30 Jan 2020

7 Best Linux Distros For Programmers

Linux distributions allow you to not only browse the web but also to work on any other necessary tasks. The Linux kernel is very flexible and it enables developers to make any modifications and contributions they want. Besides, Linux can run on any hardware and is compatible with all the popular programming languages.

The flexibility of Linux distros is a reason why Linux has always been so popular among programmers. Some distros have quite impressive functionality and many useful tools, offering the best environment for software developers. We prepared this list of the seven best distros so that you can choose the one that fits your objectives.

    1. Ubuntu

This is probably the most popular Linux distro, as it is used not only by programmers but also by regular users. This operating system is simple and convenient, which makes it a good choice for a beginner. However, if you're a seasoned developer, Ubuntu can offer you additional stability.
Ubuntu uses the DEB package manager inherited from Debian. However, the latest versions of Ubuntu also support Snap packages. Snap packages offer an easier and straightforward way to install and distribute new software. You can also use large repositories with different kinds of software for programmers.

Ubuntu has a very active community. It also helps customize the user experience with Ubuntu-based distros like Xubuntu or Lubuntu.

    2. Arch Linux

Arch Linux is different from Ubuntu because it's not as simple and user-friendly. This distro is intended for experienced developers who are looking for customization. Nothing is preconfigured so you must have the necessary knowledge to install Arch Linux.

Many developers who are looking for a lightweight distro choose Arch Linux, installing only the essential programs and a lightweight desktop environment. This way, you can make sure that nothing will interfere with your coding. Another advantage of Arch Linux is a big repository of available software.

    3. Debian

Debian preceded Ubuntu and many other Linux distros. Not only is it familiar for programmers, but it also has great support. If you've used Ubuntu before, Debian won't be difficult for you. Stable releases of Debian offer a stable and reliable environment for development, while the testing branch includes the latest packages and software. There is also an active support community that will help you if you have any issues trying Debian for the first time.

    4. Fedora

Fedora is also a very popular Linux distribution because it’s a perfect choice for programmers who cannot choose between Ubuntu and Arch Linux. On the one hand, Fedora is more stable than Arch Linux. On the other hand, it's faster than Ubuntu.

Fedora is easy to install and set up. Besides, it has a great developer portal. Just click "Start a Project," and you will find useful guides on developing mobile and desktop apps, command line, and web. The repositories include Eclipse, which is a multi-language IDE. Most developers know it because of Java, but it also features PHP and C/C++. If you want to expand Fedora's functionality, you can use various plugins.

    5. openSUSE

openSUSE also has a great reputation in the developer community. The main reason is that this distro comes in two versions: Tumbleweed and Leap. Tumbleweed is a stabilized, fast, and tested rolling release. Regular updates will ensure that you always have the latest OS, kernel, and application updates.

openSUSE also offers an easy software delivery method. You can simply go to software.opensuse.org, select the necessary package, and click "Direct install." That's it — no repositories, no commands, no compiling, and no dependency problems.

    6. CentOS

CentOS is an alternative to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which preceded Fedora. CentOS includes all the best features of RHEL, while also being a free release. You can run most commercial RHEL software on CentOS using YUM package management.

This distro has a great repository of software and Red Hat Software Collections for open-source databases and dynamic languages. This is a perfect environment for programmers who focus on enterprise development.

    7. Kali Linux
This system is based on Debian. However, this distro was created for the security area. Kali focuses on penetration testing so it offers a variety of security testing tools, including Aircrack-ng, John the Ripper, and OWASP ZAP, which are installed by default.

Kali Linux is very popular among security researchers, programmers, and developers. This distro is also a good choice for low-powered hardware, as it runs great on such devices as Raspberry Pi.

These Linux distros provide a great environment for development and programming. You can choose a distro that fits your objectives, no matter what niche you're working in. Some programmers might choose Debian or Ubuntu, while others might choose Arch Linux or openSUSE.

The right Linux distribution will help you develop and test a desktop or mobile app. However, you should also make sure that users will understand your app, no matter what language they speak. Therefore, we recommend that you use a professional localization service like The Word Point.

Linux-based operating systems provide a great environment for developers. However, if you're a beginner, you may need some time to learn to use them. No matter what distro you choose, you won't regret it. Just pay your attention to the method of software distribution.

Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.


  1. Mint 19.3 should be number one............

  2. Kali is not for developping purpose, it is not intended to be used as a regular desktop environment. It's for security and pentesting.