Top 3 Linux Distributions That ‘Just Work’

Jonathan MathewsPublic

Twenty years ago, when I first started using Linux, finding a distribution that worked, out of the box, was an impossible feat. Not only did the installation take some serious mental acuity, configuring the software and getting connected to the Internet was often a challenge users were reluctant to attempt.

Today, things are quite different. Linux now offers distributions that anyone can use, right out of the box. But, even among those distros that “just work,” some rise to the top to stand as the best in breed. These particular flavors of Linux are perfect for users hoping to migrate away from Windows or mac OS and who don’t want to spend hours getting up to speed on how the platform works, or (more importantly) making the system perform as expected.

In this article, I highlight the three distributions I believe are the best bets for anyone to use, without having to put in any extra “post install” time for configuration or problem solving.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at those distributions that qualify as the best in the “just works” category.


For the longest time, Ubuntu was considered the distribution for new users. It was also the single most popular distribution. But then Canonical abandoned GNOME for Unity, and things took a downward turn. Don’t get me wrong, I was a big fan of Unity (The HUD was well ahead of its time), but the average user … not so much. Ubuntu has now returned to GNOME, which should go a long way to winning back some of the users it lost with Unity.

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