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Hi, I've been using ubuntu for a couple of years now (since 9.10 to be exact) and I was never thrilled with it but I liked it better than windows so I dual boot(ed) them. Now with natty and the new unity desktop, I'm just not a fan any more. I want to switch to a different distro but I honestly don't know much about the others as ubuntu is the only one that I have used. I know some people may say that I could just switch desktop environments which I have done (I installed kde which I like but reminds me a lot of the windows 7 taskbar) but I want to switch to a new distro. I have been looking into other distros but I'm not sure how to choose a new one. I have been looking at opensuse and fedora the most but I'm also interested in the new fork of mandriva, Mageia. I am grateful for any suggestions of which distro (which I realise the opinion is subjective) I should try and/or how I can narrow done all of my choices in the wonderful Linux community.
Simple as that: All the distros you mentioned have Live-CDs/DVDs. Just try the to get a first look. If you like one or two, install them to a VM, like Virtualbox, so that you can try them without the need of repartitioning.
I started with Ubuntu 6.06, installed 8.04 when it was released, then 10.04. Like you, I became more and more dissatisfied with it. To me, it was becoming Canonical Windows- bulky, buggy, and constantly moving menu items. I tried a few live CDs before finally deciding on PuppyLinux 5.2.5. Quite frankly, it's perfect for me- a stable, light-weight, user-friendly interface between me and my PC, which is all an OS needs to be. But, for an added bonus, not only does it have its own repository, but you can also select to install software packages from the repos of several other distros through Puppy's package manager. I realize no single distro is for everyone, but you might want to give Puppy a try.
My 2 cents... There are so many different distros you could be looking onto.
Starting from Debian, which is very close to Ubuntu in ideology. Then look at Fedora. Puppy was also pointed just above. Have a peek at Pardus.