I am about to start developing software for computer graphics primarily involving Virtual Reality software (using WebGL/OpenGL, Unity, etc.). Currently I'm unable to even run WebGL programs in any browser (including Chromium) in my Virtual Box Ubuntu 14.04 VM even after having installed Ubuntu Restricted Extras. In addition to this, more immediately, I'm going to need to install a node.js server for some graphics work that I'll be doing soon, which I would think would be better to do in a Unix-system.

I'm planning on dual booting another Linux distribution (as I still need to use certain Windows specific apps) and I'm currently considering Linux Mint as the Desktop Environment looks sleek and also due to the fact, from what I understand, that it has lower hardware requirements than Ubuntu off of which it is built. My laptop is a Lenovo with 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 24 SSD, 2.40 GHz processor and a baseline integrated graphics chip.

Given the requirements needed for graphics programming, which distribution would be best suited if I were to dual boot?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Thomas Dickey, DopeGhoti, Stephen Kitt, Gilles, Jeff Schaller Dec 29 '15 at 1:54

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


All Linux distributions are made up of more or less the same set of software packages. They differ in packaging, administration setup, and general polish. Some are more daring with new releases/packages, others are more cautious/conservative.

For development (i.e., serious work), keep away from "build from source" style distributions, you want the guarantees given by repeatability and uniformity of binary packages. Check what other people in your niche use, that might be important for interoperability. Check what your near environment uses, you'll need their help. Browse through available documentation, specifically for development (even in general),you will use it often.

  • Most people I'm going to be working with use Mac OS X and since I don't have a Mac, that wouldn't be an option (nor would I really want to use that OS either). The graphics dev we're doing isn't going to be that hardware intensive necessarily, but I would def need something that should run Web/Open GL apps smoothly. Given this, which would be the best choice for a distro? I'm leaning toward Mint anyway so I just want to know if there would be anything better suited. – loremIpsum1771 Dec 29 '15 at 1:00
  • @loremIpsum1771 then consider your Linux-using environment – vonbrand Dec 31 '15 at 0:07
  • 1
    @loremIpsum1771 hardware (I.e. OpenGL) support should be more or less the same (modulo slight version differences between distributions) – vonbrand Dec 31 '15 at 0:09

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