I think we are very fortunate that so many dedicated people are working at developing Linux. I am so glad that it exists. To me, the strategies adopted by the conglomerate which has the lion's share of the market are so ethically repugnant that it offended me to use its OS and I found its products mediocre at best. As for the other option, I did not want to get into the hardware cum software bind.
I paid to learn about Linux. I was pointed towards Mandriva as being relatively easy to install and friendly towards third party software. My teacher also pushed Gnome (partly at least, I later learned, for philosophical reasons) but I changed to KDE initially because one of its programmes did not work well on the Gnome desktop. I later discovered a couple of other very useful KDE programmes. When I later tried Gnome again, I found it to be primitive by comparison.
Unfortunately, distro versions have a short life span. You begin to discover that you cannot install new software on your old OS. I already had misgivings about Mandriva so I opted to install both Mandriva 2006 and SuSE 10 (for starters) on a new computer. I had so much trouble getting SuSE into reasonable working order that, for the time being at least, I just cannot face working at it any longer.
So, I'm still with Mandriva. Even more misgivings, though - the old problems are still there and now there are some additional ones as well. I must say, though, that it serves pretty well. I had no major problems on my old computer and have no major problems on the new one.
I tried Kubuntu. It could not get my monitor settings right (it's the only OS installer which has had that problem) and I discovered it lacks some elementary tools like Midnight Commander. I was told by enthusiasts that I should have installed Ubuntu first and added KDE. Ubuntu's makers claim it's a one-cd installation. That's rot. It's a one-cd plus internet repositories installation. I did not want to mess about like that especially because at that time I was using a dialup connection.
I'm not sure where to go next. I like the sound of Debian, Gentoo and Slackware but I get the impression that they are elitist and deliberately shrouded in mystery. Which brings me to this quote from Operator23:
I've got a simple guide to some command-line basics.
Please, can we have a link to it?