Distro Picker

Linux Distro Picker

To celebrate the cover feature on the latest Linux Format, we've built a web app that helps you find out which Linux distro is right for you. Just enter details of what you're looking for, and it will pick your perfect distro match.

Let us know what you're looking for in a Linux distro, and we'll tell you which one is right for you.

Desktop Environments:

How important are the following to you (1 = not important at all, 99 = extremely important)

Desktop or server?


Stability or bleeding edge software?

Because you can't have both
Stability Bleeding edge

Ease of use or ultimate configurability?

Ultimate configurability Ease of use

To run on an old computer or new?

Old New

Package manager?

Don't care

Make your changes above, then hit

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Your comments


Your survey said "Pear". I do use Pear on one machine, on others I use Ubuntu but with a version of Gnome 2. I'm just quite impressed that out of all the distros you could have found, you came up with a relatively obscure one that I do actually use as my best match! Well done!


I found the picker really interesting, thanks. While I do like tinkering, I'm scared of Gentoo so I'll stick with openSuse for now.


Exactly the very same distro I am using right now. Perfect match.

bang on target

arch, what I'm using

Right On

You suggested Gentoo, which was my first choice too, but I decided against it because it was not pure Linux enough. So I'm using Arch, and that was your second suggestion. Nice work!


thanks, my choice


Just what I use... great

Slackware for the up-to-date

As many have been puzzled to hear, I prefer Slackware for the updated packages. Not the ones provided by the distribution itself - only security updates are released - but the build scripts released by the Slackbuilds project allow for a very fresh set of packages. My packages are as new as or fresher than that included in the new Ubuntu release. They are updated quite frequently.
When all you have to maintain is a build script to keep up with releases, a lot of the dep-checking packaging challenge goes away.
I dual-boot with Opensuse 12.3 KDE, though - just to have something to show off to non-user...

Mate choice - Ubuntu offer?

Nice, with choice of nothing else but Mate - your calculator suggests Ubuntu? WTF?

Wow, perfect match!

I adjusted all the sliders to my preference and it showed my distro of choice is Ubuntu.

Got it right first time!


Perfect match of Mint xfce.
However, I'd like to see options for libre-office vs ? and Firefox vs chrome, ice-weasel, etc.
being available.

what about adding 'respects your freedom'?

Hi maybe I can suggest adding an option as how important it is for you to respect your freedom. this will give out options such as trisquel gnewsense and parabola or any of the other fsf distro. if it is not important at all they can use windows or mac.

don't know how CentOS is - but on the list ...

there is Slackware on the second place :
Slackware with 98.497529... % ??

yeah and i have been a slacker as long as it exist till today !

nice tool

Entropy land!

Right on the money, Sabayon=choice. While indulging myself with entropy, it allow me to do the Portage dance, if I so choose.

Happy Archer

Gentoo or ArchLinux sounds perfect. I chose ArchLinux in November 2012 as my go to distro and been happy ever since.



stupid quiz

realy stupid quiz

Not Even Close KDE - 99, all

Not Even Close
KDE - 99, all other desktops 1, recommended distro= Mint with Cinnamon. KUbuntu is not even on the list...

close to arch

Now I want to try gentoo again after it being the top recommended, although i'm currently on arch.

I don't understand the verdict for Fedora

A very capable distro for an experienced Linux user who's going through a mid-life crisis.??!!!

Slackware - spot on!

Coming in at #1, my preferred distro, Slackware. Coming in at #2, the distro that I mean to try someday, Gentoo.

Good job!

Still to random results

I tried the distro picker, and it gave me Kantonix. While it is a LXDE desktop it comes with way to much KDE software for me (not a fan of KDE).
I have tried many of the OS's suggested on a USB drive. I think it still gives a newcomer way to many suggestions. I use Solus on my laptop and Zorin on my tower (for the LTS). Love both. Still I think LTS or rolling release would be at least one of the questions. Another question that could be added would be "all required software?" or "minimum install?". Personally I would like to see more distros go the way of PC Linux Mini Zen and give me the minimum and let me install the rest of the software myself. I get tired of removing software I will never use. I am sure others could come up with more than my two additions to narrow down what OS would work best for them.

A bit simplistic

It seems to rate packaging as more important than GUI and stability. It picked one of the distros that I actually use (CentOS), but not the other (Salix).

I've tried all but 5 of those listed, and I was surprised to see junk-ware like aLinux, yet no Saline or Mepis.

Not that great!

Sorry, but this isn't all that great. I saw absolutely nothing where multimedia is concerned. Nothing where NAS or even simple networking might be desired. Not even a distinction between desktop or laptop uses - both of which are "desktops"!

So in the infamous words of Microsoft...

<A>bort <R>etry <F>ail

(Personally, I was hoping for a better suggestion than Mythbuntu in a HTPC type use. But again, bupkis!)

Usage profile

Another choice like the desktop choices, 1-99, but for usage profile:

Software Development
Web Development
Graphic Artist
Audio/Video Production
Office Work
Science Work
Home Theater

Needs Some Polish

An interesting concept, but a weak start. There are so many more important criteria that could be in the list of questions that I don't know where to begin in listing them. Give this some more thought and "Version 2.0" may actually be useful.

Very nicely done

Very nice. 'nuff said.

Nice work for a version 1.0 but..

Really neat concept but the algorithm needs some work. It suggested I run Debian as a server when I put that server was 1 (least important) and desktop is 99 (most important). I played with it a bit and the values don't seem to come up with the answers that actually make sense. But, i still think its a great tool and will be useful to many down the line! :)

Bull's Eye Here

Interesting. Hit the nail on the head for my top distro (Manjaro) which I've been using since it first appeared. The next five in my list were all one's I've entertained for much more than a week as well. As others have mentioned it would be nice to see a few more options (for example documentation, multimedia, 'non-free' packages & codecs included, and so on).

Great Job

Lol, i dont know if this distro-picker is really useful, it just gave me the distro im already using (Arch) :-)
So, in a way, good job!


Some people have suggested that intended usage needs to be listed, but any Linux will be suitable for almost any task; except music, where you need a low-latency kernel, as in Ubuntu Studio.

Bleeding Edge=DEBIAN?

Had it set to all the way to bleeding edge and was suggested Debian. DEBIAN. For bleeding edge.

Nice - but would like to see more questions - more detail


results are spot on!

Would like to see more details in the questionnaire although I realize that it can't be too long.

Keep up the good work



Misleading Choice-Options

I like your tool, but having "Ease of use" at the description "Ease of use or ultimate configurability?" at the LEFT side, but at the slider on the right side is misleading and can cause wrong results!


The poll said to me that I need to use ubuntu, but I don´t like it... Still on Debian ;-) #trollpoll lol

Archlinux :]

Archlinux :]

Need to fix desktop env weight

I raise up Cinnamon only, I get a whole bunch of KDE desktop distros. Seriously WTF. I think desktop environments should be just a multiselect option not a slider.

Maybe going back to Debian then.

I'd been considering returning to Debian from a long stint using Gentoo and then Arch as I'm no longer concerned with being on the cutting edge. This may have helped me decide. Although Sabayon looks interesting...


Exactly the same distro I'm using, Debian. I'm looking forward to install Arch but I'm a little scared.

Really Surprised

It's uncanny really. Your app chose CentOS as ideal and mentioned Debian as equally suitable. These are the 2 I considered when choosing my current OS. I chose Debian, because I was already comfortable with the applications, but narrowly missed choosing CentOS.


I'm a bad reader and after submission just saw the list bellow the match. I began to curse on you people for not including my favourite distro. Then I read with more attention and there it was. You recommended my old and current Slack. I'll never depart it even as I experiment from time to time other excellent distros such Debian. Kudos for your accurate Distro Picker!

I got Chakra. YUCK. Can't

I got Chakra. YUCK. Can't stand Chakra. Half the stuff still doesn't work in it. Couldn't have been further from what I like.


I've been using Debian since 2009... and the test told me that ubuntu is my best opcion!!!! ¬¬ I used to use ubuntu with karmic koala, now I hate canonical!!!
I'm so disapointed :( :( jajajaja


well for only choosing KDE at 99.
it doesnt seem accurate. 3 seperate tries. is this tool supposed to help newcomers? it needs Many more variables to do a better job. maybe evev multiple choice instead of just sliders, of which, a few are confusing.

In this day and age, when

In this day and age, when your business relies solely on downloaded material, and yet every single download attempt fails, I think you might need to look at your business model! Kantonix - you get a FAIL!

The distro picker is pretty good, however because I can't even try the suggested distro I'm just going to try four others (which downloaded with no issues whatsoever).

Thanks for putting this list together - it's really handy to see a list, with current links and short descriptions alongside. Thanks!

Pretty cool!

Just a couple things though a) you were pretty spot on, and b) since I marked a somewhat older computer Mint+Cinnamon won't work too well, it's a very needy desktop environment. Mint+Mate /will/ work, though, or Mint with the Gnome Classic (MDM/Gnome3 fallback) DE.

Thanks for such an awesome tool! (and Crunchbang was my #1 and I love it too)

The rifght distribution

Incredibly, it picked up the distribution which i am already using - Debian .

One problem for me is that ease of configuration and ease of use are on the opposing sides of that slider. It would seem that you think that easiest to use are those distributions which are the most difficult to reconfigure. How can this possibly be true? Only if you have almost exact preferences as the designer who created the platform, you might find the lack of configuration possibilities ok. Otherwise , it's just frustrating. That's why Debian is so much better than all of its derivatives. Oh, and i've been using it on a desktop since 2003, so it is not making inroads only now, it was already there for those who like to adjust their living space to their personality.

To the pinguin who wonders about debian

as the bleeding edge:

Maybe you are not aware that Debian comes in 3 flavours:

stable (definitively not bleeding edge, definitively extremely stable)

testing (quite current)

unstable - the very edge, beware should be those who tread it :-)

BANG ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW!!!!!!!! It says CentOS & that's exactly what m using right now................... :)

hanthanal or peppermint

i tried hanthanal in my old pc and is top top also caixa magica is good to have a look and peppermint is the best

Very good guess

You recommended Salix and that's distro I use and I'm very happy with.

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