Recommended distros for Framework 16 and guides?

So I’m planning to use Linux for the first time ever with this laptop and basically know nothing about Linux. I want something that’ll be an easy enough transition from Windows to Linux, but also leaves plenty of room for me to tinker around and learn how Linux works. What I thought would work was Linux Mint Cinnamon, but it seems that while it might work, it might not work properly with the Framework 16? I’m honestly confused about what works and what doesn’t.

So I made this post because I was wondering if anyone was able to give suggestions on what distros can be used. I’ve seen some suggestions, but the links lead to Framework 13 posts and instructions for that. Will the same exact steps for the Framework 13 also work for the Framework 16? Will the same distros work the same on both laptops? Anything I need to worry about when picking a distro for my first time experience with Linux when it comes to the Framework 16?

theres a section here for the framework 16

official support (i.e. what framework will help you with if something goes wrong) is fedora 40, and ubuntu 22.04 or 24.04

community support (i.e. what youre most likely to get help with from the community) is mostly project bluefin, bazzite, and arch (though if youre using linux for the first time ever i would not recommend arch)

there are pages on this forum that people have made about other distros, and some seem quite easy to set up (im just using debian with a slightly more up to date kernel and ive been more or less fine)

linux mint is based off ubuntu iirc, so you might be able to use similar steps to get that working

as for instructions being for the framework 13, they should likely work on the 16 (unless you have the dgpu, as you might need extra steps to get that working), just make sure youre following ones for the amd fw13s, because the 16 is amd only

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If you go with mint, I believe you want the Edge version. Listed as Cinnamon Edition - “EDGE” ISO at Download Linux Mint 21.3 - Linux Mint
Normally I’d suggest Mint for brand new linux users, but for the FWL16 it’s unfortunately not “officially” supported. So fedora or ubuntu might be better, at least to use to test out the FWL16.

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So I did see what framework officially supports, but I was moreso wondering what would be good to use based on that. I know for Linux Mint, I keep seeing that Linux Mint Edge is what’s supposed to be used for testing if any problems occur, but in that case, would Linux Mint Cinnamon work? And if not, under Ubuntu and Fedora, which distros would work best and be easy to transition to? I saw Ubuntu in particular seemed to work the best on the Framework 16, but is there any specific distro that will work perfectly fine like that and is easy to transition into?

That’s what I thought would be the case. Do you happen to have any suggestions that would be easy to use for a first time user? I did a lot of research and all the distros are a little overwhelming and I can’t quite figure out what would be easy to learn.

My recommendation would be to stick with an official supported distro like Fedora. Matt has written some great and thorough setup guides that will get you ready in no time. And if you have any issues while using the device, the Linux staff can provide better support as all functionality is tested on officially supported distros.

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Alright, thanks!

Having gone through a bunch of distro’s myself (Debian 12, Ubuntu 22.04 and 24.04, and now EndeavourOS), most of them are mostly working fine after you update them to use the latest firmware package.
I finally settled on EndeavourOS (which is based on Arch) because that is the only one that seems to work flawless for me now on the Framework 16. Most others i had some problems with hibernate or suspend.

Interesting since Arch isn’t one of the officially supported distros. I guess if they’re all working fine basically, I don’t need to worry about what I’m picking as much as I thought. I’ve been avoiding Arch since as far as I’m aware from what I looked up, it’s the least beginner friendly distro. Not sure how the distros based on Arch are in terms of difficulty though.

Arch by itself is not recommended for beginners, it involves quite a lot of command-line tinkering, but (some of the) derived distro’s will work just fine for a beginner, like Manjaro or EndeavourOS (and probably others that I have not tried) have a proper installer, and live iso image that you can boot and install from. Arch is typically quite up-to-date with respect to kernel and firmware (and thus support for new devices).
For a beginner, i think the best advice is to give Ubuntu 24.04 a try, it has a recent kernel, and chances are that with recent or upcoming updates open issues are already being addressed.
Linux Mint (21.3) would normally also be a good choice for a beginner, but for now it is still based on the older Ubuntu 22.04, so that i don’t recommend. Debian 12 is a bit behind in kernel version, so that is probably also not the best starting point (and that also applies for the Linux Mint Debian Edition, which i normally prefer myself).
Fedora also has a reputation of being recent and up-to-date, but I have not tried this distro myself.
Normally it does not matter if a distro is a bit behind, however the Framework 16 has quite a modern gpu and wifi chipset, both require a recent Linux kernel with up-to-date firmware to work properly.

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My first distro was kubuntu. I liked it had a very windows like interface and that made it a little more comfortable for me. That was 14 years ago, maybe it’s changed. I run xubuntu now on the AMD fw13 and it’s fine other than touchpad activation while typing.

Just to clarify a bit, when i recommend Ubuntu 24.04, that is mostly because of the hardware support. Xubuntu (XFCE desktop), Kubuntu (KDE Desktop), and other derivatives based on 24.04 will work just as well, but offer a different desktop experience.
Which desktop experience works best, can be very different for people.
I have used KDE from the very early days (even before the 1.0 release i used to build the packages myself from source. See here: K Desktop Environment 1 - Wikipedia), and was very happy with it. Then switched to the native Ubuntu Unity desktop for a while, and now with EndeavourOS I am back to KDE with it’s new Plasma 6 desktop, which I find very pleasant to work with.

Thanks for the explanation!

I’d suggest you consider trying this version of Fedora, it’s called Bluefin projectbluefin.io. Bluefin is a primary variant of the Universal Blue stable of OSs that are all based on Fedora products but may be superior for you because of what they describe as being a ‘batteries included’ version of Fedora ie everything just works out of the box. Many maintenance tasks are automated for you, yet you will still have the full flexibility to customise the desktop to suit yourself. The OS is made of known stable images, so you will get a nice stable secure platform to try. Bluefin uses the new paradigm of ‘atomic’ technology which for long term users is a big departure but if you are new to linux this won’t be a problem and you might as well jump into the future now and learn about flatpak apps, containerised work flows etc. Bluefin is fast, stable, perfect for Framework (tested on Framework to work well). If you are interested in trying other OSs as well, later you could also spin up some VMs or containers or even put a second nvme disk into the 2230 slot (under the main disk) and use that second disk to install and try other distros without disturbing your main Bluefin OS. Framework is a great platform to experiment on! All the best, which ever way you decide to go…

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I’ve landed on using Linux Mint Cinnamon Edge for now. It was really hard picking a starting distro but for now, it’s serving its purpose as a decent intro to Linux. I do plan to eventually check out other distros too, but I’m going to stick with this for now until I at least get comfortable enough to be fine with starting the whole process of setting up Linux again.

Linux Mint Edge could be a good choice, since it is using a more recent kernel than the normal editions. How is it working for you, have you tried suspend and/or hibernate yet?

Mint’s what I normally recommend as a first distro. Don’t feel like you’re trapped to it though, it’s relatively common for people to hop around and gain experience with Linux’ various forms until they find one that really fits them.

I haven’t tried suspend or hibernate. Usually if I step away, I do a full shutdown on my laptop since it’s rare for me to need to step away for a short, but long enough time for hibernate/sleep to be worth it.

I don’t want to get trapped, but the idea of jumping around right from the start feels like it’d be a bit overwhelming since it wouldn’t really give me time to get comfortable with Linux in general. I want to use this for a little while at least to get used to the how the terminal works (already learning what certain commands do and how to use them without needing to be told the exact command to use in certain situations) and how the OS works in general. I have literally 0 experience with Linux and am not particularly well versed in software/coding so I’m going super out of my comfort zone with this switch.

My apologies, I didn’t mean to make it more stressful. All I meant was to convey is that I think you chose a good starting place, and the distro decision itself isn’t super critical anyways.

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