Hi, I myself have been using linux for 3-4 years. I migrated from Windows, and started with completely blank pages - knowledgewise. I have been installing, testing and using ALOT of different linux distributions
. I've found that there's quite a bit of differences, when it comes to user-friendliness, tweakability (for new users - not "guru's"), software-handling, hardware-compatibility, and so on.
In my own experience, starting with Linux for the first time, I would HIGHLY recommend the following (in this order
PCLinuxOS (i.m.h.o. maybe the "best" allround system for a new linuxuser)
It starts directly from CD first. When started up - then you have the option to install it to harddisk (if you want). It comes with multimedia-support already installed (so you can play mp3 or DVD immediately). Most linux distros don't have this ready installed - you have to install the right codecs and sofware yourself. It also comes with OpenOffice ver. 2.x.x (don't know exact version) - as an Microsoft Office alternative.2)
FreeSpire - one of only two debian based distros I liked (my personal taste, of course).
OpenSuse or Mepis
Personally, and I mean personally - I've never liked the debian-based distros - except for FreeSpire and Mepis. Generally, I wouldn't recommend Debian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Gentoo, Slackware and Fedora as a newbie.....
Today, I'm using Fedora - the music-production version from PlanetCCRMA, and I'm happy with it.... but this is not a recommended place (distribution) for a linux newbie to start.