If you’re on your journey of finding that perfect distro for your system, the chances of ending up with Ubuntu-based distros are pretty high.
You may ask why.
Well, it is no surprise that Ubuntu is one of the most beginner-friendly Linux distros. It is also incredibly popular, which is why you will find a massive user community behind it. Not just that, it is also widely used on cloud servers.
So, having Ubuntu as the base for any Linux distribution should come with useful perks, right?
And that is why I came up with a list of the best Ubuntu-based distros in the hope for you’d find something worthy enough to stop distro hopping.
1. Official Ubuntu Flavors
If you do not like Ubuntu’s official offering with GNOME, you can try the official flavours that provide a different desktop environment on top of Ubuntu.
In simpler terms, you’re going to get the same Ubuntu experience, with a different user interface.
To make your user experience more pleasant, these desktop environments are pre-tweaked and themed and making them the perfect choice if you’re looking for something that works out of the box.
And these are the available options:
- Kubuntu (KDE Plasma)
- Lubuntu (The least resource-hungry offering using LXDE/LXQT)
- Ubuntu Studio (A distro for creators)
- Ubuntu Budgie (Budgie desktop environment)
- Ubuntu Kylin (Tailored for Chinese users)
- Ubuntu MATE (with MATE desktop and tools)
- Xubuntu (Xfce desktop)
You can also expect a new official flavour with the classic Unity desktop environment on Ubuntu 22.10, considering Ubuntu Unity Remix is now an official Ubuntu flavour.
Related: Explained: Which Ubuntu Version Should I Use?
2. Linux Mint
Key Features of Linux Mint
- No snap by default.
- A straightforward, easy-to-use experience with the Cinnamon desktop environment.
- Beautiful UI.
- Familiar experience for Windows users.
- Managing codecs and hardware drivers is pretty convenient.
If I have to describe Linux Mint in one line, that would be, “Simple and elegant user experience with enough room for advanced users”.
With Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop, you can expect a polished and tailored experience. Tools like Timeshift are now under development by the Linux Mint team, giving you a seamless experience with everything.
Linux Mint includes the essentials, which include the office suite of applications to a set of applications to satisfy your multimedia consumption needs, which makes it perfect for beginners.
Key Features of Pop!_OS
- Out-of-the-box support for Nvidia graphics.
- Cosmic Desktop (Customized GNOME experience).
- Provides basic functionality of Window manager.
- A recovery partition to revive the system from disasters.
Developed by System76, a popular open-source hardware manufacturer, Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS is what I’m currently using as my daily driver, and there’s a strong reason behind it.
Pop!_OS regularly updates the Linux Kernel package, running Linux Kernel 5.19 when writing this. Yes, I’m aware that you can easily upgrade to the latest kernel in Ubuntu, but having official support is convenient, which is where Pop!_OS excels as an Ubuntu-based distro.
Apart from the latest kernel, you also get a beautiful cosmic desktop, and some preinstalled apps such as Eddy to install deb packages conveniently, applies disk encryption by default, and many other features to have a pleasant experience!
4. KDE Neon
Key Features of KDE Neon
- The most vanilla KDE offering with an Ubuntu base.
- Gets you the most recent version of KDE Plasma.
Unless you want the latest KDE experience, KDE Neon is not for you. In other words, it is not tailored as a daily driver but aims to provide the bleeding edge KDE experience.
It is still one of the best Ubuntu-based distributions if you want to experience KDE’s latest offerings.
There are plenty of other distros based on KDE Plasma; Kubuntu is your best bet if you do not necessarily want the latest experience.
And apart from that, KDE Neon ships with the bare minimum of pre-installed tools, so users can have enough room to decide what they prefer for specific tasks.
Key Features of elementaryOS:
- Uses Pantheon, one of the most elegant desktop environments.
- Has picture-in-picture mode.
- A tailored App Center.
So if you’re a fan of macOS and want to enjoy Linux, elementaryOS will not disappoint you in any way.
As the developers have developed Pantheon desktop just for elementaryOS, you’d notice the attention to detail in every aspect, be it a dark mode or even accent colors. You get a great user experience with elementary OS.
Compared to other Ubuntu distributions, it may not have a fast release cycle. But, they tend to offer a solid experience with every release.
6. Zorin OS
Key features of Zorin OS:
- Different layouts are available, resembling Windows and macOS.
- Ability to install Windows software without any tweaks.
- A lite version of Zorin OS can revive a PC over a decade old.
Zorin OS is yet another Ubuntu-based distro that gives you a polished experience. It makes Linux look stunning with its wallpapers, user interface tweaks, and other changes.
You can use its tool Zorin connect to integrate your mobile device and computer seamlessly so that you can transfer files, control audio playback, and even use the mobile device as a touchpad!
7. Linux Lite
Key Features of Linux Lite:
- Extremely lightweight.
- With Xfce and the LTS version of Ubuntu, you can expect a stable experience.
- Easy to use.
So if you were searching for a lightweight distro that just works out of the box, well, Linux Lite is made for users like you. It is one of the best (and simple) Windows-like Linux distributions to install.
Stability is another core feature of Linux Lite that explains why it uses Xfce as its desktop environment.
Key Features of Voyager:
- Users can switch between GNOME and Xfce sessions in its 2-in-1 edition.
- Pre-configured with GUI elements and plugins to have a pleasant user experience.
Voyager is a Xubuntu-based Linux distro featuring GNOME and Xfce in its latest 22.04 LTS explorer edition.
The distribution provides user choice from the get-go. If you like ergonomics, start a GNOME session or go with Xfce for a simpler and fast experience.
Voyager comes with a customized look for an old, classy Linux experience.
I’d recommend this to anyone who loves to switch between environments, is looking for a customized experience, and the stability of Ubuntu.
9. Feren OS
Key Features of Feren OS:
- Gets you a minimally configured and fine-tuned KDE experience out-of-the-box.
- Customized yet lightweight on system resources.
- Web browser manager with pre-tweaked browsers for a better experience.
I already mentioned how Zorin OS offers you pre-configured layouts to suit yourself, but it is based on GNOME. What if you’re a KDE fan? Well, Feren OS is just for you!
Apart from a pre-configured KDE experience, the memory footprint was also convincing to have Feren OS on this list, and I’d highly recommend Feren OS to anyone who wants to get started with an Ubuntu-based distro powered by KDE Plasma desktop.
Key Features of LXLE:
- Extremely lightweight.
- Theme consistency is almost throughout the system.
LXLE is based on Lubuntu, so you get an idea of how light the memory footprint will be. It is one of the best lightweight Linux distros out there.
So if I want to summarise the whole distro in one word, that would be “efficient”. But that’s not it. You get plenty of customization options and collection wallpapers pre-installed to match the look.
When I used it in VM, I was surprised to have a system light as a feather (360Mb of idle RAM usage). It may not be a comfortable experience for a new Linux user, but if you do not mind a classic user interface and the latest of everything, this can be worth trying.
11. UbuntuDDE Remix
Key Features of UbuntuDDE Remix:
- Deepin desktop environment
- Beautiful user interface
Do you like Deepin Linux distribution based on Debian? But, not interested to try it?
Well, in that case, you can try UbuntuDDE Remix. It is not an official flavour, but it works pretty well with Ubuntu as its base.
Unlike Deepin Linux, it is not primarily tailored for Chinese users. So, you will find the language settings and the repositories set to the ones that work better than Deepin Linux.
Your Perfect Ubuntu-based Distro
Ubuntu remains the dominant choice to provide an easy-to-use experience to newbies and advanced users.
Sometimes we just want to get things done without needing to customize or control any aspect of our distribution. In such cases, Ubuntu-based distros save you time and give you plenty of options per your preferences.
If you have to use one of the above-mentioned distros, which one would it be? Share in the comments :)