9 Best Free and Open Source Operating Systems

Best Free and Open-source Operating Systems

Operating systems play a critical role in computer systems by effectively managing hardware resources, facilitating software execution, providing user interfaces, and enabling efficient file management. Open-source operating systems, such as Linux, provide several benefits, including affordability, adjustable source code, robust assistance from the community, enhanced safety through community review, varied software ecosystems, and long-term sustainability.

The advantages mentioned above make them attractive to both individuals and organizations in search of operating system solutions that are cost-effective, customizable, secure, and community-driven. This article will discuss the best free and open-source operating systems and their features and benefits.

What is an Open Source Operating System?

An open-source operating system refers to software that is freely accessible, and its source code is available for anyone to view, modify, and distribute. This particular operating system facilitates collaboration and innovation, as it allows developers from various backgrounds to contribute enhancements and exchange their modifications.

The open-source characteristic of an operating system fosters transparency, customization, and community-driven development, enabling users to shape and improve their computing experience.

Best Free and Open source Operating Systems

Here is the list of the best free and open-source operating systems, offering flexibility, security, and customization. So, let’s dive into them.

1. Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a free and open-source operating system renowned for its simple user interface and robust community assistance. The software ecosystem provides various applications to cater to diverse requirements. Ubuntu places a high priority on security and stability by consistently providing updates and patches.

Ubuntu users can personalize their operating system according to their preferences by accessing and modifying the source code. The community is highly engaged and offers comprehensive assistance via forums and documentation.

Ubuntu provides Long Term Support (LTS) versions that guarantee prolonged maintenance and stability. The software is compatible with a diverse array of hardware and offers comprehensive driver support.

Ubuntu is a highly compatible operating system with cloud platforms, making it a fitting choice for cloud computing and server deployments. Ubuntu’s array of features and advantages render it a dependable and multifaceted operating system suitable for individuals, enterprises, and institutions.

2. ChromeOS

Chrome Operating Systems

ChromeOS is a powerful and robust operating system that powers Google’s line of Chromebooks. It offers a wide range of features and capabilities that make it an attractive option for those looking for a simple, secure, and speedy computing experience. Its straightforward interface makes navigation a breeze, while cloud integration enables easy access to files through Google Drive. It also offers a variety of family-friendly features, such as screen time limits and multiple-user support.

ChromeOS is designed for speed, with fast boot-up times and automatic updates that keep your device running smoothly. It also offers robust security features such as built-in virus protection and sandboxing that keep your device and data safe.

With ChromeOS, you can enjoy a seamless and productive computing experience without any of the hassles associated with traditional operating systems.

3. Fedora

Fedora is an open-source operating system renowned for its advanced Linux technology. The system provides current software packages and prioritizes stability and security. The Fedora Project has developed a software solution characterized by a robust community-driven approach, fostering collaboration and innovation.

The Fedora operating system offers various applications, tools, and development frameworks to enable users to remain up-to-date with the latest technology trends.

Enhanced protection is ensured by security features such as SELinux, which is a top priority. The Fedora community actively provides ongoing enhancements, extends support, and encourages user participation.

4. Debian

Debian is a highly regarded and extensively utilized operating system that is free and open-source. The product is recognized for its reliability, robust security measures, and unwavering dedication to open-source software.

The Debian operating system undergoes thorough testing and adheres to a strict release protocol, resulting in a dependable and resilient system. Ensuring security is paramount, with frequent updates and strong security measures in place.

Debian offers extensive hardware architecture support, highly adaptable to diverse devices. The platform provides extensive software packages, allowing users a diverse range of applications to meet their varied requirements. Debian also fosters community engagement and cooperation with a substantial and committed community of users and developers.

5. FreeBSD

FreeBSD is a recognized open-source operating system based on the BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) system. The product provides outstanding performance, stability, and security features, rendering it highly suitable for various applications.

FreeBSD is renowned for its exceptional stability and dependability, guaranteeing extended periods of uninterrupted operation and resistance to system malfunctions. This product offers advanced networking capabilities, making it a suitable option for tasks that require networking expertise and server environments.

FreeBSD boasts exceptional compatibility with a diverse array of hardware platforms, thereby providing a high degree of flexibility in system deployment. Furthermore, FreeBSD enjoys the advantage of having an enduring and encouraging community comprising developers and users who actively contribute to its ongoing progress and enhancement.

The operating system provides a comprehensive assortment of software packages via its package management system, enabling users to install and administer applications conveniently.

6. OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE is a reliable and user-friendly operating system that is free and open-source, and it is based on the Linux kernel. The OS provides a range of editions that cater to various computing needs, including desktop computing, server deployments, and development environments, offering versatility.

The OpenSUSE operating system boasts the YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) configuration tool, which offers an efficient and user-friendly interface for system configuration and administration.

The operating system features an extensive software repository comprising an extensive range of applications and packages, facilitating users to locate and install the requisite software easily. OpenSUSE prioritizes stability and dependability, with its Leap edition providing a thoroughly tested and stable foundation. Meanwhile, the Tumbleweed edition caters to users who prefer the latest software updates by offering a rolling release model.

7. Linux Mint

Linux Mint Desktop Interface

Linux Mint is a user-friendly, open-source operating system tailored for desktop and laptop computers. With its “Keep It Simple” principle, it offers a sleek and intuitive interface, perfect for beginners transitioning from proprietary systems. The out-of-the-box functionality ensures it comes fully equipped with essential apps, ready to use after installation.

Linux Mint’s high configurability allows users to personalize their experience. It boasts impressive graphic design capabilities with Blender, Gimp, and Inkscape, along with productivity tools like LibreOffice.

The system also excels in multimedia and gaming, supporting music, videos, web browsing, and thousands of games. It’s centralized updates and community-centric approach contribute to its reliability and free, customizable nature.

8. Manjaro Linux

Manjaro User Interface

Manjaro is a popular open-source Linux operating system that offers users a high level of control over their hardware and privacy. With support for x86-64 and ARM architectures, it is compatible with a wide range of devices.

One of the most significant advantages of Manjaro is its ease of use, making it a great option for those new to computing. It also offers a variety of customization options and comes with pre-installed applications, including several graphical user interfaces.

Manjaro also has a rolling release model that ensures it is always up-to-date, and it offers a wide range of software, including gaming and development tools. Moreover, Manjaro has robust virtualization capabilities and is compatible with Docker and Kubernetes. It allows you to take full control of your computing environment and achieve greater productivity.

9. FreeDOS

FreeDOS Interface

FreeDOS is also an open-source operating system that is compatible with DOS applications and games. It is a great option for those looking to play classic DOS games or run legacy business software.

FreeDOS is also ideal for developing embedded systems, as it can fit in well with many older embedded systems. Any program that works on MS-DOS can run on FreeDOS, making it a versatile and valuable operating system. One of its most significant advantages is its cost – it’s completely free to download and use.

FreeDOS can also be shared with others, and they can view and edit its source code because all FreeDOS programs are distributed under the GNU General Public License or a similar open-source software license. If you need to recover data from an old business program or run a report from a finance system, installing your legacy software under FreeDOS is a great solution.


Operating systems are crucial components of computer systems, as they perform critical functions such as hardware management, software execution, user interface, and file management.

Open-source operating systems provide several benefits, such as cost-effectiveness, customizability, community support, security, and a diverse software ecosystem. Illustrative instances such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, FreeBSD, and OpenSUSE exemplify the abovementioned benefits. However, if you are looking for the best operations system for computer science students then you can follow the linked guide.

Posted by
Ajoy Kumar

He is a Computer Science graduate dedicated to empowering individuals to forge successful careers in programming and the dynamic world of technology and industry.

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