13 Most Promising New Linux Distributions to Look Forward in 2019

If you visit Distrowatch regularly, you will notice that the popularity ranking barely changes from one year to another.

There are distributions that will always make it to the top ten, whereas others may be in the list today and not at the end of next year.

Another not so well-known feature of Distrowatch is a waiting list that consists of distributions:

  1. Not reviewed yet
  2. With missing or faulty components
  3. Without solid English documentation
  4. Projects that do not seem to be maintained anymore

Some of the distributions that have not been reviewed yet may be worthy of consideration due to their great potential. Keep in mind that they may never make it to the front page ranking due to lack of time or Distrowatch resources to review them.

For that reason, we will share a list of what we consider the 13 most promising new distros for 2019 and a brief review on each of them.

Since the Linux ecosystem is a live being, you can expect this article to be updated from time to time, or perhaps be radically different next year.

That said, let’s take a look!

1. Condres OS

Condres OS is a modern Arch-based high-performance Linux distribution aimed at today’s cloud computing enthusiasts. It was built to have a beautiful and intuitive UI which makes it easy to use and all of its functions to be easily accessible.

It is also security conscious as it ships with Suricata, a high-performance network IDS, IPS, and network security monitoring engine for intrusion detection.

Condres OS is available in many DE versions including Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, Xfce, etc. and also available for both 32- and 64-bit architectures.

Condres OS

Condres OS

2. ZoonityOS

ZoonityOS brought to you by UXOS, is a Linux-based distribution focused on providing customers with a user-friendly environment for surfing the web, managing emails, watching videos, and listening to music as well as computing complex tasks, editing multimedia formats, etc.

It features a sleek UI straight out of the box with the typical set of preinstalled apps most Linux distributions ship with e.g. Libre Office Suite, Firefox, Transmission, etc. Its default DE is Xfce and although it started as side project all the way in 2008, UXOS was virtually restarted in 2018 as ZoonityOS Core, a free edition, and ZoonityOS Ultimate, the paid edition.

ZoonityOS

ZoonityOS

3. ArcoLinux

ArcoLinux (formerly called ArchMerge) is a full-featured Arch-based Linux distro that grants users the means to build custom distributions while also helping to improve several community editions which ship with their own desktops.

ArcoLinux has Xfce as its default DE and although it is minimalist in nature, it includes scripts via which power users can install any desktop and/or application they want.

ArcoLinux

ArcoLinux

4. SparkyLinux

If you enjoy working with fast, lightweight distros then this one will fill your eyes with sparks of light.

SparkyLinux is a blazing fast lightweight Debian-based distro designed for new computers but with old computers in mind. It features various customized LXDE and Enlightenment desktops which ship with a selection of applications for home users.

SparkyLinux

SparkyLinux

5. Flatcar Linux

Flatcar Linux is an immutable Linux distribution specifically built for containers. It is based on CoreOS’s container Linux but is built from source and thus, is independent of the CoreOS’s Container Linux project.

Flatcar Linux is designed to simplify management in large clusters which makes it ideal for running Kubernetes and it is currently funded and engineered by Kinvolk.

Flatcar Linux

Flatcar Linux

6. Norcux OS

Norcux OS is a lightweight community-driven and supported desktop Operating System developed to be easy to use while maintaining a modern look and offering users a feature-rich experience. It respects your privacy and does not collect any data whatsoever nor does it display advertisements.

Norcux OS is based on Debian Stable and is therefore a rolling release. Right out of the box, Norcux OS features a polished look and is constantly updated.

Norcux OS

Norcux OS

7. NuTyX

NuTyX is a Linux From Scratch documentation LFS and Behind Linux From Scratch documentation BLFS-inspired distro built for intermediate and advanced Linux users, and those interested in committing themselves to improving their Linux system skills.

It was developed to be highly flexible thanks to its custom package manager, cards, which enables users to compile source packages from ports, install individual binary packages, and also install groups of related binary packages like in the case of DEs like Xfce or KDE.

NuTyX Linux

NuTyX Linux

8. Robolinux

Robolinux is a distro built to provide users with a free secure Linux distribution that increases productivity and saves time.

It has a one-click Windows feature which allows you to run Windows apps somewhat natively (thanks to its VM feature). Robolinux is also keen on security and ensures that users who run Robolinux alone or together with Windows XP, 7, and 10 don’t ever have to worry about viruses, a learning curve, or performance issues.

Robolinux

Robolinux

9. Archman

Archman is an Arch-based Linux distro created in Turkey to be simple to use and customizable. It was also built the bring the awesomeness of Arch Linux to users who might be reluctant to try Arch Linux itself.

It uses the Clamares system installer and the Octopi package manager.

Archman GNU Linux

Archman GNU Linux

10. Void

Void is a multipurpose Operating System built from scratch based on the monolithic Linux kernel to house a hybrid binary/source package management system and a unique implementation of various processes.

This gives its users the ability to manage software as well as to build software directly from their source.vIt has support for Raspberry Pi single-board computers and being a rolling release, it is always up to date.

Void Linux

Void Linux

11. Drauger OS

Drauger OS is a beautiful, secure, performance-focused gaming desktop Operating System and it prides itself with being more secure than Windows. It aims to provide users with the best gaming platform possible while maintaining user preference.

Drauger OS uses a modified Xfce desktop which offers users an improved performance, easier access to functions, overall stability, and a smooth gaming experience

Drauger OS

Drauger OS

12. Modicia OS

Modicia OS is an Ubuntu LTS and Debian-based Linux OS developed by MODICIA Development Company for their public bodies and professional clients.

It boasts of 10% swappiness, program speed increase by 25%, and 20% RAM efficiency thanks to its active Turbo Boost processors. It also comes with Wine HQ pre-configured alongside the typically bundled apps, preinstalled dictionaries with multi-language support, etc.

Modicia OS is regularly updated and is available in 3 flavors, Desktop Ultimate, Light, and Didattico.

Modicia OS

Modicia OS

13. Bliss OS

Bliss is an open source Android-based Operating System that aims to be usable across various platforms. It has Bliss ROM for Android devices, Bliss OS for PCs, and ROM & OS Development for business and educational institutions.

Bliss OS is free and compatible with PCs, MacBooks, and Chromebooks with support for both BIOS/CSM and UEFI boot.

Bliss OS

Bliss OS

Summary

Most of these distros have been submitted for review on the waiting list and you can click the Recommend button next to the name of the distribution(s) that you like. That way, you will be contributing towards Distrowatch assigning a resource to review it.

NuTyX is on this list because of the major changes it got last year. SparkyLinux and RoboLinux distro too. They are older than 2 years but they also boast updates that make me consider them to be new. Think of them as the 3 bonus titles you should check out.

As always, feel free to let us know if you have any questions or suggestions about this article. Use the comment form below to drop us a note anytime. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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.

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66 Responses

  1. Iceman says:

    Archman is shinning star. Highly recommended. Very stable,fast even old hardware.Has lots of community versions but I suggest you Xfce.

  2. PrimeSuspect says:

    Condres looked promising so I installed the KDE version on two machines. Both had next to no additional software installed yet both suddenly stopped booting after two weeks within days of each other.

    Likely an update issue but I couldn’t be bothered to find out why. Looks like yet another dev trying to manage too many DE choices instead of concentrating Q&A into one direction.

    • Martins Okoi says:

      Updates that break the system. Wouldn’t be the first time but it is never cool.

      Which distro do you run normally?

      • PrimeSuspect says:

        I’m a huge KDE fan although it’s taken me some time to accept the move from KDE4 to Plasma 5. If anyone else feels the same ROSA and MX-16 (KDE added version) still support KDE4 in addition to CentOS although MX is a community spin.

        That said we can’t live in the past for ever even if Superkaramba is a big loss :). Now I run Neptune and KDE Neon. I really like the look of Nitrux but can’t be bothered with egocentric stuff that reinvents the wheel for no good reason. KDE resource use now makes it irrelevant to choose another DE unless you prefer say Xfce or Deepin for another reason.

        • dragonmouth says:

          “That said we can’t live in the past forever”

          That statement implies that all changes made are for the better. From my experience, many changes seem to be made just for the sake of change or to inflict on the world some developer’s egotistical view of what Linux should look/work like.

          I’ve been a KDE user since version 3.x. Sure, as KDE went from version 3 to 4 to 5, there were many eye candy and glitz changes made. People say that KDE now looks prettier, more “modern” (whatever “modern” means). That depends on what you like.

          As you say, there was some functionality lost between KDE 4 and KDE 5 as there was between KDE 3 and KDE 4. If you found the removed functions useful or even necessary, is wanting them back “living in the past” especially if there is no replacement for that functionality?

          In quite a few cases, the statement “can’t live in the past” is a code phrase for “STFU and accept the garbage we feed you”.

          • PrimeSuspect says:

            Well I did say accept and not like. Accept on the basis that like it or not KDE4 will be totally unsupported in the near future so in order to use KDE you get V5 unless you opt for Q4OS and Trinity.

            I guess on the bright side KDE has evolved to be a better ‘upgrade’?:) than either Gnome or Windows (10 from 7) so all is not lost. Granted it’s mostly the superficial stuff I don’t like such as a right-click desktop now just gives you a boring flat window with a few icons and text.

            With KDE4 you got something far more appealing as with the other system windows. Candy lovers can still add Compiz/Emerald to something like Zorin Lite or Voyager and enjoy the extra glitz albeit with Xfce.

  3. Thomas Castleman says:

    Hey. I’m the lead dev for Drauger OS. I would like to point out that Drauger OS does not aim to be more secure than any other Linux OS. On our website, the claim that Drauger OS is, “far more secure than the leading gaming desktop operating system” refereed to Windows.

    While we do make a point to have good security, and privacy, while also providing good performance, the latter is our main focus. Really, we are more of a direct competitor to Steam OS in that we want the best performance possible and want to work well with Steam, but don’t want to lock users into Steam. That’s why our beta includes Lutris and previous versions had emulators galore.

    But yeah, if you could please update that it would be great. Thanks for mentioning us!

  4. Hey. I am the lead dev of Drauger OS. I wanted to point out that Drauger OS does not aim to be more secure than other Linux distro. The, “far more secure than the leading gaming desktop operating system” on our website refers to Windows (we didn’t mention it by name in order to avoid copyright/trademark issues). While security is a major priority, we favor performance more. That being said, the “A Focus on Security” on our website is probably misleading, so the miscommunication is understandable. We simply meant that Drauger OS is far more secure than Windows and that we have a stronger focus on security than Windows, as we will not blatantly sacrifice it for performance, and will work to keep things up-to-date and secure as much as humanly possible.

    If you would mind updating the post to reflect this, we would greatly appreciate it.

    Also, thank you for mentioning us! This is the first time we have been on a post anywhere and are super happy to be chosen!

  5. moon says:

    I am glad I happened to go over this post again because I totally missed this distro. I just can’t believe I’ve never even heard of it before last week. This distro has a real shot at going all the way to the top. I honestly believe anyone who checks it out will be impressed by it, at the very least. Yes, thank you Martins. 2019 is starting with a bang!

  6. dragonmouth says:

    Many of these distros have been moved from the Waiting List to the main DW distro database long time ago. Sparky has not been on the Waiting List since 2012, NuTyX since 2018, RoboLinux since 2014. The above distros have already delivered on their promise and they certainly are not new.

    • Martins Okoi says:

      You’re right. But those distros are a lot nicer than they used to be now and readers (who may not know they exist) should know them.

      Currently, none of the other ready distros on the waiting list is promising enough to be on the list (if I haven’t missed any). I may be wrong but only time can tell.

  7. Nico78 says:

    You forgotten the latest blackbuntu. The project has been taken over and it’s nice distro

  8. Eddie G. says:

    I think I’ve found a perfect replacement for the DOA SemiCodeOS or Pop_OS! Its perfect for programmers and coders&gt, just the colors alone seem to help with typing / reading examining code! I can only say thank goodness it came along, because I was facing a crisis: find a new distro or keep the tried and true Fedora which I’ve been on since Fedora Core TWO! (and there’s nothing wrong with it! its been my mainstay for YEARS! but I want to “separate” my “work machine” from my “play machine”!…LoL!

    Anyone interested in coding / programming or content creation using web tools? would do well to check out Pop_OS, its the it is the standard OS installed on all System76 laptops and desktops, but don’t fret, they also still offer the distro of your choice! LoL!

  9. Michael Biller says:

    MX-Linux is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I recently began putting MakuluLinux Flash through its paces and I have to admit that this is one impressive distro. I am anxiously awaiting the release of Makulu’s flagship ‘Core’. Flash has been nothing short of amazing. One of the most bug-free distributions I have checked out. For Flash to be this good then Core should be worth the wait. Check it out.

    Deepin 15.9 is awesome. Somehow the developers just keep making it better. I am starting to wonder if the developers are moonlighting KDE guys. KDE Neon and openSUSE Argon have been a joy to use and KDE, like Deepin just keeps on bringing it. I would be remiss if I left Linux Mint out. They are also on fire and have been for awhile. Consistently awesome should be their motto. MX-Linux speaks for itself.

    I wonder what would could happen if the developers of all the distributions I mentioned got together to create a new distribution. I dare say it would be something unforgettable.

    • Martins Okoi says:

      Thanks for the contribution, Mike.

      Deepin never disappoints and although OpenSUSE recently changed ownership, I don’t see any reason for them to lose their insight.

      • michael biller says:

        I thought Modicia OS. looked interesting so I started doing some research. I discovered it was designed mainly for multimedia production/use. I am a guitarist so I decided to see what it was about and I got to say this is one awesome distro.

        I really can’t believe it is not racing up the Distrowatch ranks. Not only is it super polished and works beautifully as a digital audio recording workstation, it is darn close to being a perfect little everyday use OS. It is as bug free as I have ever seen out of the box.

        Seriously, Modicia O.S. gives Linux Mint, Deepin, MX-Linux, and all of my other favorites a run for their money. Everything about it screams professionally done and the end user experience is totally top notch and then the speed. Dammit man. Thank you for the heads up on this one. Modicia O.S. is a real gem and a total surprise.

        I am glad I happened to go over this post again because I totally missed this distro. I just can’t believe I’ve never even heard of it before last week. This distro has a real shot at going all the way to the top. I honestly believe anyone who checks it out will be impressed by it, at the very least. Yes, thank you Martins. 2019 is starting with a bang!

  10. Moltke says:

    You mentioned Robolinux. If you don’t mind that I ask, can you tell me the difference between using Robolinux’s stealth VM feature and install virtualbox and create a windows vm? I remember trying Robolinux last year – I think – since it called my attention because of that but then I think it didn’t work as I expected and If my memory doesn’t fail I think I had to install virtualbox for it to work. I thought it’d be…different and easier, but it wasn’t

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