Hi Danny.

Your question "What is the best Linux" can't be answered since it is
often personal preference. It is the same as asking what is the best
car, best TV show, or who is the best musician. Everyone will have a
different opinion. And it really does come down to opinion.

Several people have asked what are you going to use the computer for?
I'll simply suggest that if you are looking for an alternative to
Windows 7 or Windows 10 and simply want the computer for web browsing,
email, maybe a few letters, and playing music or videos, then ANY of
the top six Linux versions on the Distrowatch.com web site will
probably install and run just fine and do everything you want. The
next 20 will probably work also....

I am still a NOOB with Linux. The above list of items is primarily
what I use the computer for. I chose Linux Mint starting with version
17.1, then 18.0, and now 19.1, But I've played with multiple other
distributions and had good luck. I started using Linux on a daily
basis about the time Windows XP was killed off. I didn't want to
support Microsoft and keep buying new computers when my old one would
do everything I needed as long as I could get security updates.

Instead of asking us for the "best" Linux, you can search for the same
phrase on Google and read a bunch of web pages, add in 2019 or 2020 if
you want the latest reviews. What you really want is reviews that will
rate the various distributions based on ease of use, features, and
target audience. Unless you are in the "guru" class, you probably
should avoid Gentoo Linux and Linux From Scratch. If all you want is a
simple replacement for Windows WITHOUT running your old Windows
software, then any of the first 5 or 10 Linux Distros on
Distrowatch.com will probably fill the bill. Personally, I like Linux
Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, which is based on Debian. But that is
just my opinion based on the way I use the computer and my opinion is
worth every cent you paid for it...,

There are a few things you will want to be aware of. Again, they are
my just opinion.

If your computer is too new, you may have problems simply because the
people writing drivers haven't caught up with the your hardware. You
can also have trouble with some laptops, or any computer, if the
manufacturer got too "frisky" using uncommon chips or using them in an
uncommon way. Usually that isn't a serious problem and a bit of
Googling will point you to a fix. But if you can't find an answer
after an hour or two of search, then download a different distro and
try that one.... I've had to do that multiple times when trying to
find a distro which works well on an old laptop or with a weird

You may want to choose several different distributions so you have an
option if the first one gives you problems. I think one of my more
common problems has been wanting to try a new distro but the bootable
DVD will not boot in my computer because of BIOS vs UEFI differences.
Most modern distros can also write to a USB stick and boot from there,
but that isn't anywhere near 100% either.

Years ago, my most common problems were video, sound cards, WIFI, and
printers. The sound card and WIFI problems are pretty well solved.
Some people have trouble with their video card but I don't because my
video cards are simple and use very standard chips. But I can't say
the same for printers. That is still my usual problem with different
distros. If you have an HP laser printer, there will probably be no
trouble. A few years ago I had a Canon laser printer and it took
several months before I found the trick to make it print properly
without rebooting the computer after every print job. I'm now using a
Brother HL-L2300D laser printer because it was CHEAP. But I'm still
having trouble getting it to print long docs with graphics. Text
prints OK. Just be aware you may have trouble.

I would suggest you start by reading a bunch of the "best Linux to
replace Windows" web sites. Then choose half a dozen distros and read
the reviews about them on Distrowatch. Then choose three of them and
download the ISO files and burn a bootable "live" DVD for each of
them. Then you can boot each one and play with them before you install
any of them. Test the major functions, networking, WIFI, sound, play a
video, and try the printer. Make notes about what you like and don't
like, then try the next one. Running from a DVD is SLOW, so ignore
that problem while testing the distros.

It was said that defectors from the old Communist USSR used to have
breakdowns because they had so many choices to make every day of their
new life. Just the number of choices in the big-box stores or grocery
stores gave them trouble. Linux is similar.

All Linux distros use the same basic software at the core of the
operating system. Beyond that it is choices and how you optimize the
extra pieces you pile on top. We choose to use some pre-configured
distribution that someone with more knowledge has put together for us.
We accept "his" choices so we don't have to figure out how to do it
ourselves. If you decide later that he left something out or you like
a different program than what he provided, you can add it to your
system from the "repository" of Linux programs that all distros
maintain. One benefit of trying many distros is that you get to see
some of the different software and might decide to add it to your
system later.

One major "choice" I haven't mentioned yet is the choice of "window
manager". The window manager controls the screen and is what lets you
"point and click" to run a program or interact with your browser.
Microsoft Windows has a different window manager in every version of
the OS, but you don't get to choose, MS tells you what you get. Just
remember how the screen changed as you went from Windows 2000, to Win
XP, to Vista, then Win 7, 8, and now Win 10. I used Win 2000 for a
long time and it was better than Win NT4, I liked the Win XP screen a
lot, I can live with Win 7 and I hate Win 10, but I can't choose a
different window manager with MS.

Linux goes the other route. There are maybe 4 or 5 major window
managers and at least a dozen minor versions. At minimum they all do
the same thing. The difference is in the extra features and the eye
candy they provide. The big two are KDE (Cinnamon) and Gnome (Mate).
They are considered "heavy" because they have a lot of extra features
and eye candy and take a bigger chunk of the CPU cycles to run. I
currently use Linux Mint with the Mate window manager on my dual core
2.5GHz laptop. On a slower computer or one with 1GB of RAM or less,
I'd probably choose the XFCE window manager or one of the other "light
weight" window managers for older computers. Or if I wanted a bit more
"snap" in my window manager, I could still use any of the light weight
versions on the fastest computer made.

My last comment will be regarding running your old Windows programs on
Linux. So far I haven't bothered because for most of what I want to
run I can find a free Linux program to do the same thing. The only
money I spend on software is when I make a donation to support a
program I like and use. But I'm not using Linux for heavy graphics or
video rendering or building a database for a Fortune 500 company. My
computer is just a hobby and daily requirement for life, but not how I
make a living....

If you do have some old Windows programs that you can't live without
and can't find a free alternative, then you can do your own research
and figure out how to make it work under Linux. But I'm not the one to
answer any questions on that subject.... But chances are pretty good
you can make it work...

This should be enough to keep you going for a while. Once you choose a
few distros to try and if you still have problems installing the
distro of your choice, that will be the time to come back here with a
specific question and the guys (and gals) will try to help.

Your last option is to try attending one of the local Linux group's
meetings. You can find some info at Penguins Unbound
<https://www.meetup.com/PenguinsUnbound/> and perhaps find something
in your area, or ask here on the TCLUG list. It used to be that
Penguins Unbound would schedule an "Installfest" at one of the spring
meetings where you could take your computer and get help and advice on
installing Linux, but I don't know if one is scheduled for this

Good luck with your journey to Linux.


I vote the Second Amendment FIRST!

The things they do not tell you are usually the clue to solving the problem.