Which Linux Distribution Does Linus Torvalds Use in 2018?

Hello, my fellow Linux lovers, I’ve got a question for you today: What Linux distro does Linus Torvalds use on his machines?

We know a sizeable amount of his views on Linux distros, thanks to an interview he took long ago in 2007, but who knows – could he have changed his mind?

In a 2007 interview, Linus professed that he didn’t use Debian because he found it hard to install, a statement I find interesting because he’s the guy who wrote GIT in C.

Anyway, he buttressed his reason for not using Debian in a later interview from 2014, when he explained that because he is responsible for maintaining his computer and all the computers used by his household, he likes to use an OS with virtually no installation hassle.

He added that he changes his machines frequently during the course of a year and can not be bothered to spend too much time setting up his system when he could be using it to get work done.

His unsavory experience came from when he tried installing Debian on his MacBook Air at the time and couldn’t get things to work properly. And although he eventually figured out what the problem was, he had already lost interest; in his words, “by then it was too late“.

Ultimately, he made it clear that he cared less about Linux distros as long as it is easy to install and is continually updated as his focus is on the kernel – stuff he can quickly set up and get on with his life.

Mr. Torvalds referred to himself as a ‘technical person‘ with a very specific area of interest and actively avoids distros that are “overly technical” – like the ones that require you to compile apps yourself, etc.

As far as I know, he uses Fedora on most of his computers because of its fairly good support for PowerPC. He mentioned that he used OpenSuse at one point in time and complimented Ubuntu for making Debian accessible to the mass. So most of the flak on the internet about Linus disliking Ubuntu isn’t factual.

It is important to note that Debian has since improved their installation mechanism and is on my list of one of the easiest Linux distros to get up and running with. You can watch a snippet of the 24-min long interview below.

Do you know whether Linus has switched to using a different Linux distro now? And can you imagine any of the Linux distros being too difficult for him to actually setup?

What about you; have you come across Linux distros that are painstakingly tedious to setup? Maybe Arch Linux? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

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38 thoughts on “Which Linux Distribution Does Linus Torvalds Use in 2018?”

  1. I had try Ubuntu based on my Mediacom Smartbook 13″ and that’s true that Fedora is the only works…dunno why but looks like Fedora, even if is really(as european at least) close and a little problematic with compatibility and got some problems when it starts it just works.
    It works, that’s it, is a little more complicated but it works…it need a reboot, I need to select another booter, but it is just working greatful.

  2. I was Arch user for years, that’s how I learnt things I now do… in Debian or Ubuntu. Linux just stopped being a hobby, started being a tool and rolling-release and long setups are just a waste of time. I miss it sometimes…

  3. So which one is he using? The headline made it seem as if it was going to tell us which one he uses. The closest the article got was:

    “As far as I know, he uses Fedora on most of his computers because of its fairly good support for PowerPC. He mentioned that he used OpenSuse at one point in time and complimented Ubuntu for making Debian accessible to the mass. So most of the flak on the internet about Linus disliking Ubuntu isn’t factual.”

  4. It makes sense Linus uses Fedora. It’s one of the distibutions developed in the true Linux spirit. Linux Mint, Deepin and others, already have or make it easy to install proprietary codecs and drivers.

    I don’t take issue with it myself but I understand why there are those who do. Personally, I just want my system to run its best. If it works fine with open source drivers I leave it be. If not, I do what I must.

    Recently, I found an old Sun SPARCstation at the dump. I brought it home, fired it up and it worked. It was running Solaris. It helped me to understand the power and importance of UNIX and how Linux came to be. I got to glimpse the past.

    The reason I mentioned it is because I was blown away at how modern that 20+year old system was. I am not sure but I think it was even running 64bit!

    The system’s box also had floppy disks with Red Hat Linux. On floppies! I wonder if Linus had any clue of the Linux kernel’s future, back then.

    That old box had an operating system that was more modern than Windows95. Today, Sun Microsystems is history, Microsoft rules the desktop and Linux is taking over what remains.

    It is a testament to Microsoft’s marketing strategy back then, that they were able to convince everyone to adopt an inferior OS.

    In a way, Microsoft paved the way for the eventual rise of Linux by helping to kill Sun Microsystems and others trying to stick with UNIX for the workstation/desktop.

  5. I just don’t get it. I use Debian at home and OpenSUSE at work. Back in the day I started Linux using Slackware and then Gentoo…
    Debian is my favorite, is the most practical distro out there! There is a ton of applications available just out there on distro, this doesn’t happen on OpenSUSE, Fedora, CentOS or any other, even Ubuntu doen’t have many packages as Debian does.
    You just install once! Upgrade from versions is very easy and simple…It’s simple, very simple!

  6. There’s two kinds of people who install an os, those who think that the default settings are good enough and those who prefer to tweak and make the os their own. The first kind might find Arch tedious and the latter might think Ubuntu assumes too much.

    I started with red hat in ’98, went through the fedoras and suses and then found gentoo. The bsd method of ports just made sense and native binaries meant something when you didn’t have all those flops of today.

    Today it’s Arch, prefer to know what my system does. Pre-compiled is ok now that I have those flops.

  7. Hi,
    There is no the best Linux distro! But the one that you have more knowledge than other one.
    I have the knowledge to install FreeBSd quickly because I know what’s means slice and partitions and the install on it’s really fast such as recompile the kernel.

    Solaris, AIX, HP-UX are complete different of course they are Unix but if you have the knowledge to install everything is easy and quick.

    So for this question doesn’t make sense and there is no answer it’s personal.


  8. I bet he still uses Fedora, it’s an amazing distro. I tried it once but I prefer Debian, been using it since forever. I’m currently using Arch but I like distros that don’t need much attention.

  9. Long ago when i used Linux, the distro is Mint, but knowing Mint is so heavy on my Pentium 4 PC (ofc duh) then using Kubuntu on Laptop but now end up using KDE Neon.

    It’s easy to install, the full KDE support from developer is good too, the community is great as well.

  10. I use arch because it’s easy to get a *working* install. I tried Ubuntu, but on real hardware it always seems to have some showstopping issue (no wifi, no audio, display stuck at 1024×768, installing Nvidia display driver results in kernel panic on boot, etc). Ubuntu does seem to work great in virtualbox, though.

    • Yeah, Ubuntu has that issue.
      It usually always works well on virtual machines because the main machine already has its requirements in order.

      I think it’s about time I tried Arch Linux myself, but I fear I will just get frustrated after the first 2 pages. Plus I’m not familiar with its CLI syntax.

  11. He probably uses OpenSuse or CentOS at home. I wouldn’t necessarily call Arch “painstakingly tedious”. The point is to start from scratch and end up with your own custom build. That can be as complex as you and your choice of hardware make it.

  12. I once tried FreeBSD (not Linux, but it’s still a *nix), and it was a nightmare on my laptop. Not again! It’s nice to be validated by Linus himself on the need for easy installation. I use Elementary OS right now.

    • I’ve never tried installing FreeBSD myself – probably never will. I tried Elementary OS in a virtual machine some time back and the installer was quite buggy.
      Manjaro Linux too – its own was worse. So I set up Solus OS instead 🙂

      • Hi, although I personally like everything which is rpm based, I tried couple of times FreeBsd, even on my laptop. I was pleasantly surprised. I believe you should try. Anyway..in my case.. open suse for more than 12 years, then I switched to centos because it is standard in my company. Cheers, good article!

    • Haha

      Of course. Solus OS is beautiful AND also without “installation hassles”. But I doubt Linus will ever look at it.


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