Mint because while other distros go up and down, up and down, Mint's development graph is pretty darn smooth.
Ubuntu LTS for software and compatibility for virtually anything,
and XFCE for the best DE evar.
However, if I were allowed to choose a second best it would have to be manjaro xfce
I never thought I would be voting for Manjaro but their latest KDE seems light years ahead of the version I tried some time ago and for me is the best desktop experience, along with Chakra.
It's a real shame that so many great distros never receive the support and recognition they deserve and eventually sink such as Fusion, Dream and Solus to quote just a few. Unfortunately, polls like this will always vote in a market leader simple because of the userbase. Others I would recommend as being different enough to deserve better attention are Centrych and Cylon. Cylon in particular arrives with Compiz preconfigured so you get effects and a zillion Emerald themes at your immediate disposal, not to mention the shed load of apps shipped with it. Not taking anything away from the Mint team for their own achievements, but I urge all Linux enthusiasts to at least try some of the lesser known brands to give support and encouragement to the many devs out there who burn their own midnight oil for our enjoyment.
Point Linux is the ἄλφα and the Ωμέγα to the great undertaking: Linux on the
desktop. On this rock I will manhandle my daily office, e-mail and entertainment tasks
and the gates of manjaro shall not prevail against it.
Linux Mint gets my vote because they are doing stuff which should be done. You can't say that for Ubuntu of lately. Kubuntu is another matter. It's plasma tech preview is just awesome. I may switch to it once it becomes more stable. But for now Linux mint is my choice. Their decision to keep working on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS base for their own LTS release "Rebecca" has resulted in a very stable and fast distro. I have tried CentOS 7 too but right now propritary amd drivers are creating problems which renders the system unusable for me.
#1 Puppy Linux (woof woof!). Most of the year I have been running Puppy5.7 Slacko, the version that is compatible with software packages from Slackware. In the last month I have upgraded to Puppy 6.0 Tahrpup, which is compatible with Ubuntu software packages.
Puppy is stable, runs from a USB stick or CD & loads into ram so it doesn't touch your hard drive (unless you want it to). Puppy works on just about any hardware, it is lightning fast & has fast preinstalled apps for almost everything that you need to do & you also have access to all them same packages from Slackware /Ubuntu. Puppy is my favourite distro of 2014 by far!
I am with Kubuntu now. I expect Kubuntu to reach up the top ten once Plasma 5 gets really good in the next 2 releases. I keep trying Ubuntu Unity from time to time but no way I can get used to this desktop, no matter what - there are some serious features lacking. Plasma 5 is actually one of the exciting and good things happening in linux right now, so more distros will go for it. In 5 years time I doubt we will have the same top ten in distrowatch.
ever since ubuntu 10.04 LTS, linux mint 13 maya with the mate desktop is the closes thing i could find. to satisfy my work habits. but i stil mis the nautilus file manager a lot, so sad to see it gone.
Slackware is my choice. It's simple, it what Linux should be. I have been using Slackware since the early 90's. Tried quit a few other distributions, always returned to Slackware. That said, I use PCLinuxOS (2nd favorite) at the office. My kids use Mint (3rd favorite) and Ubuntu.
I have too much experience with computers to be religious about any piece of software. But I've pretty much tried all the Linuxes. and the one that is the easiest to deal with on my hardware right now is Xubuntu. Probably true of all the Nubuntus.
I voted for PCLinuxOS because it is one of the few that supports the hardware I have available. I have tried most of the other options without success:
Linux Mint 17 'Cinnamon' had some kine problem,
Kubuntu did actually work, but would not recognize the resolution of the HDTV default monitor,
Debian would not install,
OpenSUSE 13.2 froze during the install process when formatting SSD partitions,
Mageia 5 Beta 1 would not load,
The Fedora 20 and CentOS 7 installers would not display the "Next" or "Continue" buttons on the HDTV.
Archlinux is the best distro of the 5 universes
I vote for OpenSUSE Gnome/KDE because of the excellent 13.2 release here in the fall, which for me also happens to be the most stable SUSE release for years, hence the vote. Close runner up comes Linux Mint 17/17.1 Cinnamon/Mate, and third Ubuntu 14.04.
Slackware. Its more than meets the eye.
My vote goes for Manjaro Linux, which unfortunately is not present in the pool but is worth a mention.
Of course one size doesn't fit all and there should be multiple perspectives on which criteria should be considered for nominating the best distribution, but I am going to assume this refers to general desktop usage ( = best alternatives to Windows and MacOS).
Although in my opinion, Linux Mint is indeed the distribution that is most desktop ready, with almost zero effort to get it running and learn how to use it (I love their KDE version because as a GNOME/XFCE user, it is the only KDE spin that I've tried so far that makes me feel at home and not overwhelmed) - in fact it is so good that I am going to use it as the baseline for my comparisons with Manjaro, in the long run, if you are really going to stick with it a distribution for general desktop usage (except if it is a critical machine that cannot risk any kind of failure - even in that case I would recommend Debian, not Ubuntu or Mint), the rolling model is far superior to the PPA/upgrade cycle models from Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
Think about it. Linux desktop share is relatively so small and software availability is so limited, compared to commercial alternatives, that it just doesn't make sense to stick with outdated software for at least two years or even 6 months, not to mention having to reinstall for a clean upgrade. Staying behind and stick with older repositories is a tradeoff for stability that really isn't that profitable in a common desktop machine.
Manjaro is the only distribution that manages to take Arch rolling model and make it easy for anyone to install and use, while retaining the updates for a couple weeks to prevent breakage (even though with a single command you can update to the latest Arch updates if you wish). Also, AUR makes software availability on par with Ubuntu.
Now, it takes more time to configure before you feel like its completely ready to use and to your liking, that is for sure. When I setup my Manjaro system, I end up tweaking some stuff that is already out-of-the-box in Linux Mint. But after the initial tweaking, it's like you've entered paradise, no more thinking about upgrading or distrohopping. It pays off in the long run. It's like you are assembling your own house instead of buying one that was made for you.
After over 1 year of usage, I have never been through any breakage beyond repair, only minor easily solvable stuff. And at one point I had Cinnamon+XFCE+KDE+GNOME3 without any conflicts at all, something more problematic in Ubuntu/Mint. I ended up removing two of them just because everytime a new update pack was out, there were thousands of MBs in updates xD.
Of course this also involves a bit of common sense: do not upgrade kernel or drivers if they are properly working: fortunately Manjaro does provide a nice tool to manage this two things (Manjaro Settings Manager). You do not need to update these if you don't want to and if your current combination is fine. In fact you really shouldn't unless there is a compelling reason. The bottom line is you can maintain the same core (kernel+drivers) and on top of it, having all software updated. And on top of all that, pacman is just superior to every other package manager. Period.
So there you go, this is why Manjaro Linux is the best distribution for me. I use Ubuntu GNOME or either Linux Mint XFCE or KDE when I need something to get up and running without any hassle, but my main systems are Manjaro and I recommend the same phylosophy to you dear reader - go rolling on your main system.
Other usage, ready to use - mint
Central system - Manjaro
Believe me, it is so refreshing to know you have your
My vote probably shouldn't count since I've only ever tried out 2 distros. I tried Mint a couple of times, it's very nice looking but software updates kept failing for me so I switched back to Ubuntu. I didn't like Unity at first but it doesn't bother me anymore since I can auto hide the unity-bar plus everything works good for me and I'm happy with it.
Best distros I've tried this year:
1) Debian Jessie Beta with Mate desktop - It might be beta, but it's faster, more stable, and easier to use than anything else I've tested in 2014
2) Point Linux - A lightly customized version of Debian Wheezy with the Mate desktop already configured. Much easier and faster to install than stock Wheezy + Mate (via backports) install.
3) Ubuntu Mate - This just came out recently, but it's renewed my love for Ubuntu after Unity broke my heart in 2010.
Slackware. Hands down.