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Red Hat, SuSE and Mandrake are all relatively easy to install. The installation program for each does a good job of recognizing most hardware. In most cases you can just accept the default choices. By default they set Linux up to automatically boot up into a graphical point-and-click X-Windows interface such as Gnome or KDE.
Slackware is slightly more difficult to use. It does not recognize as much hardware automatically. It also requires more decisions on the part of the user during installations such as what kernel to use. By default after installation it leaves you at a command line interface without starting X-Windows for you. A sightly more experienced user may prefer how Slackware allows more controll of how things are set-up. So Slackware is a good distro but perhaps not tor a newbie. Of course there are many other distros that I have never tried.
For a total newb, Lycoris for sure. It's a freindly enough enviroment, and not cluttered with as much junk as the big distros. Plus, you only need to download one cd to get going....and their forums at www.lycoris.org are very good as well.
It's probably the best distro to get started with, and then, if you need all the other junk you can move on to the more complicated distros with some knowledge under your belt.
I would suggest either mandrake or lycoris. Mandrake have far better support should something go wrong than lycoris (just pop into #mandrake on freenode !) Lycoris will give you a recognisable desktop and detects hardware very well.
if you're experimenting with different distros - don't forget Knoppix. a really great project. you can run it from the live CD (nothing written to HDD), and there's a very simple script to do a HDD install later if you want.