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Six free open source alternatives to Windows 10

Christina Mercer | June 27, 2016
If Windows 10 isn't for you, we've got six alternatives that could be

Windows 10 has generally be viewed as a welcome successor to Windows 8, both by businesses and individuals. However it has also come under scrutiny from users that are concerned about data privacy. So why not opt for a free Windows 10 alternative?

We've listed open source Windows 10 alternatives based on features and user reviews. Here's some of the best.

1. Ubuntu

Free Windows 10 alternatives: Ubuntu

Initially released in 2004, Ubuntu is Debian-based and part of the open source Linux family. Ubuntu uses Unity as its default user interface and can be run on smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Key features: Libre Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, built-in Ubuntu Software Center, F-spot, an image editor, an instant messaging client called Empathy, and Ubuntu Make (developer tools centre).

Pros: Comes with popular open source software pre-installed, like Firefox and Libre Office.

Cons: Unfamiliar interface, perhaps aimed at more technical audience.

2. Fedora

Free Windows 10 alternatives: Fedora

Red Hat's Fedora desktop Linux distribution with an estimated 1.2 million users. After its 2003 release, Fedora has regularly updated its OS, with a new version being released every six months. The latest version of Fedora was released in November 2015, making Fedora 23 the latest version.

Key features: GNOME 3.18, LibreOffice 5, Todo application, (file browser) Nautilus, Linux Vendor Firmware Service and Google Drive integration.

Pros: Hosts the latest version of Linux kernel.

Cons: The OS is aimed at developers, so may be difficult for the less experienced.

3. Solus

Free Windows 10 alternatives: Solus

Solus is an open source, desktop, Linux-based operating system. Having been released in 2012, Solus is a relatively new OS, having over 2000 registered members on the SolusOS forums currently.

Key features: LibreOffice Suite, Firefox, PlayOnLinux, Budgie desktop environment, Thunderbird, XChat, OpenShot Video Editor, Transmission and VLC.

Pros: Java and Flash plug-ins are preinstalled as are all other applications listed under key features so use is almost immediate after installation.

Cons: This OS is fairly new, so some bug fixes will still be needed.

4. Linux Mint

Free Windows 10 alternatives: Linux Mint

Linux Mint is an open source Linux operating system based on Debian and Ubuntu OS. While it is based on Ubuntu, this operating system works much more like Windows or Mac OS, hosting a familiar interface.

Key features: Adobe Flash, Java, Cinnamon desktop environment, LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, HexChat, Pidgin, Transmission, VLC media player, GIMP.

Pros: Its source code is available on GitHub so new features are constantly being created.

Cons: The Cinnamon desktop environment is fairly new so may need some bug fixes.


Free Windows 10 alternatives: PC-BSD

PC-BSD was advertised as 'rock solid, secure and private' and after its initial release in 2006, PC-BSD was voted the most beginner friendly operating system This OS is Unix-like and built on the latest releases of FreeBSD.


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