Linux Distributions Mac

10 Best Linux Distros to Install on Your MacBook

Best Linux Distros for Mac Users
Written by Martins D. Okoi

macOS is a Unix-like Operating System so many of the features in Linux distros are similar to those that it offers. That notwithstanding, because it is Unix-like does not mean that it is Linux and for one reason or the other you may want to run a full-fledged OS.

Here are the best Linux distros you can install on your mac.

1. Ubuntu GNOME

Ubuntu GNOME, which is now the default flavour that has replaced Ubuntu Unity, needs no introduction.

Being the most popular distro, you will find out that its solutions are the quickest to find online thanks to the many forums dedicated to its user base.

Ubuntu coupled with the GNOME DE is a combo that you are bound to enjoy unless you are looking for something particularly different. If that is the case, read on.

Ubuntu Gnome Desktop

Ubuntu Gnome Desktop

2. Linux Mint

Linux Mint is the distro that you probably want to use if you don’t pick Ubuntu GNOME. It is based on Ubuntu and its developers are determined to fix all the issues that Ubuntu users complain about.

Linux Mint is, in a manner of speaking, a cooler Ubuntu, and its UI is easy to navigate. It will be a good pick to run on your Mac.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint

3. Deepin

We recently covered Deepin’s latest update so if you haven’t seen it then check it out here.

Basically, Deepin is the coolest distro on the block with a mixture of both Windows and Mac features which make it an excellent installation – the environment wouldn’t feel strange to its users, and all its applications work harmoniously to offer a pleasant Operating System.

Currently, though, the app store isn’t in the best of conditions so you might want to keep that in mind when you go searching for the latest apps to install.

Deepin Desktop

Deepin Desktop

4. Manjaro

Manjaro is, to simply put, Arch Linux for beginners. It is beautiful right out of the box and since it is based on Arch Linux, it has direct access to the Arch User Repo and ships with software that helps you autodetect the appropriate driver, codecs, etc. specifications for your machine.

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Manjaro uses the same fixes that Arch Linux users enjoy when they use the Arch Linux manual and user forums so be rest assured that you will be in good hands if you happen to run into any issues.

Manjaro Linux

Manjaro Linux

5. Parrot Security OS

Parrot Security OS features possess tons of built-in tools for penetration testing and the developers also place emphasis on simplicity.

I suggest that you install Parrot Security OS on your Mac if you plan on running security and network-related tasks.

If you want other privacy-focused distros you can check out our article on the best Linux distros for privacy.

Parrot Security OS

Parrot Security OS

6. OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE used to be known as SUSE Linux and then SuSE Linux Professional – from the name you might have guessed that it is a no-play distro.

OpenSUSE is strict with security, uses KDE Plasma, and has an online studio (the SUSE Studio) where you can customize its makeup to your taste and run your own version!

OpenSUSE is among the most professional Linux distros that you can work with – it is even used for Linux certification programs and examinations! So you are certain to be running a much-loved and reliable OS if you go for it.

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE

7. Devuan

If you are not a fan of the systemd init then Devuan is a cool distro to check out.

Devuan is a Debian-based distro that uses Sysvinit instead of systemd and while it has access to Debian’s repo, it has its dedicated repo that hosts customized applications to run alongside the Sysvinit manager.

You can read on the differences and advanages between Devuan and Debian.

Devuan Desktop

Devuan Desktop

8. Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio is basically Ubuntu tweaked chiefly for media production. It is excellent for working with graphic design and modelling applications like Blender and GIMP, video production, 3D modelling, animations, photography, book publication, and audio production, recording, mixing, mastering, etc.

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If would be working with any of the open-source applications for media production then put a hat on things by running them on Ubuntu Studio.

Ubuntu Studio Desktop

Ubuntu Studio Desktop

9. elementary OS

elementary OS gained most of its popularity by being beautiful and MacOS-like. It works nicely with Retina displays, an app store that closely resembles the one on MacBooks, and an overall UI that will almost make you feel as if you didn’t sway from using macOS. This contributes to why the developers can boldly claim that it is a fast and open replacement for Windows and macOS.

Being a privacy-focused distro, it boasts military-grade security builds and does not collect any form of data for advertising deals.

If neither Manjaro nor Deepin felt like home enough for you, then elementary OS should do the trick.

Elementary OS Desktop

Elementary OS Desktop

10. Tails

Tails, like OpenSUSE, is a security-conscious distro, but it goes an extra mile. Tails route all of its internet traffic through the TOR network to ensure complete user anonymity and prevent data interception or analysis by any 3rd parties.

Tails OS does not come straight out of the box as fancy-looking as some of the other options on this list but it boasts the GNOME DE and is based on Debian so you are free to customize away.

If you are super security conscious and will like to have the details of all your transactions accessible to only you, then Tails is the OS you want.

Tails Linux

Tails Linux

Ultimately, the distro that you decide depends on why you want to run a Linux distro on your Mac in the first place.

What are the reasons why you may want to install a Linux distro on your Mac and which Linux distro is your preferred choice? Drop your comments in the section below.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, and programmer.