Top 5 Best Linux Distributions for Mac in 2024

Discovering the best Linux distribution for your Mac can enhance performance, versatility, and user experience. Whether you’re a developer seeking a seamless coding experience or a casual user desiring a familiar interface, let’s narrow down the best Linux distributions that harmonize with your Mac hardware. So, let’s dive into our expert recommendations to unlock the full potential of your Mac device with the optimal Linux operating system.

5 Best Linux Distributions for Mac

Here are brief descriptions of the 5 best Linux distributions that are mostly considered for using in Mac:

1. Elementary OS

Elementary OS is a sleek and user-friendly Linux distribution designed for those seeking a seamless and elegant experience on their Mac. It is built on a robust Ubuntu LTS foundation. With a clean interface reminiscent of macOS, Elementary OS offers a compelling alternative for users looking to switch to a Linux environment. It is particularly well-suited for individuals who value aesthetic simplicity and desire a familiar yet refreshing computing environment.Elementary OS interface Features of Elementary OS in Mac

  • Intuitive Interface: Elementary OS provides a user-friendly desktop environment, making it an ideal choice for Mac users who appreciate a clean and intuitive interface.
  • AppCenter: The centralized AppCenter of Elementary OS ensures an effortless experience in discovering and installing applications on Mac hardware.
  • System Customization: It offers flexibility akin to macOS, Elementary OS allows users to personalize their desktop environment, catering to individual preferences and workflows.
  • Stability and Reliability: Elementary OS guarantees stability and reliability, making it suitable for Mac users seeking a dependable platform for daily tasks.
  • Pantheon Desktop: The Pantheon desktop environment enhances visual appeal and cohesiveness, attracting users who appreciate the detail in design.

2. Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a versatile and widely acclaimed Linux distribution that is an excellent choice for Mac users exploring alternative operating systems. It is a user-friendly and customizable platform built on Debian, catering to developers, casual users, and enthusiasts alike. Whether you seek a seamless transition with its Unity desktop environment or a vast repository of applications through its Software Center, Ubuntu offers a reliable and adaptable computing experience.Ubuntu interface Features of Ubuntu in Mac

  • Unity Desktop Environment: Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment provides a seamless transition for Mac users with its intuitive interface, fostering a comfortable and familiar user experience.
  • Software Center: The Software Center offers a vast repository of applications, making it easy for Mac users to discover and install a wide range of software.
  • Compatibility: Ubuntu boasts extensive hardware compatibility, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience for Mac users looking to run Linux on their devices.
  • Security and Stability: It emphasizes security and stability, making it an attractive choice for Mac users seeking a reliable and secure computing environment.
  • Command Line Tools: Ubuntu provides robust command-line tools like APT, appealing to Mac users accustomed to a Unix-based system.

3. Linux Mint

Linux Mint is a user-friendly and elegant Linux distribution that serves as an excellent choice for Mac users seeking a smooth transition to an alternative operating system. Specifically tailored to prioritize simplicity and familiarity, Linux Mint offers a welcoming environment for users of all levels, making it an ideal option for those looking to explore the world of Linux on their Mac.Linux Mint interface Features of Linux Mint in Mac

  • Cinnamon Desktop Environment: Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop environment provides a comfortable and intuitive interface, designed to offer a seamless experience for Mac users transitioning to a new operating system.
  • Software Manager: It simplifies discovering and installing applications and ensures a user-friendly and efficient software experience on Mac hardware.
  • Customization Options: Linux Mint offers a range of customization to tailor their desktop environment similar to the options available in macOS.
  • Stability and Reliability: Built upon a solid Ubuntu LTS base, Linux Mint inherits stability and reliability.

4. Deepin Linux

Deepin Linux is an aesthetically pleasing and user-centric Linux distribution, making it an appealing choice for Mac users seeking a visually rich and modern computing environment. With a focus on delivering an elegant and intuitive user experience, Deepin Linux provides a distinctive alternative for those looking to explore Linux on their Mac.Deepin Linux interface Features of Deepin Linux in Mac

  • Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE): Renowned for its sleek design, the DDE offers a visually stunning and user-friendly interface, providing Mac users with an immersive and modern computing experience.
  • Control Center: Deepin Linux features a unified Control Center that simplifies system settings and customization.
  • App Store: The Deepin App Store offers a curated selection of applications, enhancing the ease of software discovery and installation.
  • System Efficiency: Deepin Linux is optimized for performance and efficiency, ensuring that it runs smoothly on a variety of hardware, making it a suitable choice for Mac users.
  • Integrated Multimedia Support: With built-in multimedia applications and codecs, Deepin Linux provides seamless support for various multimedia formats, appealing to Mac users who prioritize a comprehensive and hassle-free multimedia experience.

5. Manjaro

Manjaro is a dynamic and user-friendly Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. It is an excellent choice for Mac users seeking a balance between power and ease of use in an alternative operating system. Tailored to accommodate a variety of user preferences, Manjaro offers a versatile and cutting-edge platform, making it an appealing option for those looking to explore Linux on their Mac.Manjaro interface Features of Manjaro in Mac

  • Arch-Based Flexibility: Manjaro inherits the flexibility and rolling-release nature of Arch Linux, providing Mac users with access to cutting-edge software and a highly customizable environment.
  • Choice of Desktop Environments: With support for multiple desktop environments including Xfce, KDE, and GNOME, Manjaro caters to diverse user preferences. It allows Mac users to select the interface that best suits their workflow.
  • Pacman Package Manager: Manjaro utilizes the powerful Pacman package manager, offering efficient software management and a vast selection of packages, including access to the Arch User Repository (AUR).
  • Hardware Compatibility: Known for excellent hardware compatibility, Manjaro ensures a smooth experience on Mac systems.

Comparison Among Best Linux Distributions for Mac

Here’s a comparison among the best-considered Linux distributions for Mac:

Feature Elementary OS Ubuntu Linux Mint Deepin Linux Manjaro
Desktop Environment Pantheon Default varies (GNOME, etc.) Cinnamon Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) Various (Xfce, KDE, GNOME)
Software Management AppCenter Software Center Software Manager Deepin App Store Pacman Manager
Customization Limited Extensive Moderate Moderate Extensive
Visual Appeal Elegant Varies Modern Modern Diverse
Rolling Release No No No No Yes
Package Manager Eopkg APT APT Pacman Pacman

Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the best Linux distribution for Mac involves careful consideration of your preferences, needs, and desired user experience. Whether you prioritize elegance and simplicity with Elementary OS, versatility and the latest updates with Manjaro, or the familiarity of Ubuntu, each distribution offers unique advantages. Linux Mint and Deepin Linux further contribute to the array of options, providing user-friendly interfaces and visually appealing environments.

People Also Ask

Can M1 and M2 Macs run Linux properly?

Yes, M1 and M2 Macs can run Linux, but the experience depends on your needs. You can install Linux directly for native performance, but it’s still under development with potential bugs and compatibility issues. Alternatively, you can run Linux in a virtual machine but expect some performance overhead.

Which is best macOS or Linux?

Some prefer the polished, professional feel of macOS, while others prefer the flexibility and freedom offered by Linux. For example, if you prefer ease of use, software compatibility, and hardware-software integration, macOS is best for you. On the other hand, if you value open source, customizability, and low system requirements, then Linux suits the best.

Can Kali Linux Be Run On a MacBook Pro?

Yes, Kali Linux can be run on a MacBook Pro, but newer Mac hardware, especially those with T2/M1 chips, may run Linux better. The model and year of the device will determine how successful your experience will be. However, another option to run Kali Linux on a MacBook Pro is to use a virtual machine like VirtualBox.

Which Linux Distribution is Most Similar to Mac?

Elementary OS is the Linux distribution most similar to macOS in terms of user interface and design philosophy.  It is designed to be elegant, user-friendly, and visually appealing, with an interface that shares vast similarities with macOS.

Which Linux distribution is best for Macbook?

Depending on the user’s usage and preferences, several Linux distributions can be considered to be the best for MacBook. Some of the best-considered Linux distributions for Macbooks are Elementary OS, Ubuntu, Solus, Zorin OS, Linux Mint, Deepin Linux, Manjaro, etc. However, each of them has its specialty.

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Ashikur Rahman

Hello, I’m Ashikur Rahman, currently working as a Linux Content Developer Executive at SOFTEKO. I have completed my graduation in Computer Science and Engineering from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET). Also, I’m pursuing my master’s in the same department at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET). I like to learn new technologies, contribute, and share those with others. Here my goal is to provide beneficial and user-friendly articles on Linux distribution for everyone. Read Full Bio

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