How to choose the best Linux distro for your laptop

Making music and movies

When it comes to editing movies you've captured while on holiday, there's no time like the present. You'll find it easier to edit footage when things are fresh in your mind.

To transform your hotel room into a movie editing suite, you should grab a copy of Ubuntu Studio for audio, video and graphic enthusiasts. It can be run as a Live image for those who want to use all its default apps without having to physically install it, and the latest version can be found on Ubuntu (18.04).

If you're looking for a pro audio solution, then check out KXStudio, which also offers a Live DVD as well as a fully installable solution. It's compatible with both Ubuntu and Debian repositories, and comes with lots of applications and plugins aimed at professional audio production.

Other distros worth examining include Music GNU+Linux and VortexBox – the latter will appeal to those looking for a quick and easy way to rip music and run a spare PC as a jukebox or audio server. Currently VortexBox can be downloaded and booted from USB only

If you want to turn your laptop into a full-blown media centre (with server capabilities), then try LibreElec, an OS designed to run Kodi. This provides an easy way to view and share movies, music and photos.

OpenSUSE is professional-looking and boasts some quality office software including KMail (Image credit: SUSE LLC)

OpenSUSE is professional-looking and boasts some quality office software including KMail (Image credit: SUSE LLC)

Office work

Linux is ideal for working on the go, when you need a distro that's stable, secure and works well with the apps you want to use.

With this in mind, you needn't look any further than Ubuntu, Fedora or openSUSE. 

OpenSUSE in particular looks professional, and is well integrated with the LibreOffice suite and Kontact personal information manager, which includes the KMail email client. It's available in a variety of Live CD flavours, depending on your choice of desktop environment – the default is KDE. 

The latest version of openSUSE ‘Tumbleweed’ follows a rolling release model, meaning stable updates are released as they become available. You can use the installation and administration program YaST (‘Yet another Setup Tool’) to add more software if necessary.