The Best Linux Distros to Watch Out for in 2017

In 2016 Linux made modest gains in the desktop market. There is a lot of speculation out there from many people as to why Linux had a good year. Some of this is attributed to the lukewarm reception of the new Macbook Pro and the overall decline in usage of Mac OS. Others say it’s the natural evolution of Linux and that the operating system is bound to see gains eventually.

Regardless of the reason, because Linux saw a tiny uptick in users in 2016, many new and lesser-known Linux distributions gained a lot more attention. In 2017 we expect these same Linux distributions to make even more gains in popularity.

Below are the distros Linux fans should keep an eye on in 2017.

Solus, though not new, really came into its own in 2016. It grew massively in popularity due to the fact that it’s an entirely new Linux-based operating system and not just another Linux derivative. The Solus team promises a stable desktop-first experience while keeping users from having to reformat because the distribution is a rolling release model.

In 2017 expect Solus to grow even more in popularity. This distro really created a niche in the desktop market place by creating an operating system that you can install once and forget, but not worry about breakages. It brings the best of unstable and stable, and because of this we think this distribution is one to keep an eye on this year.


The Hawaii and Papyrus projects came together recently to create Liri. This is an operating system that was designed to bring users the most modern of features, all while adhering to the modern Google material design standard.

The want for modern design and features was a big thing in 2016. Linux users grew tired of having to configure things and started turning to operating systems that promised to “just work.” Liri makes this promise too and will grow considerably because of it, and in 2017 Linux users should take notice.


One of the many uses of Linux is reviving old PCs that are too weak to run other operating systems. In 2016 users turned to many operating systems to accomplish this task but none as much as LXLE. This distribution is an Ubuntu derivative designed to run on the barest of hardware.

As official Ubuntu spin Lubuntu continues to decline in popularity, 2017 may be the year that LXLE takes its place – or, at the very least proves itself to be a viable alternative.


Along with Linux growing in popularity, so did KDE Plasma – so much growth that an entire Linux distribution was created just to deliver users the latest KDE updates. In 2016 Neon did very well and quickly became the place to go for KDE fans interested in the latest KDE Plasma updates.

In 2017 it isn’t hard to predict that Neon’s popularity will grow. More and more users are looking to try out KDE 5 without any fuss.


Though all the distributions on this list are either new and relatively unknown (or just not that well known), they all bring something unique and needed to the Linux community. It’s no wonder that all these distros were rising stars this year. As a result of this, it is expected that each and every one of the distros on this list will only grow in popularity in 2017!

What Linux distributions do you think users should keep an eye out on in 2017? Tell us below!

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