Here's my file on distributions.
My opinion - others may not agree.
Hope it helps.
Here's my quick view of linux distributions.
However, do recognize that I runs Xandros, and in
the past, I ran Mandrake and Lycoris. I also used
Knoppix, Danix, and LiveCDdefender, all portable
CD distributions, briefly (to investigate a
problem with my wireless card). My comments on
linux distributions are what I observe, but did
not neccessarily used.
RedHat & Fedora
known for server, but starting to enter the
known for server. Has some progress in the
known for desktop. Helpful if the user knows
known for desktop. Very easy to use by
known for desktop. Very easy to use by beginners.
However, it is not suitable for advanced users,
i.e., old libraries (can't do geeky stuffs). I
recommend Xandros before Lycoris.
known for desktop. It is bad security practice
to run as root. If you're going to take the
trouble to learn linux, you might as weel have its
better security. Avoid Lindow.
used by geeks. Known to be rock-stable. There
is no rush to fulfill commercial means, so a new
distribution comes out when it is ready and no
earlier. Also known for server.
used by true geeks. Like debian except no GUI
(i.e., window interfaces).
known for bootable CD
known for bootable CD
There are hundreds of other linux distributions.
I think I covered the bigger ones.
There is no one "best" linux distribution. You have
to decide what are you using it for, i.e., desktop,
server, or both.
If you want to test drive without installing linux,
go for CD bootable distribution like Knoppix, Mepis,
Mandrake Move, DaniX, LiveCDDefender, etc (Knoppix
or Mepis seem to be the big two).
I like Xandros, but then, I only do simple stuffs
and some programming (complex, but can do because
Xandros is Debian-based). Also, I do no server
You may wish to slowly transite from Window to
Linux by learning softwares that run on both
operating systems. I.e., learn
OpenOffice (word processor)
Mozilla (web browser and email)
Firefox (web browser)
Opera (web browser)
I use Mozilla for both web browsing and email because
Firefox and Thunderbird have not reached a stable
version as of early 2004 (i.e., stable version >= 1.0).
However, Mozilla will be discontinued in the distant
future and replaced by Firefox and Thunderbird.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of linux games. Also,
many software has not been ported from Window to Linux.
Again, think about what you need before shifting.