Welcome to my review and round up of the best linux distributions (distros) of 2019 that you should be using in 2020! This list will give recommendations for Best Linux Distro 2020, Best Lightweight Linux Distro, Best Gaming Distro, and Best Linux Distro for programming. Let’s get started!
Best Lightweight Distro: Void Linux
Void Linux has been my favorite lightweight and minimal Linux distribution for some time now. I have been using Void as a desktop system (also works great for server) for many months and it’s a stable and enjoyable experience for an enthusiast Linux user. Void provides everything you need in its default repositories and has great documentation. The community on r/voidlinux is also pretty good for helping people that need help (very arch-like and elite though). If you’re looking to get yourself started on Void I think LXQT is my favorite Desktop Environment with the least amount of overhead.
Best Gaming Distro: MX Linux
MX Linux has been gaining a huge amount of steam. In 2019 it was one of the best reviewed and highest rated for a “set it and forget it” Linux distro for the everyman. This Debian based distro gives you everything you need as a desktop user right out of the box and even provides non-free drivers (better for gaming) as well out of the box if you want them. The default desktop environment is XFCE which is a good choice for gaming too because of it’s light weight and low impact compositor. MX is a solid choice for everyone that is new or old to Linux. It just works.
Best Linux Distro for Programming: Manjaro Linux
Manjaro is Arch without the headache. This is a great distribution of Linux and no one should be saying it’s anything less than top 5 in the pecking order. Manjaro can lean on the Arch Linux community and documentation that has had so much time to build a great wealth of knowledge. The installation process is easy, all the big development environments are available through the default repos as well as every programming language package you can think of. I love Manjaro because it works on everything and has everything. If you’re looking to switch away from Mint, Ubuntu, or Fedora/CentOS this is my number one pick for a programmers dream.
Best Linux Distro 2019: Void Linux
I need to set Void as the leader in the innovation space of Linux this year. It’s now officially supported Flatpack and is a total joy to use once you have it installed. The XBPS package manager is the best thing to happen to binary distribution since apt and you have a complete backlog of documentation and a giant repository of great packages that are up to date. This is an amazing project that will continue to gather a following. You can’t go wrong this year by installing Void Linux on your main system and trying it out! My pick for Best Linux Distro 2020 is Void Linux.
Hey League of Legends players that also happen to be Linux enthusiasts. Today I would like to share a video comparison I’ve created comparing the difference in performance between League of Legends on Windows 10 and League of Legends on Ubuntu 18.04 Linux. This comparison will provides a frame rate (FPS) graph and and a side by side comparison of performance between the two systems handling the same replay from League of Legends patch 9.24 from Late December 2019.
RTX 2080 8GB
i7 9700K @ 4.6Ghz
16GB DDR4 RAM
Win10 – 441.08 WHQL
Ubuntu – 430 nonfree
Wine: lutris-lol-4.20-x86_64 D9VK/Vulkan Enabled
League of Legends
Medium Settings & Shadows
240 FPS Framerate Limit (Recommend)
AA Enabled Patch 9.24B (Late Dec 2019)
Windows Average: 154
Windows One Percent Low: 120
Ubuntu Average: 140
Ubuntu One Percent Low: 106
Note: The impact of OBS with these settings is as low as ~5FPS. When running the tests I had no additional software running other than OBS and League. In a real use case even if you don’t record/stream the performance impact should be similar to having Chrome/Firefox open with a YouTube video or Discord ect.
H.264 Encoder veryfast preset, 5000kbps Bitrate, 1280×720 (downsampled from 1080p)
I’ve got a simple step by step guide on how you can dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux 18.04 to run the checkra1n jailbreak tool! Be warned that setup is a little technical and will likely take around an hour. Lets start!
Hardware Compatibility Requirements
First off you’re going to need to have a 64-bit processor that has virtualization enabled. You can check this in msinfo32.exe on Windows. Check “System Type” and scroll down to the Hyper-V entries. If System Type is “x64-based PC” the Hyper-V settings are “Yes” you have a CPU with the requirements.
Windows 10 Partitioning & Linux Installation Alongside Windows
You also need to partition some free space away from your Windows 10 Installation. Using the Disk Management diskmgmt.msc shrink your C: Volume by 25000MB and leave it as unpartitioned free space. Now boot from USB and run the installation utility in Ubuntu. Select “Install Ubuntu alongside Windows” If this open isn’t there please don’t continue with the guide as your may accidentally format your drive. Choose a username and password in the setup then click install. Wait for the installation to complete and then reboot into UEFI/BIOS to change the boot priority of your drive to default to Ubuntu. While you’re in UEFI/BIOS you must also enable your CPU virtualization technology settings. Save and quit F10 and boot into your Ubuntu install.
I have a work around using a live Linux USB. There is no offical release for Windows and Linux currently so macOS must be virtualized using KVM and IOMMU groupings.
The checkm8 jailbreak implementation called checkra1n was released Sunday November 10th 2019 but only for macOS. This wasn’t done to spite non-apple desktop users. The checkm8 exploit relies of precise control of the desktop USB stack to manipulate DFU mode.
Due to the precision of this communication they needed to craft the checkra1n desktop application to work with the the USB stack. The first USB stack they targeted as macOS, likely due to the developers familiarity with it. You can read more about the exploit in @qwertyoruiop talk at POC2019 which I attended.
So here’s the work around. A disk image you can flash to any 16/32GB USB flash drive to boot into which will provide the macOS Virtual Machine and provide USB passthrough.
This is possible and I can get this working. Just give me another few days. You’ll just need a 16/32GB USB drive and to boot into a live linux distro, run a script, and then you’ll have a macOS Virtual Machine is USB passthrough for use with checkra1n. VirtualBox and VMWare WILL NOT WORK for checkra1n. You need to have lower level access.
About VM’s and how this would work:
Stay tuned. I’ll have an update soon. You can watch my YouTube video linked above.
DriveDroid is an extremely useful Android utility application that allows rooted Android Phones to act as USB Mass Storage or a virtual CD-ROM drive. This can come in handy for booting PCs or emulating a USB drive of your own chosen size. The app only works on phones with root. I’ve personally tested DriveDroid on my rooted LG Nexsus 5X using Android 8.1 Oreo and Android 9.0 Pie and can confirm it is functional for installing BSD, Linux, and Windows.
Most phones emulate a USB stick when using DriveDroid. This is baked into the kernel of your phone. This means that only images that are compatible with USB sticks can be used. All IMG files will work, but not all ISO files will.
Booting into live Linux environments or installers is clearly the main use for DriveDroid and it works exactly as you’d expect. You can use the included ISO download tool included in the application to get a verity of popular distributions. I was happy to see Void Linux made the list of easily downloadable ISO’s as it’s a personal favorite distribution of mine. The distributions I tried include: Ubuntu 19.04, Manjaro XFCE 18.1, and Debian 10 “Buster” Net Install. All Booted both UEFI and BIOS without issue simply selecting the ISO file in the app. I would suggest downloading your ISO’s from your fastest mirror using your phones browser. This allows for faster speeds and the ability to resume the download if it’s interrupted.
Installing Windows using Android as Installation Media/USB Drive
To install Windows from DriveDroid you need to create the installation media the same way you with a traditional USB drive. You can emulate a standard mass storage USB drive of any size using an image file with DriveDroid but you need to first create an image to be used. I wasn’t able to use the blank image creation tool inside of the app but there is a simple work around.
Open any terminal emulator on your Android device and issue the dd command with a target of /dev/zero.
dd if=/dev/zero of=MyDrive.img bs=1m count=5120
Note: The of location is where the output file will be created. This example command will create a blank 5GB image in your working directory.