There is little to say about Ubuntu that we don’t already know. It is one of the most popular Linux distributions and behind it is Canonical, a company that today offers services and products to companies and individuals based on the cloud and, in particular, on Linux and free software. Among other things, Ubuntu has managed to inspire developers all over the world to create their own Linux. And some have become even more popular.
For a while, Canonical supported the creation of variations of Ubuntu that changed in small ways, such as its default desktop or its purpose. Some of them are still active. Others have fallen into obscurity.
But like other great distributions such as Debian or Slackware, Ubuntu has served as a base for other Linuxes that have built a reputation and, in some cases, have become completely independent of their Ubuntu base. Let’s take a look at the most popular examples today.
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What started as an alternative to Ubuntu became for years the most downloaded distribution, even ahead of Ubuntu itself. Linux Mint is now a mature project that offers three different versions depending on the desktop you want by default, Cinnamon, MATE or XFCE. In addition, it has also decided to launch a version based on Debian instead of Ubuntu.
Linux Mint is an operating system for generic use. With its own desktop theme and a good selection of software (more than 30,000 packages) to cover all fronts, it is easy to use and install, so anyone can use it, whether you are used to Linux or not. As the people behind it say, “It works out of the box”. That is, once installed, it works without you having to configure anything.
In addition to its Linux side, over time it has expanded its catalogue with hardware. You can now buy servers, computers, laptops and minicomputers with Linux Mint installed by default.
Another Ubuntu-based project is Pop!_OS. This time, it is the opposite model to Linux Mint. The initial idea was to build and sell computers. Software was inevitable. And since they wanted to include free software, Linux was the best option, and Ubuntu, an easier one to implement.
So System76, the company responsible for maintaining Pop!_Os, sells laptops, desktops, servers and minicomputers with their own operating system inside. An Ubuntu-based Linux designed to meet the needs of both professional and home users.
As for Pop!_OS itself, it covers all fronts. By default, it is a generic operating system ready to go right out of the box. And its software catalogue is designed for any task. From there, it offers advanced functions such as system-wide encryption, hardware optimisation, specific software for gamers, etc.
Its tagline says it all: “The fast, open source, privacy-friendly replacement for Windows and macOS”. The phrase would be true for any Linux, but elementary OS more than lives up to it.
Inspired by Ubuntu, this Linux is eye-catching from the first glance. Its creators have been expected to design a visually appealing desktop that reminds us of macOS. Both in appearance and in operation. In addition, its application shop covers most of the needs you may have.
Designed for a generic use, more domestic than professional, elementary OS is one of the best recommendations if you are going to switch to Linux and don’t want too many changes or complications.
One of the key elements when creating an operating system is the desktop. This is even more important in Linux. The desktop environment goes beyond what you see when you turn on your computer. It includes applications, processes and other graphical or operational elements that bring the operating system to life.
Among desktop environments, the two big ones for years were GNOME and KDE. They still are, but competition is fierce. Precisely, the people behind KDE decided to launch their own Linux to show the best of their desktop: KDE neon.
The purpose of KDE neon is to offer a fully functional Linux operating system and, at the same time, to showcase KDE in an official and original environment. The idea has worked, as this Linux is among the most downloaded.
In addition to the KDE desktop and the goodness of Ubuntu, this Linux distribution has the entire catalogue of KDE applications ready to install. A catalogue that includes popular apps such as digiKam, krita, Okular, ChoqoK, Kopete, Konqueror, AudioTube, Dragon Player or Kaffeine.
With a similar charter to elementary OS, Zorin OS aims to be an alternative to Windows and macOS with a focus on speed, security and privacy. The result is a generic, multi-purpose operating system.
Available in several versions, we can install it on old computers to give them a second life or squeeze a new PC for gaming, multimedia or professional tasks. There is even a version for education and scientific research.
Although they do not build computers, Zorin OS developers have reached agreements with several manufacturers to be the default operating system for laptops, desktops and compact minicomputers.