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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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duh, i didnt say what kind of student, haha...for a computer student. im very new to linux and need a distro that doesn't really require much nohow. I'll learn the OS over time, but want to have an OS that works out of the box. hope this makes sense. thanks again for the help.
Distribution: Ubuntu, Debian, Various using VMWare
There are several distros that I would recommend for a CS student. Slackware has a minimum of GUI config tools, so you need to learn how your system works. Slackware has a very steep learning curve. Slackware's package management is very basic - it has no dependency checking.
Debian is also a good distro. It's stable version is getting a bit old for desktop use now, so I would suggest the Testing version. It has an excellent package manager, and is good for use by new-ish users and advanced users.
Since you are new to Linux, I suggest Fedora, or Ubuntu (based on Debian). Both work reasonably well out of the box, but you can still learn how your system works. Ubuntu has a reputation as being for newbies, but I feel that it is good for advanced uses as well. Install one of these, but try Slackware when you get to know Linux better.
On a side not, whatever you choose, make a dedicated partition for /home. This way, if you want to change distros, you won't lose your documents.
I hope this helps
EDIT: See the link in my signature for a few reviews based on my experiences.