Anytime you are choosing just one Linux distribution as the best, you must already be assuming an audience. And this is in fact what I am doing. When I say that Linux Mint 20.1 “Ulyssa” Cinnamon Edition is the best Linux distro for 2021, I mean it is the best Linux distro for the average computer user.
Now, what are the categories I used to select Linux Mint? The first is the quality of the software. There are some distributions that are running very old versions of software. (Debian Stable is a good example here.) Which means you don’t get the latest features. Quality also means that you have a variety of programs to choose from. Linux Mint gets 5 stars here.
The second category is documentation and support. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, which means most of the documentation from that release will be relevant to Linux Mint 20. Plus there is documentation and online support through the Forums and the Chat Room. Plus there are many YouTube Videos. Learn Linux TV has an excellent Linux Mint Beginners Guide.
The third category is the ease of use and practicality. Let’s best honest, the average user is familiar with Microsoft Windows layout. Gnome is excellent, but the workflow is very different. KDE may be Windows-like, but its customization is extreme and the user can easily screw up their system. Linux Mint is a great balance here. Furthermore, more stuff just works out of the box on Linux Mint. I have less issues getting things to work than any other Linux distro.
The fourth category is looks and aesthetics. This is more a personal preference and less objective, but I think Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop environment is the best looking of all of them, including Windows and Mac. It has style, grace, and functionality.
The last category is long-term support. The average user doesn’t want to install a new operating system every year. Linux Mint 20 is a long-term support release that will be supported until 2025. This is perfect for the average user. And upgrading to newer versions is easier than ever.
For all these reasons I believe that Linux Mint is currently the best Linux distribution for the average computer user. I use it on my production machine and laptop, and I have it on both my parent’s and my wife’s parent’s computers.