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Distribution: RedHat (RHEL, FC, CentOS), openSuSE, Mac OS X
well ... SuSE has degraded really. 7.2 was the best release, 8.1 was terrible, i have less issues with Windows than i had with that releases. Granted i didn't use Windows that much in that time so there was very little chance for issues to arrise.
Inter distribution fighting ... i think it's cute. In the end, what it truely boils down to is NOT the brand name on the cd's it's what version on the vital components (vital to you) and what format the software comes in. Gnome or KDE or Enlightenment or iceWM who cares, it's what's under the hood that matters, and that's the kernel,
Like i said before in an alternative thread, if we all used the standard tools linux would become a mainstream thing, because the standard tools would advance, rather than SuSE focusing on say SAX, RedHat on XConfigurator and Mandrake on XFDrake (though they aren't really focusing on anything except their bankruptcy issues last i checked). If it unified where it mattes, namely the base packages, Linux as a desktop environment for ... "mere mortals" would be viable, in the meantime, if someone asks "how do i setup GUI thingy" what do we think? KDE, gnome? xf86config? /etc/inittab they all link together, because nothing is certain. I'm not saying get rid of the tools we have, but lets code a shellscript (or something else) that is the beall and endall of setting up the GUI on this kernel...
The question arises "can it be done?" Maybe a co-ordinated sourceforge.net project might do it...
I'm a RHCE, so perhaps I'm biased towards Red Hat, having spent so much time working on it. But it is very consistent to administer.
Slackware is a joy, although I'm not a fan of the BSD style init. But it sure packs a lot on a single ISO image, and it installs and runs in less than 16M RAM. I know. Someone gave me an old machine to play with. Not enough memory for Red Hat. Slackware had no trouble.
Like one of the other posts said, its mostly whats under the hood that matters. Yet certain distros like Ubuntu which I am using in my laptop make life very difficult with little things like
a) Not including certain packages by default (as has been commented upon in distrowatch too) like gcc.
b) Multimedia: ripping mp3s. Ripping is extremeley non-trivial.
c) Their ridiculous sudo which will have to be replaced bysudo su anyway later when one wants to tweak.
However, I would still use Ubuntu for my laptop because it detects all my hardware well and getting packages is easy. In a desktop, I would perhaps go for Fedora or Slackware. The latter is a joy in that it doesn't get in your way and its pretty intuitive to edit config files in it. Fedora is a great distro for users who want to get work done. Except for some initial multimedia issues, it is fully furnished with tools to start using it: programming tools are all there.