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On my Inspiron 8200 I started with SuSE 7.1, and recently I have upgraded to SuSE 8.2. Compared to SuSE 7.1 the installation went really smooth.
I have chosen SuSE, because I have to maintain 4 computers, and it takes me less time when using SuSE (compared to Slackware and Red Hat). There are a couple of nice how-to's for the Inspiron 8200 on the web. (Some of them in German).
Linux runs better on my Inspiron than Windows (which was installed by Dell). Unfortunatly Dell has terminated the possibility to order computers with Red Hat as platform (perhaps Bill didn't want this???).
SuSE uses YAST (yet another setup tool) for tweaking the system. This is quite intuitive and easy to use. Of course, all hard-core geeks will say it is way better to edit the system files manually, but somehow this seems much faster.
On the inspiron, I could install SuSE 8.2 without any problems. I don't know why you don't like Red Hat, but SuSE installation, maintanance and use is quite straight-forward.
If you would like to try SuSE out, we should try to find a way you can get the iso's. I am willing to make them for you, and send them if you have access to an FTP server.