What is the best privacy-respecting linux distro for new users?

  • Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu MATE
  • Linux Mint
  • Elementary OS
  • Fedora
  • Other (comment below)

0 voters

None of the linux distros listed on this site were user-friendly towards beginners, except maybe trisquel, which nobody even knows about and probably isn’t supported well. I’m not a beginner, but it’s not a good idea to encourage first time users to install QubesOS or Debian as their first distro.

I would say Ubuntu, it seems to have the best support and mind-share (wrt new users) out of the major distros.

I would also recommend DietPi for people who are new to linux but want a headless setup (DIY home NAS, media server, Pi-hole filter etc.). They have a really good set of CLI tools to automate all the management issues (you still have to be moderately comfortable with linux CLI tho).

i voted Mint, but with reservations - i think Manjaro would be as good of a choice overall, but i’m really not that familiar with all the trendy distros, nor which is best from a privacy POV

Any GNU/Linux distribution that doesn’t use SystemD, since SystemD uses Google DNS by default. Devuan is the best choice.

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All of these distros are excellent choices for beginners, and four are all based on Ubuntu. With those four, it comes down to aesthetics and workflow because they all respect user privacy. I use ElementaryOS and it has a Privacy section in settings which allows you to completely disable location services, customize firewall, and disable any history keeping on some apps. I have used the other distros listed, but don’t remember how their privacy settings looked.

I voted Fedora.

Ubuntu is nice, but corporate funded and does (used to?) come with Amazon built into it.

I voted for Elementary because the UI/UX is really user friendly imo. But I’d vote for Pop!_OS by System76 over that due to Pop just working, overall in usability and functionality, and being privacy-forward.

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Debian, it’s the perfect balance between Windows convenience, and actually learning something about Linux.


So is Fedora, it’s sponsored by Red Hat.

The relationship between Red Hat and Fedora is nothing like that of Canonical/Ubuntu. Red Hat sponsors Fedora through a sponsorship and support but Fedora remains a community driven project. Canonical on the other hands completely runs the Ubuntu project from the ground up and is far less driven by the user community.

Any project sponsored by a terrible corporate entity, that is solely responsible for SystemD is in no position something purely community friendly. If you want to have a respectful community driven project, cut your losses with Red Hat. Otherwise its a community under a disgusting relationship with a rotten corporation.

:thinking: i don’t recall hear about this before… assuming this isn’t hardcoded system DNS settings bypass where is this unacceptable behavior changed from ‘default’??

Mint fan here, all 3 DE (Cinnamon daily/laptop, MATE daily/desktop, and XFCE on an old laptop for special use)

Privacy-wise, uh, it’s like Firefox browser to me - not very privacy friendly with OOTB/default settings, but simple enough to tame, tweak and configure.

otherwise, (imo) very user friendly and great choice for a ‘windows-breakaway OS’/first experience. Huge bonus: Very active community and welcoming/helpful user support forums.

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You can find out more right here at this URL.



this shows it: https://github.com/systemd/systemd/commit/e16cb2e4ef

this is the discussion to get it changed: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=761658

wow, yah, definitely unacceptable and all boils down to the one dev blowing it off. I might have forgiven Marco for his 2015 stance (not everyone has heard of Snowden by then? sigh…) but after seeing the bug reopened in 2017 his continuing privacy obtuse reasoning gets no respect and i consider him privacy hostile due to this bullheaded stance.

good thing is if DNS is set via static or dhcp then it doesn’t reach out to the goog… I do hate OptOut initial positioning though and giving goog the fallback default is giving more candy to jabbathehutt, apparently Marco sees this as healthy for Linux community?

I like Manjaro, but it had some bugs in my VM for some reason.

I agree. I’ve found it works out of the box – even in virtual machines.

True. I’ve encountered numerous bugs in Manjaro when using in VM. Now I concede that you should start pure Arch to experience Arch.

I am interested in this too. I used Mint which was fine but people kept saying it was insecure.

I use Xubuntu on an old laptop which is great however it keeps messing up logins where I cannot login under root with the correct password, I have to use a guest account to use the laptop, escalate into root from there to fix it, then a few days later it goes wrong again.

So I switched my desktop to Win10 and found it amazing however I got hacked 2 days ago (via a link in a dodgy email I knew better about clicking; someone logged in, turned off Event Viewer logs, did some stuff, then rebooted, but thanks to some win10privacy options I set, when they rebooted the pc they locked themselves out and couldn’t get back in, lol) unfortunatly the stuff they did messed up the PC somewhat, and now it doesn’t feel like “mine” if you know what I mean. I was running a pretty inconvienient but tight ship, such as clearing all data upon browser closure, etc. So back to Linux I go…honestly I miss Firejail.

I wish I could use TOR fully but lots of sites like reddit have IP banned TOR ip’s.

On the old laptop, give Lubuntu a try.