There are quite a number of linux distribution out there and new ones are being added as the days go by. This means picking a distro amongst the lot becomes quite a difficulty. Luckily for you, I have hand-picked the best linux distributions in 2016 for you. These are the top distributions targeting very different uses and users and I bet at least one is going to appeal to you. So let’s get started.
1. Linux Mint 18 - Just Works
Linux Mint is currently the most highly ranked Linux distro on distrowatch and deservedly so. The main appeal of Linux Mint is that it works flawlessly out of the box. Also for the newbie or Windows user, there is familiarity and ease-of-use. It is available with the Cinnamon desktop environment for modern PCs and the MATE desktop environments for lower spec PCs. It is also available with KDE and XFCE desktop environments.
2. Arch Linux - Customize Away
For the advanced Linux user, Arch Linux still is the best out there. Arch is a simple and lean rolling distro. Arch provides you with the core framework, allowing you to build your system to suit your particular needs. New versions are available every 6 months. Although it is not for the novice, Arch has great support and documentation with a very vibrant community which will help the newcomers with time and patience build their customized linux-distro.
3. Elementary OS Loki - Gorgeous
Elementary OS arguably is the most gorgeous Linux distro out there. The developers of the distro describe it as “A fast and open replacement for Windows and macOS” and rightly so. For the mac user will easily notice the resemblance to MacOS. The developers have also built some of the core applications to match the design of the OS. Elementary allows for little customization, but who needs that when they can make it look this gorgeous.
4. Ubuntu 16.04 - Good Old Ubuntu
Ubuntu is probably the most popular linux distro out there. It redefined linux for desktops by providing a very capable and user friendly alternative to Microsoft Windows. Unity is the default desktop environment and it is as easy and simple as you could imagine. It is also available in other flavors including Gnome, KDE, LxQt, MATE and other community supported desktop environments. In 2016, Ubuntu is still capable of meeting your desktop needs. For the newbie, Ubuntu still remains a worthy choice.
5. Solus - New Experience
Solus is a relatively new linux distro, built with “ease of use” in mind. The appearance is a very modern one considering its recent development. Solus comes with the Budgie Desktop environment with its focus on aesthetics. The downside of its newness is that it does not enjoy the community base like the other well established distros in this list. Nonetheless, Solus is new and different and since it is getting quite the attention, it can only get better.
6. Debian - Stability
Debian is one of the oldest linux distributions around. With its focus on stability, it's not surprising that many other distros including Ubuntu are based on it. New versions take don’t come as often as other distros due to the rigorous testing process it undergoes. Debian is also a good choice if you’re looking to running a server on the cheap side. It also enjoys a very strong community and developer support in such that you’re going to get a version of almost all linux packages and software available for Debian.
7. Fedora - Bleeding Edge
Fedora 24 is one of the best linux distributions of 2016. For the developer, it is an excellent choice with a lot of in-built capability and tools for server, cloud and virtualization. As a general purpose desktop, it is not quite up to some of the distros looked at in this list. Other than that, you can be assured of a very well integrated and smooth linux distro.
openSUSE 42.1 is a very capable multi-purpose distro, with a stable release (openSUSE Leap 42.1), a rolling release (Tumbleweed) for those who prefer the bleeding edge software packages. There are options for most of the popular desktop environments not limited to but including KDE, GNOME and XFCE. It is perfect as a desktop OS, and will effectively serve your server needs. There is even openSUSE-EDU that seeks to meet the needs of those in education. However you want your linux served, openSUSE just might be the one, it is the one that fits all.
There are a lot of other awesome linux distros out there which have not been captured in this list. Some worthy mentions include Deepin OS and Apricity Linux which are quite beautiful. Tails for its security and privacy, Kali for penetration testing, Steam OS for the gamer. In any case, these are some of the very top Linux distros of 2016 so far. Did I leave any distro out? Let us know in the comments below.