In this article, I go over the best Linux distros of 2022 – and spoiler: they’re not all based on Ubuntu!
I know: I make the same joke every year I do this. But hey: I write on Ubuntu. I use Ubuntu. You may expect me to keep everything on Ubuntu. But the Linux ecosystem? It’s more than just Ubuntu. There are a ton of top-tier Linux distros that deserve praise, celebration, and recognition. This list is my little way of giving them that!
That said, what follows is not a position of superiority, nor a ranking of importance. It’s just me, one person, shouting at some of the best Linux releases of the year. Is it complete? No. And that’s not a criticism either, so if an operating system you like is not presented below the omission is not because I think it’s awful!
With the SEO gods (hopefully) sated with this lengthy introduction, let’s take a look at my top 5 Linux distros of 2022!
1.Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
Arguably the The best Linux distribution release of the year for me was Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, which arrived in April.
Long-term support releases are always important because tens of millions of people use them. Luckily, the dedicated Ubuntu developers have released a version worthy of attention.
Break the scruples aside (see the video) the jellyfish jam bought GNOME Shell 42, configurable accent colors, default Wayland, new multitasking options, new dock options, better extension of desktop icons, Linux kernel 5.15, Raspberry Pi 4 support. Plus, oars upon oars ( on trains, etc.) of updated applications, tools and packages.
Although I’m an interim release pilot – always have been, probably always will be – most people stick with an LTS release. And with Ubuntu 22.04, they get a version good enough to use for the duration of its support period, without FOMO.
2. Fedora 37 Workstation
Fedora Workstation is a flagship desktop Linux distribution for good reason: it’s robust, it’s reliable, it’s impeccably produced – it distills what many people crave most: a “pure” GNOME experience, delivered as the developers l have planned, on a solid and stable basis. .
Fedora 37 Workstation Fall Offering includes GNOME 43 – an update that significantly improves the GNOME Shell user experience with Quick settings. There is also a plus Files rebuilt in GTK4/libadwaita; a redesign Schedule application ; a Device Security sign; Raspberry Pi 4 support; GRUB instead of syslinux on the BIOS; and more.
People often overlook Fedora Workstation because, as Linux distributions go, it’s pretty low-key, unassuming, and drama-free. Yet it’s a polished, functional cast that forgoes fantasy to focus entirely on its performance, integration, and cohesion.
If you’ve never tried Fedora, you’re missing something, so sort it out!
3. Manjaro 22.0 ‘Sikaris’
This a version of Manjaro should be in this list was obvious. And as Arch-based Linux distros go, Manjaro is one of the best. Oh, I know: there’s some discussion around Manjaro in the wider Linux community, but to me these storms in a teacup never impact quality (or should it be the flavor ☕️) of the cast itself.
An example of this is the Manjaro 22.0 release released in December. The “main” favor with KDE Plasma provides a seamless experience. Everything from the shell and package manager to bespoke keys and apps is cohesive, thoughtful, and choreographed.
Manjaro 22.0 is not just a distro, it’s an experience.
Manjaro’s desktop-specific “editions” are also compiled tremendously. They never feel like Manjaro more xfce, more GNOME, etc Each is a carefully curated and beautifully integrated showcase of their respective desktop’s strengths – or to put it in less flowery terms: whichever Manjaro edition you choose, it still looks like MAIN a.
Additionally, the Manjaro community is large and active. For any issues that arise, I can find a post on the Manjaro forum about it (or someone willing to point me to a solution). Community is an important aspect of any distribution. The Linux kernel is the heart of most distributions, but its community is the cornerstone.
Manjaro is the complete package and a definitive distro of the year.
4.Linux Mint 21
Linux Mint 21.1 is the most recent and visually interesting update (see new applets and updated artwork), the original Linux Mint 21 release had the biggest impact this year, of the two.
The oft-promoted “beginner” distro, Linux Mint’s primary focus on providing a light and familiar computing experience that stays out of the way continues to resonate with users in tune with the way Windows works.
Linux Mint 21 “Cinnamon” is lightweight and efficient, making it a good choice on low-end hardware and older machines. As well as being easy to use, Linux Mint comes with an interesting selection of pre-installed software that aims to cover most user needs, including some rather special home apps.
All in all, Linux Mint 21 is the perfect choice for users who want a reliable and easy-to-use operating system.
Ubuntu twice in a list? ! It’s a bit too much, but the inclusion of PipeWire means I’m forced to include 22.10. Honestly, it’s in my contract as editor of this site —What? Yes, I wrote the contract myself… Why did you ask?
But seriously, the aforementioned addition of PipeWire to Ubuntu 22.10 (albeit too late) means that most Bluetooth audio devices now “work” with Ubuntu. This coupled with the audio device selector in GNOME Quick settings means Ubuntu 22.10 hits the right note with modern audio equipment.
Second, the increased shipping of GNOME 43 and a litany of libadwaita ports meant that the Kinetic Kudu arrived on the scene with a real dynamism – it was one of the first ways to try out GNOME 43, for context – which had been missing since the early days of Unity.
Finally, and arguably the most important, critical and defining element of the cast was the Kinetic Kudu mascot wallpaper – the best default ubuntu wallpaper since rustic heronim.
Limiting my selection to 5 was necessary, otherwise this would have been a very long list of all Linux distros that released an update in the last 12 months.
Some additional cries: the recent EndeavourOS The Cassini version is the ideal starting point for anyone who wants to use reliable mobile distribution. The last Zorin operating system is based on an older Ubuntu base, but the out-of-the-box wow factor is still invigorating for novice Linux users.
Gamers, programmers and creators love it Pop!_OS 22.04, which is the final version of the System76 distribution to ship with GNOME Shell by default; and there has been a lot of love around the lightweight linux distro MX-Linux which injects new life into older material.
And a cry must go to Steam OSArch-based Valve preload on the Steamdeck console.
So it’s my list of the best desktop Linux releases for 2022. I’ve tried to weigh the different key feature sets, changes, and technologies when selecting them, and keep appeal and popularity in mind. fwiw, MX-Linux came *so* close to taking a spot – expect to hear more about this and other distros on our sister site omg! linux.
Anyway, who the fudge cares what I think?!
I want to hear your distribution versions are chosen from the last twelve months. So dive into the comments (and tip: the “old” Disqus theme is available to select from the options again, yay). Try to stay positive whenever possible by focusing on the distros and developments you like rather than the ones you don’t.
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