Best Linux Distro for Programmers

One can argue endlessly about which Linux Distro is better for programmers – the opposing camps are full of reasonable arguments. Today we will talk about Linux systems – unlike competitors, they give more freedom and allow you to configure them for your tasks and machine capabilities. The open-source format is another plus. This is exactly what programmers love so much. If you are thinking of abandoning the “native” Windows or MacOS – grab a selection of the best Linux distributions.


Ubuntu is considered the best system for beginners, switching to it from Windows and MacOS will not destroy a single nerve cell. Installing programs and packages is extremely simple: basic familiarity – and you will not feel the inconvenience. For developers and programmers, this Linux OS is attractive for its stability and reliability.

Ubuntu is constantly growing and updating, in this it is similar to the “older” competitors. Like Windows, it has several distributions (Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu) that retain functionality while requiring fewer resources. This is a strong argument for older machines or applications where high performance is needed.

Bonus – great OS support. All the shortcomings in Ubuntu are eliminated with lightning speed, technical support answers questions constantly, and the list of software distributions is huge and constantly updated.

Read more about Ubuntu cloud storage

Pop! _OS

The American computer and server manufacturer System76 released the Pop! _OS operating system last year. Formally, this is the same Ubuntu, but changes in the GNOME graphical shell and the inclusion of its own packages made it legally a new system.

In fact, Pop! _OS is Ubuntu with a redesigned interface and improved functionality. If you have any complaints about the appearance of the first person on our list, try Pop! _OS.


Debian is the base OS for the aforementioned Ubuntu and Pop! _OS as well as the less popular SteamOS, Linux mint, and Knoppix. Exceptional stability makes Debian a solid foundation for add-ons. If you want to make your operating system with blackjack and other applications, customize Debian.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is one of the most famous corporate Linux-based operating systems. CentOS is its closest alternative, allowing you to run most RHEL applications and use the YUM download manager. Another advantage is that CentOS has access to the Red Hat Software Collections (RHSCL) repository, which expands the possibilities for using languages ​​and databases.

CentOS is suitable for professional development, allowing you not to waste time organizing interactions with colleagues and looking for fresh distributions.


An alternative to RHEL for corporate use. Updates are released every six months, all necessary packages are included in the base assembly, and the configuration is automatic. Fact (almost an advertisement): Fedora is used by Linus Torvalds himself, rating this OS above Ubuntu and Debian.

Kali Linux

An operating system designed for cybersecurity programmers. If you’ve seen Mr. Robot, you’ve probably spotted Kali Linux there. It is based on Debian and contains many tools for hacking and protecting your system. 

For example, John the Ripper, a utility for recovering passwords from hashes, Aircrack-ng, a wireless network trap and traffic interceptor, and an OWASP ZAP scanner are supplied out of the box. Such a set will be of interest to every developer, and this is only a small part of the possibilities.

Another feature is the ability to fully install the OS on the Raspberry Pi as an alternative to Raspbian.

Arch Linux

If you want a lightweight, highly customizable operating system (including kernels), check out Arch Linux. The OS comes with a bare foundation and Pacman – a package manager. The graphical interface comes as an option, not a necessary component, which is appreciated by labor programmers.


Gentoo has the same advantages and disadvantages as Arch. The former includes total control over the assembly: literally every element will be installed only with your permission. Hence the disadvantages – without experience in Linux systems, it will be difficult to assemble a convenient OS.


Linux OS variation for professional programmers. Kernel and package manager – to create a reliable system for personal use. Setting up here is a little more convenient than in previous distributions, but it better stock up on coffee and patience – the installation will take a long time.


Let’s get back to the “friendly” systems that a Linux newbie should look out for. OpenSUSE is a worthy alternative to Ubuntu. Convenient for developers thanks to the many available frameworks and applications that are downloaded using the YaST package manager. With it, you will forget about standard Windows and MacOS applications – everything here is also at the highest level.

Elementary OS

Let’s conclude the review with the most understandable system for beginners. Elementary has a lot of graphical add-ons, so it’s easy to switch to it from a familiar OS. There are not many opportunities for a developer, but the user will appreciate many exclusive GUIs and applications.

If you like Elementary OS, check out ChaletOS and Manjaro. These are systems similar in structure, which are suitable for everyday use: viewing mail, photos, and videos. With their help, you can give a second life to an old laptop.

There are significantly more assemblies and custom Linux systems than the eleven listed. But they are the most popular and stable today. Get to know them, “fill your hand”, evaluate the advantages and disadvantages, and be sure to share your experience in the comments!

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