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Everyone of us has his favorites. I started with Slackware and it is still one of my favorites; it doesn't hold your hand and it expects you to RTFM, but, when you get it installed with the full install selection, you have a fully working system. Slackware and Debian remain my favorite distros.
I would suggest you download and burn some Live CDs of various distros, boot to them, then install the one that you feel comfortable with and stick with it for a while.
There will be a learning curve, because Linux is different from Windows--do not it expect it to work like Windows on the inside. Not harder, just different.
If you want to learn about the core of Linux, build a Gentoo machine five times in a row, each time with different config. Get everything working you can, sound, wireless, 3d, etc... trial by fire and may never stop compiling, but you'll come out of it well off. Also, try to get some server level apps going, nfs, ldap, heartbeat, etc... That will really make it a learning xp.
I still fall back to Debian or Slack. If you are just going for "install and fool around as a Windows replacement," you already mentioned the easiest.
OpenSUSE and RHEL are overall easy to use, but they tend somewhat toward the corporate world.
Distribution: Fedora14,Scientific 6.1?, Mandriva 2010 ;GO MAGEIA!!!Next up Gentoo
Another vote for Mandriva/Mangeia
Mandriva/Mageia has MCC and DrakeTools and usually a root account native. The docs for basic use are very decent. For a beginner there is no Linux competition to MCC and DrakeTools.
Fedora is best for an intermediate user that desires the biggest repository. Mandriva's repos usually have everything major you could want. Fedora's Package installer graphic front-end is not as good as Madriva's.
Both Mandriva's and Fedora's Package Managers are cumbersome to get going but work well after a short time so don't get discouraged early on.
Last edited by theKbStockpiler; 10-14-2011 at 01:56 PM.
Having been in your shoes a few months ago I ended up going with Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS. That said, and what Ansuer touched on, is that you should really provide us with a bit more info.
First, what are you looking to do with Linux, are you looking for a workstation with a GUI similar to Windows, or are you looking to run a Server? Also, what is your goal in the level of understanding you want to achieve? Are you doing this as a learning project, or are you doing it for some kind of practical reasons. If you are looking to use Linux for regular desktop use, I'm not surprised that you've had issues with Ubuntu as their latest interface is widely regarded as complete garbage. It's a step in a different direction and a sound idea, but the implementation is just abysmal.
In short, tell us WHAT you are looking to do with Linux, and WHY you want to switch from Windows. This should allow us to steer you in the right direction.
After having crashed and burned with Ubuntu as a desktop platform I would suggest Linux Mint first, and if that doesn't work out, go with Fedora or Mandriva.
I want to learn about linux, because, mostly I know ALOT about windows... I can fix my neighbor's Windows PCs and stuff... I think i might try Mint 10 KDE or Kubuntu... Would Kubuntu have the same bugs Ubuntu has?