubuntu, Silly Mint.

  • Arup

    The only distro I would ever recommend to a beginner would be Ubuntu. Why, because all the other distros in LINUX apart from RH, SUSE and Ubuntu are one man affair. The day Clement LeFebre decides to leave MINT, all users looking for long term comfort level as they had with their Windows or MAC would be left in lurch and permanently leave LINUX forever.

  • salparadise

    @Arup
    And what happens to Ubuntu when Mr Shuttleworth loses interest or runs out of money?

    Mint is supported by a strong community, just as Ubuntu, et al.
    Ubuntu is less and less like Linux with each new release. It is a waste of time recommending it to anyone other than those who will never want to explore their PC or use it to do anything other than surf and chat.

    Mint,on the other hand is “Linux, done properly”. An awesome place for newbies to start with all the capability of a full Linux distro. And it’s not run a by a dictator who keeps changing his mind as to what direction the distro is going in or who is allowed to contribute ideas to it.

    It also depends on where you’re coming from, “newbie” has come to mean “fresh from Windows with a boat load of bad habits and silly ideas”. What if the “newbie” in question had come from 10 years of Unix mainframe use? Would Mint be applicable? No, it wouldn’t. Slackware would be far more appropriate.

    Canonical are taking Ubuntu away from the main group of Linux distros, seeking, we presume, to imply they are different from the rest (whereas really they’re just more pompous and self righteous than all the other distros). Canonical mangled their desktop and alienated swathes of Users. That’s not a company I’d be prepared to introduce new users to. Even if they keep their promise with regards to price, Ubuntu isn’t Linux anymore, it’s a proprietary product built on Linux.

    Just keep reminding yourselves, every day if necessary, Mark Shuttleworth is not Steve Jobs 2.0

  • After having used Manjaro Xfce for a while now, I must admit that it makes for a good tradeoff. Great themeing, for one thing, and even though the Arch team seem to do what they can to distance themselves from the spinoffs, the Arch documentation still remains a powertool.

  • Morten Juhl-Johansen Zölde-Fejér, I’ve noticed you’ve been contributing quite a bit to these forums recently and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your contributions and to welcome you!

  • Caca

    I have recommended linux mint kde to few newbies.

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  • [...] Best Newbie Distro? You Say Linux Mint. According to our “Newbie” Distro Poll, someone considering moving from Windows or Mac to Linux should consider taking Linux Mint for a spin. The poll asked the question, “What Linux distro would you be most likely to recommend to a new Linux user?” Evidently this was a subject that interested many of you, because a whopping 1,339 votes were cast in this poll, making it the most number of votes one of our polls has ever received. [...]