Linux Types: The 3 Open-Source Variants to Know (2023)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: June 2023

Linux Types: The 3 Open-Source Variants to Know (2023)

Linux Types

Picture this: you’re in a vast wardrobe, just like the one in Narnia, and every outfit signifies a unique version of Linux. Each is tailor-made for a different journey, each offers its unique charm. Let’s embark on this magical expedition to explore the Linux realm where every version is a new adventure.


Linux types, or ‘distributions’, are different versions of the Linux operating system, each tailored for specific uses or preferences. They range from versions designed for beginners, servers, old hardware, privacy, multimedia production, to those highly customizable for tech-savvy users.

Type 1 – Arch Linux: With a “build what you want” mantra, Arch Linux offers a unique Linux experience. It allows users to set up a highly personalized system, installing only what they want or need, making it a favorite among advanced users.

Type 2 – Tails: An acronym for “The Amnesic Incognito Live System,” Tails is a Linux distribution focused on privacy and security. It’s designed to be run from a removable drive and leaves no trace on the machine you’re using, which makes it perfect for anyone concerned about their digital privacy.

Type 3 – Ubuntu Studio: Tailored for artists, photographers, and musicians, Ubuntu Studio comes bundled with an array of creative software. From graphics to video editing, photography to music production, this Linux distribution is a creative powerhouse.

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Linux Types In-depth

Arch Linux: The Master Chef’s Kitchen

Imagine you’re a master chef, and you’re given an opportunity to design your dream kitchen from scratch. You have the freedom to choose what ingredients you want to keep, what pots and pans you’d like to use, and even how you want to arrange your kitchen. You get to decide what makes sense to you and how you can create the most delicious meals possible.

Arch Linux is the same. It’s the master chef’s kitchen of the Linux world. It’s not the prepackaged, microwave dinner type of Linux distribution that comes with all the bells and whistles, whether you need them or not. Instead, Arch Linux is a lean, mean, computing machine that lets you decide what you need.

You start with a bare-bones operating system that, quite frankly, won’t do much at all at first. But don’t let this deter you. This is your empty kitchen waiting to be filled. You then get to add each ingredient (software or application) one by one, based on your needs and preferences.

Need a word processor? Choose your favorite and install it. Need a music player? Again, pick the one you prefer and add it to your system. This ‘a la carte’ approach lets you have complete control over what’s on your system, making sure there’s no unwanted bloatware taking up precious space.

But with great power comes great responsibility. With Arch Linux, you’re expected to do your homework and understand what you’re doing. Just as a master chef needs to know how to mix ingredients to create a dish, you need to understand how to combine different software to create your perfect computing environment. But fear not, Arch Linux has an extensive online documentation and an active community to help you out.

Moreover, Arch Linux follows a rolling release model. Imagine getting the freshest ingredients delivered to your kitchen every day. That’s what a rolling release is like. You get the latest software updates as they’re released, meaning your system is always up-to-date. No need to overhaul the entire operating system every few months, as is the case with some other Linux distributions.

In summary, Arch Linux isn’t for everyone, just as a chef’s kitchen isn’t for every home cook. But if you’re the kind of person who loves to tinker and wants total control over your digital environment, then roll up your sleeves, don your apron, and give Arch Linux a try. It’s an empowering and rewarding journey into the world of Linux.

Tails: The Invisibility Cloak of the Linux World

Imagine you’re a magician, a master of invisibility. With the flip of your cloak, you become completely untraceable, leaving no footprints behind. You could walk into a room, perform your tricks, and leave without anyone knowing you were there. That’s Tails for you in the Linux realm – it’s like the magic invisibility cloak.

Tails, which stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System, is a unique kind of Linux distribution. Its mission is simple, yet powerful: to preserve your privacy and anonymity. You could be an investigative journalist reporting in a country with censorship, a lawyer protecting sensitive client data, or just an ordinary citizen who values privacy – Tails is your trusted ally.

This Linux distribution is designed to be run from a USB stick or a DVD, which means you can use it on any computer, anywhere, without installing anything. It’s like carrying your invisibility cloak in your pocket, ready to be used whenever you need it.

Once you boot up Tails, it goes straight to work. It connects to the internet using the Tor network, a system built to maintain anonymity by bouncing your connection around a distributed network of servers worldwide. It’s like disappearing into a crowd – your location and identity become hard to trace.

Tails doesn’t store any data on the computer you’re using. When you shut down Tails, it forgets everything you did. It’s called amnesic for a reason! All your actions, the files you opened, the websites you visited, vanish without a trace. Just like after a magician’s trick, the audience is left with no clues.

But wait, what if you do need to save some data? Tails has you covered there, too. You can create an encrypted Persistent Storage on your Tails USB stick. Only you can unlock it with a passphrase. It’s like a secret compartment in your cloak to safely keep your magic spells.

Bear in mind, Tails doesn’t make you invincible. No tool can provide perfect security or anonymity. But what Tails does do is offer a robust set of tools to help you protect your privacy in an increasingly transparent world.

In a nutshell, Tails is the Harry Potter of Linux distributions, making digital privacy and security more accessible for everyone. So, if you value your online privacy, why not give Tails a try? It might just be the magic trick you need.

Ubuntu Studio: The Artist’s Palette of Linux

Imagine being a painter with an infinite palette of colors at your disposal, each shade ready to be mixed and matched to create your perfect masterpiece. Or a musician with a vast array of instruments, each with unique sounds that harmonize to compose a symphony. This is what Ubuntu Studio feels like in the Linux world – it’s an artist’s paradise.

Ubuntu Studio is a Linux distribution that’s been curated with creatives in mind. It’s as if a group of Linux developers got together with a bunch of artists and asked, “What do you need to create?” The result is a colorful canvas of software tailored to meet the needs of artists, photographers, musicians, and content creators.

Right from the start, Ubuntu Studio is prepared for creativity. It comes pre-loaded with a vast suite of applications, spanning from graphic design tools like GIMP and Inkscape, to audio production software like Audacity and Ardour. It’s like having a fully stocked art studio, music lab, and film editing room all in one package.

For photographers, there are tools to touch up photographs, create stunning digital art, or even manage your whole photo library. For musicians and audio engineers, Ubuntu Studio provides an array of digital audio workstations, synthesizers, and music notation software. Video editors and animators will also find applications tailored to their needs.

Ubuntu Studio even has its own custom real-time kernel for lower audio latency. To put it in simpler terms, imagine you’re in a band. The lower audio latency means that the drummer (your computer) can keep a tighter rhythm, and the whole band (your software) stays in perfect sync. This is vital for tasks like audio recording or video editing where timing is everything.

However, you don’t need to be an expert to start using Ubuntu Studio. Whether you’re a professional artist or just dipping your toes into the world of digital art, Ubuntu Studio makes it easy to get started. Its friendly, intuitive interface is built on the sturdy and popular Ubuntu base, which means you’ll also benefit from a strong community and robust support.

In essence, Ubuntu Studio is the vibrant art studio of Linux distributions. It takes the power and flexibility of Linux and adds a burst of creative flair. It’s a testament to how Linux is not just for server rooms or programmers, but also a platform where creativity can flourish. If you’re an artist ready to express yourself digitally, give Ubuntu Studio a try – your masterpiece awaits!


In the world of computing, Linux paints a vibrant landscape with its diverse distributions. Much like the multifaceted nature of human interests and needs, these distributions, from the highly customizable Arch Linux to the security-focused Tails, and the artist’s companion Ubuntu Studio, embody the spirit of flexibility and freedom. Each Linux ‘flavor’ has its unique strengths and applications, ready to cater to your specific requirements. So, no matter what your journey or destination is in the digital realm, there’s a Linux distribution ready to accompany you. It’s time to embrace the adventure and explore the world of Linux, tailored just for you!

How to stay safe online:

  • Practice Strong Password Hygiene: Use a unique and complex password for each account. A password manager can help generate and store them. In addition, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available.
  • Invest in Your Safety: Buying the best antivirus for Windows 11 is key for your online security. A high-quality antivirus like Norton, McAfee, or Bitdefender will safeguard your PC from various online threats, including malware, ransomware, and spyware.
  • Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious when receiving suspicious communications that ask for personal information. Legitimate businesses will never ask for sensitive details via email or text. Before clicking on any links, ensure the sender's authenticity.
  • Stay Informed. We cover a wide range of cybersecurity topics on our blog. And there are several credible sources offering threat reports and recommendations, such as NIST, CISA, FBI, ENISA, Symantec, Verizon, Cisco, Crowdstrike, and many more.

Happy surfing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

What makes Linux different from other operating systems like Windows or MacOS?

Linux is an open-source operating system, meaning its source code is freely available for anyone to view, modify, and distribute. This openness has led to the creation of various ‘flavors’ or distributions of Linux, each designed for specific uses or preferences. Unlike Windows or MacOS, which have more fixed and controlled systems, Linux offers unparalleled flexibility and customization.

Is it difficult to switch from Windows or MacOS to Linux?

The difficulty can vary depending on the Linux distribution you choose and your familiarity with computers. Some distributions like Ubuntu or Linux Mint have a user-friendly interface and are designed to be easy for newcomers, even offering software similar to what you’d find on Windows or MacOS. Others, like Arch Linux, may require a bit more technical know-how. However, all Linux distributions have strong communities where you can find help and resources.

    Can I run Linux alongside my current operating system?

    Yes, you can. This is often referred to as ‘dual booting.’ It allows you to install Linux alongside your current operating system (like Windows or MacOS) and choose which one to boot into when you start your computer. It’s a good option for those who want to try out Linux without completely abandoning a familiar environment.

    Author: Tibor Moes

    Author: Tibor Moes

    Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

    Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

    Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

    He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

    This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

    You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

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