Dancing in between the large and popular GNU/Linux distributions, several innovative smaller projects are producing some really good, often excellent systems which you can download and use. As with the Linux you find here on this site, the smaller distros tend to focus on a set of specific core capabilities. Below are Linux distros for multimedia production, efficiency with small size, promoting more pure open source software, acessing the web with better security, and so forth. Try them - there is something to like in each one!
AV Linux is preconfigured for audio and video content creation. Boot the iso file or install AV Linux to your SSD, then record and edit your content in a tailor-made production environment. MX Linux is described in another section below; here it used the LXDE desktop, with installed and configured video and audio editors. It is a no-friction Linux setup, ready for you to users in creating your content.
You may have heard that Arch Linux is a difficult and painful system, not recommended for new users. The truth is more complex: Arch can be installed, updated, and used as easily or difficult as other Linux Distributions. Where It differs is in the immediacy of options, including less stable software. With ArcoLinux, you make choices and have sane guidance, which leads to a very positive experience. It is a well designed course of computing more than a mere variant of Arch Linux. You get a very nicely optimized system, with any of several desktops and fresh software, as close to the bleeding edge as you dare to go. My favorite aspect of Arcolinux is that it guides you through building the operating system you want, which can be scaled up or down to any degree.
MX Linux offers a less minimalist, more easy and elegant computing environment. It is about one third more heavy than typical "performance oriented" distros, but not as recource hungry a complete office and multimedia oriented Linux system. It looks good and is easy to install, configure, and use. Desktops avaiable by default are Fluxbox and XFCE, with KDE available by download. Actually, with just a bit more work, any of the popular desktops or window managers may been installed. The devs have done a good job setting up the configuration and package management tools. In my opinion, it would be a good system to run with KDE Plasma.
Porteus Linux is small, modular, easy on the system resources, and very very customizable. It was fast a decade ago, on mere dual core machines. On recent multicore / high memory hardware, it is absolutely smoking fast. Yes, you can bog it down with dozens and dozens of applications, but why? The default system has the basics, with the intention of only the essentials you want added in, on a lightweight desktop environment. Try something super slick: Porteus with just a window manager, with a web browser, code editor, email and chat clients. That is a low latency rock steady system.
Regolith Linux is a derivative work using Ubuntu with the i3 window manager, with plenty of modifications which improve the user experience. It is efficient and customizable; you can have a great workflow with pleasing looks. With i3 as the window manager, plan to use the keyboard to directly access the main applications without the tedium of picking through an application menu first. The start menu does exist, if needed, and is easily pulled up with a keyboard shortcut.
Sparky has been with us for more than a decade, and brings us a nice way to use Debian Testing with an of a number of desktop environments. There are several excellent tools available for managing the system and software packages. My favorite flavor of Sparky Linux is the LXQT version. It is light, fast and nonsense nonsense. If you want to give Debian Sid a try, there are ways to tweak Sparky for that. There are even "third party" versions of Sparky Linux, with special features, linked from their wiki.
Time for a shameless plug of another sibling project of similar roots as Skywave Linux and MOFO Linux. The Catbird system is built for persons interested in gathering data from the internet for open source intelligence (OSINT), market sentiment, or other data science. It is a bootable live environment using a combination of MATE and the i3 window manager, with support for Python, Go, and other languages. Web scraping and code editing tools abound, so users can create or use existing tools to observe and measure events of interest.
Tags: Catbird Linux, AV Linux, ArcoLinux, MX Linux, Porteus Linux, Regolith Linux, Sparky Linux