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The beginning of 2021 looked as promising as a brilliant protégé. The surprise of the pandemic made lots of devastating damage in the previous year and everyone around the world was hopeful that the new young year held good things for them. As we continue to get to terms with the new realities of life, we found it would help to share some Linux distributions you might consider using while you are in lockdown, working remotely or just experimenting. We hope the following list of distributions will make your desktop experience worthwhile.

1. EndeavourOS 2021

Speaking of Arch Linux, most of the people who have installed and used it have this nostalgic feeling creeping under their skin because they understand what it is all about. Arch has come along way and this can be proven when you take a look at its pedigree that now boasts of may children. EndeavourOS is one of the. It is a rolling release Linux distribution based on Arch Linux that aims to be succeed Antergos – providing an easy setup and pre-configured desktop environment on an Arch base.

Some improvements you will stumble upon

  • Many Desktop environment support: With EndeavourOS 2021, you have a choice of seven Desktop Environments Xfce, Mate, LXQt, Cinnamon, Plasma, Gnome, Budgie, tiling window managers i3-WM, BSPWM and Sway.
  • Auto-login: Bugfix on DE not opening when chosen auto-login during installation on Calamares.
  • Send logs to Pastebin – Calamares is now shipping with a send logs to Pastebin feature, making tracking down the cause of a failed installation easier for us, once posted on our community platforms.
  • Nvidia: Improvements for Nvidia hardware boot for both the Live ISO and installed systems, addressing the issue of the Nvidia driver not kicking in after GRUB had started.
  • yad-eos: The window size issue on our EOS tools has been addressed by shipping a forked and improved YAD version, the package our tools are based on, in our repo is called yad-eos.
  • Linux Kernel: 5.11.14-arch-1-1
  • Calamares 3.2.39.3-2
  • Firefox 87.0-2
  • Mesa 21.0.2-1
  • Clean-up: A thorough clean-up of our packages to keep our ISO under 2GB.

More on the latest features and improvement of EndeavourOS can be found on its Main Website

2. KDE Neon

Derived from KDE neon website, KDE neon is the intersection of a stable desktop with cutting-edge features using a stable Ubuntu long-term release as its core, packaging the hottest software fresh from the KDE Community ovens. It is all packaged in a fashion that is easy to use and ready to make their own.

Default Desktop: The default Window Manager you will land on is KDE Plasma
Init Software: For application lifecycle, you will enjoy the flexibility and ease of systemd
Journaled File Systems: Btrfs, ext3, ext4, JFS, ReiserFS, XFS
Package Management: As it is based on Ubuntu, rest assured that DEB (apt) package manager has your back

Applications

  • Firefox 87.0
  • Linux Kernel 5.4.0
  • Python 3.8.2
  • You will find KDE Plasma 5.19.4 installed on it.
  • Kernel: Since it is based on Ubuntu 20.04, Neon uses Kernel 5.4.

You can find more details about this distribution on its main website.

3. openSUSE 15.2 – Leap

openSUSE is a stable, easy to use and complete multi-purpose distribution aimed towards users and developers working on the desktop or server. It is great for beginners, experienced users and ultra geeks alike, in short, it is perfect for everybody! The latest release, openSUSE Leap 15.2, features new and massively improved versions of all useful server and desktop applications.

What is Hot!

  • Linux kernel: Leap 15.2 uses the Kernel 5.3.
  • GNU Compiler Collection: GNU Compiler Collection 9, GCC 8 (Leap 15.1) and GCC 7 (Leap 15.0) are available.
  • Hardware Support: Leap 15.2 works with x86_64, ARM (aarch64, armv7) and PowerPC (ppc64le), and deployment scenarios can be run for physical, * virtual, host and guest, and cloud.
  • Networking: Leap 15.2 uses Network Manager by default for both laptops and desktops.
  • Security: Leap 15.2 has received all necessary backports and uses the same Enterprise Linux Kernel that SUSE uses.
  • systemd: Leap 15.2 has systemd version 234.
  • PHP 7: The 7.4.6 version of PHP was released with Leap 15.2
  • Printing System: Leap 15.2 has same CUPS 2.2.7 that was in Leap 15.1
  • Containers: Leap 15.2 is filled with several containerization technologies like Singularity, which bring containers and reproducibility to scientific computing and the high-performance computing (HPC) world.

You can find more details about openSUSE 15.2 on its openSUSE

4. Deepin 20.1 – Details Make Perfection

As an open-source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel, the new Deepin 20.1 preinstalls Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and nearly 30 Deepin native applications, as well as several applications from the open-source community to meet users’ daily learning and work needs. When you hear about a new version, what automatically lands in your mind is new features, better performance and a new experience. Deepin 20.1 (1010) comes with a new 5.8 (Stable) kernel, Debian 10.6 repositories, enhanced system stability and compatibility.

New features in Deepin 20.1

According to Deepin’s website, Deepin 20.1 presents an operating system with many known glitches fixed and optimization of the existing functions.

Enahanced performance

In Deepin 20.1, the operating efficiency of processors, network transmission and response, file reading and writing, and graphics display has been significantly improved.

Better system repositories

Debian 10.6 repositories (the most stable version) are integrated by default

Cloud Sync

Can you imagine the flexibility of having most of your desktop system settings backed up in the cloud? Deepin has that served hot. After Signing in Deepin ID in Control Center, you can sync system settings to the cloud automatically, including network settings, sound settings, mouse settings, update settings, power settings, corner settings, theme, wallpaper, launcher, and dock. You can choose to turn off the specified options or all of them. With this feature, you can move to and work on another computer seamlessly
The mantra here is to Sync the system settings at one click

Superb desktop environment

When ultimate performance is required, the high-performance mode offers smoother user experiences.

Drag and drop to load subtitles in Deepin Movie

For the enthusiasts, now you can just drag and drop the subtitle files to Deepin Movie, and load the subtitles directly. Pretty efficient there.

Auto recognize your region in Deepin Store

After you sign in to your account, your region you are in will be determined according to your Deepin ID location or according to your IP address location.

Dock now Shows the capacity and the remaining time

Hovering on the battery icon, you can see the tooltip showing the capacity, the remaining time or the charging time needed.

Glitches Fixed

Deepin 20.1 comes with a heavy load of fixed bugs that had been experienced and raised in the previous versions. Some of the applications whose bugs have been fixed include the following.

  • Fixed: high CPU usage after starting Firefox.
  • Fixed the crash issue after dragging tabs and creating new windows many times in Text Editor.
  • Fixed the .sh script files cannot be opened in it in Text Editor.

Find out more about the new Deepin 20.1

5. Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla

As you might have noticed, Ubuntu releases its new LTSs accompanied by a codename to make the juice sweeter. Ubuntu 20.04 has been baptized with the name Focal Fossa. Even though you can download and use the daily builds, Focal Fossa is yet to be released in the later parts of April this year.
Even though it is not finally released to change the world, we can make informed speculations about the features that this new LTS release will have. They include:

  • New desktop GNOME 3.38
  • A minimum of Linux Kernel 5.8
  • Enhanced ZFS install support
  • Support for fingerprint login
  • Airtime Queue limits for better WiFi connection quality
  • Btrfs RAID1 with 3 and 4 copies and more checksum alternatives
  • USB 4 (Thunderbolt 3 protocol) support added
  • X86 Enable 5-level paging support by default
  • Intel Gen11 (Ice Lake) and Gen12 (Tiger Lake) graphics support
  • Initial support for AMD Family 19h (Zen 3)
  • Thermal pressure tracking for systems for better task placement wrt CPU core
  • XFS online repair
  • Firefox version 87
  • LibreOffice version 7.0.2
  • Thunderbird version 78.3.2
  • OverlayFS pairing with VirtIO-FS
  • General Notification Queue for key/keyring notification, mount changes, etc.
  • Active State Power Management (ASPM) for improved power savings of PCIe-to-PCI devices
  • Initial support for POWER10

What is more, Ubuntu launched a survey that targets feedback related to how its users would wish Focal Fossa to be like. This will help them tailor this new release not only to their tastes but also in accordance with what the multitude of users would wish to have as their desktop.

6. Fedora Workstation 33

After working so hard with zeal and passion from thousands of Fedora community members and contributors, Fedora celebrated another release-Fedora 33.

As a user-friendly, reliable and powerful FOSS operating system, Fedora can be wonderful for your laptop or desktop computer. As this article is being written, Fedora supports a wide range of developers, from hobbyists and students to professionals in corporate environments.

The following are new features that this new release of Fedora can afford to its audience

Better GNOME 3.38 UI

Fedora 33 slid into the world with GNOME 3.38. Putting new wine on old wineskin is retrogressive. For this reason, Fedora 33 is unleashed garbed in new regalia. That is the improved GNOME 3.38 with some touchpad gesture options for switching workspaces. This is a pure delight.

EarlyOOM service by default

In Fedora 33 KDE, the team has followed the work in Fedora 32 Workstation and enabled the EarlyOOM service by default to improve the user experience in low-memory situations.

Nano editor by default

To make the default Fedora experience better, them team set nano as the default editor

Swap on zRAM

Starting with Fedora 33, a swap partition is not created by default at installation time. Instead, a zram device is created, and swap enabled on it during start-up. zram is a RAM drive that uses compression

7. Fedora 33 Workstation now uses Btrfs by default

The default partitioning scheme on Fedora Workstation now uses Btrfs.

Other hot features that will make your life amazing include the following.

  • Python 3.9
  • Ruby on Rails 6.0
  • oost 1.73, Golang 1.15
  • glibc 2.32
  • Java 11
  • LLVM 11
  • Node.js 14.x and
  • Perl 5.32 among others.

8. Linux Mint 20.1 “Ulyssa”

It has been known that most users who switch from other operating systems such as windows to Linux almost always choose Linux Mint to begin with. This is major because Mint has many user-friendly tools and a good look that will cause them to feel comfortable pretty fast. Now Mint is a distribution that is based on Ubuntu as the base. Linux Mint 20.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2025.

Linux Mint 20.1 features Cinnamon 4.8, and a Linux kernel 5.4, linux-firmware 1.187 and an Ubuntu 20.04 package base.

Cool new and improved features include:

Cinnamon updated to 4.8

Linux Mint 20.1 comes with the new Cinnamon 4.8. The latest version of Cinnamon features better performance, including a 5% rendering improvement at 4K and lower use in its window management and a faster Javascript interpreter based on MozJS78.

Hypnotix

Another application which is new in Linux Mint 20.1 is Hypnotix, an IPTV player for M3U playlists.

Web Apps

In Linux Mint 20.1 you can turn any website into a desktop application.

XApps improvements

  • The clock format in Slick Greeter (the login screen) is now configurable.
  • Xed can now automatically close brackets when it’s used to edit source code.
  • In Xviewer, the behaviors of the primary and secondary (tilt) mouse wheels are now configurable.
  • Pix is now able to filter by rating.

System improvements

“Hardware Detection Tool” was added to the BIOS menu of the ISO images.

9. Manjaro 20.2 “Nibia”

Manjaro has managed to stay among the top list of Linux distributions for a long time now on trusted sites and this tells more of good news than bad about the distribution.

As a new user, you can download either GNOME, KDE, Xfce, Manjaro-i3 and many other editions that are available in the community for example Mate, Budgie and Cinnamon among others. Anyhow, whether it deserves to be your distribution of choice depends on you based on the following features.

The desktop environment

One of the things that are so impressive about KDE on Manjaro 20.2 is the sleek and beautiful look it was designed for users to enjoy. In case you will not be impressed with the settings you will encounter, there is an armoury of widgets that you can use to tweak your environment to befit your preference and unique taste. The desktop has been trimmed so that it now uses approximately 40% less ram than before.

Applications

There is a collection of applications that come with Manjaro by default which aid in the immediate usage of the OS. Some already mentioned include Firefox browser which comes without flash support, Libre Office and Thunderbird email app. Moreover, the Pidgin messaging app, the HexChat IRC client and the Guayadeque music player are included in the distribution.

LibreOffice or FreeOffice

With the latest stable version 18.1 of the operating system, you can opt for the no-cost Office suite FreeOffice 2018 from the German software developer SoftMaker, still, go for LibreOffice or even skip to install any Office Suite at all.

Xfce 4.14 and Plasma 5.16

Manjaro 20.2 comes with the new Xfce 4.14, GNOME 3.38, redesigned KDE with Plasma 5.20

Revamped Calamares

The installer Calamares received many improvements. Among other things, it now supports encrypted systems without encrypted /boot partition. This enables graphical password dialogs, using non-us keymaps for inputting passwords and up to 1 minute shorter boot times compared to full disk encryption

10. MX Linux 19.3

According to mxlinux.org, “MX Linux is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS communities, using the best tools and talents from each distro.” MX Linux 19.3 is the third refresh of our MX 19 release, consisting of bug fixes and application updates since the original release of MX 19.3. So much bug fixes have been done not forgetting the improvements done on the distribution to make your experience better if not best on your desktop.

Based on Debian 10.6 ‘Buster’

The new MX-Linux has its base as Debian 10.6 which in itself has many new features as will be seen in this article below.

New Xfce Desktop environment

MX Linux 19 ships with the latest Xfce Desktop 4.14

Kernel 4.19

Debian 10 has been upgraded to include Kernel 4.19. This makes it the default Kernel in MX Linux 19. Also know that the AHS (Advanced Hardware Support) ISO features a Debian 5.10.24 kernel, mesa 20.3 updates, as well as a new updated firmware packages

MX-Apps have been updated

Bugs have been fixed, performance improved and other issues resolved in the new MX-Apps. Firefox 87, VLC 3.0.12, Clementine 1.3.1, Thunderbird 68.12.0, LibreOffice 6.1.5, GIMP 2.10.12 and MESA 20.3.4.

Read more details about MX Linux 19

11. Elementary OS 5.1 Hera

As the name openly suggests, elementary OS is founded on the philosophy of simplicity. That should not be confused with a lack of elegance. elementary OS which is based on Ubuntu has made it easier for many users having a Windows background to transition as smoothly as possible. It is simply a distribution you should be eyeing in case you do not need the technical aspects of Linux. elementary 5.1 was finally released and brings the following to your buffet.

Greeter & Onboarding

The newly redesigned login and locks-screen greeter looks sharper, works better, and fixes many reported issues with the previous greeter including focus issues, HiDPI issues, and better localization.

New Onboarding app

This new app introduces key features to users and handles common first-run tasks like managing privacy settings. Moreover, when a major new feature lands in elementary OS, Onboarding can also be used to introduce it to existing users. Due to its maturity over the years, the elementary team decided to commit to a Flatpak future for their AppCenter ecosystem.

Flatpak

Flatpak is an open-source technology that enables developers to ship apps to different desktops in a way that is more secure and privacy-respecting for users.

Sideload

There are some Apps out there that will not meet the strict requirements that elementary OS AppCenter has set. For this reason, they may be shipped in a different location that may be insecure. To mitigate this risk elementary OS team developed this utility called Sideload to make it extremely easy to sideload Flatpak apps. Sideload explains the implications of installing an app including potential download size and if it will add a remote that might contain other apps.

AppCenter

The headlining feature is Flatpak support: updates to sideloaded apps will appear in AppCenter alongside all other updates, and apps from any user-added Flatpak remotes will show up in AppCenter as uncurated apps.

Accessibility and System Settings

The team improved several areas in System Settings based on reported issues. They include improved Sound settings, improved Mouse & Touchpad settings, Redesigned VPN and Hotspot settings, New Desktop Appearance settings, Improved Displays settings, Improved Bluetooth settings with a pairing agent for PINs and passkeys, Refined Date & Time settings and much more.

Many Apps have been updated

Some of the updated applications include Calendar, Camera, Photos, Music, Files, Videos, Code and of course the terminal.

There is much more for you in elementary OS 5.1. Please check it out at Elementary Website

12. Zorin OS 15.3

After getting all the feedback from its users, Zorin replied with a new release of Zorin OS. They have focused on making the desktop feel even more familiar and user-friendly to new users, especially those moving away from Windows 7 leading up to the end of its support. This new release promises the following good tidings to its community and users.

New LibreOffice version 6.4.6

This new LibreOffice comes with a multitude of improvements to make it even more compatible with Microsoft Office documents. In addition, documents now open and save up to 97% faster than before.’

Zorin Connect has been improved

Zorin Connect has been upgraded to make the experience between your computer and Android phone even more seamless.

Play your games faster with GameMode

Zorin OS 15.1 is now an even better platform for gaming thanks to the built-in GameMode, which makes games run faster than ever before. It allocates more CPU, GPU, and disk I/O resources to the game you’re playing, prioritizing its performance on demand.

Linux Kernel version 5.4

Zorin OS 15.3 is now powered by Linux Kernel version 5.4-the same version as in Ubuntu 20.04, which works with even more hardware and introduces performance enhancements and security improvements.

It brings support for more hardware such as Intel’s newly-announced 11th generation Core processors, upcoming AMD processors & GPUs, and other peripherals.

Have more details at Zorin Site

13. Pop!_OS 20.10

Developed and maintained by System76, a US-based Linux hardware company, Pop!_OS is an operating system for STEM and creative professionals who use their computer as a tool to discover and create. Unleash your potential on secure, reliable open source software. Based on your exceptional curiosity, we sense you have a lot of it.

Features

The following are just some of the features you will find in Pop!

Auto-Tiling With Pop Shell

Auto-tiling helps you be both organized and efficient, and is especially convenient on large displays. When you open new windows, the OS takes care of slotting them in on the available space while you focus on the window you are currently working on. To make it even better, you can resize, move, launch and search using keyboard exclusively. If you have used i3 before, you will have a lot of fun using Pop!_OS 20.10.

Fawless Development Toolkits

Develop software out of the box with a vast array of libraries and tools at your disposal. Pop!_OS uses APT and Flatpak package management, meaning it’s easy to install, remove, and update all software on the OS.

Update on Your Terms

Pop!_OS provides the latest features and security patches through rolling updates and periodic OS version upgrades, to be performed at your discretion

Encryption out of the box

Pop!_OS encrypts your installation by default, and is the only Linux distribution that enables pre-installed full-disk encryption out of the box

Desktop Environment: Pop!_OS 20.10 has been revamped with the new GNOME 3.38

Kernel: Pop!_OS 20.10 ships with Kernel 5.8

Get more details about Pop!_OS here

Conclusion

Thank you for reading through. As you navigate this challenging year of 2021, we wish you the best in your endeavors, keep safe, and get vaccinated if you can. Amidst it all take an adventure as you explore some of the Linux distributions we have managed to share. May it be a great experience.

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