I am currently buying a new laptop(see related hardware rec question here, and shall be dual-booting it with Windows 10 and some Linux distribution.

I have some experience with Ubuntu and the Windows command line, but it is only minimal. I have some programming experiece in Java, and basic knowledge of C++ and Python.

The answer to this question unequivocally recommends Ubuntu for new users while this recommends KDE andGnome desktop envioenments for users who have previously used Windows. I have also found recommendations for Fedora and BOSS.


It should be good use in dual-boot with Windows as described here.

Also, I shall need to use it for the following purposes and shall prefer to use Linux instead of Windows to the greatest extent possible-

  1. Coding - The distro should have ready support for IDE's like NetBeans and VisualStudio.

  2. CAE/Modelling/Animation- I have heard that many softwares like Solidworks do not support Linux. But I need something which can run the widest range of CAD/Modelling and Animation software.

Additional Requirements-

  1. It should be secure; in terms of security from malware, etc and also privacy.

  2. I would like something which is not too difficult to use but still allows more space for growth than the simplest ones (I am not really sure if those things are mutually exclusive, but it has seemed like that so far.).

Keeping all this is mind, which distro (and desktop enviornment) would you recommend as most suited?


  1. I was sent here from this question on super user, if the question does not fit here, kindly redirect or suggest improvments instead of closing.

  2. Relavant - I have asked a question about whether I should even use Linux here.

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    About "coding", note that Visual Studio is a Windows-only software. There is a multiplatform version called "Visual Studio Code", that's more a text editor rather than a full IDE. Maybe Eclipse is a closer match. – Alejandro Aug 14 '18 at 12:06
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    I recommend you start slow. Try VirtualBox with a 10 Gb (not 8 Gb) install of Linux Mint (try the Mate version) and see how that goes, practicing and trying various things in the VM. The big advantages of a VM: it's easy to just blow it away if you don't like it; you can easily create snapshots; you don't have to worry about the dual boot configurations and the potential for disaster there. Don't make too many requirements until you're more comfortable using Linux in the VM. When you've found a Linux distro that you like and meets your requirements, you could try a dual-boot if you want. – jrw32982 Aug 14 '18 at 19:37
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    The problem here is that you're an engineering student. You're very likely to be expected to use specific software packages for your classes, most likely comercial packages, and those generally just don't work on Linux. If your animation requirements can be met by Blender, I'd suggest looking into that (it's cross platform and works well on both Linux and Windows), but there really isn't much good 'modern' CAD/CAE software for Linux that you're likely to be able to use in class. – Austin Hemmelgarn Aug 15 '18 at 17:32

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