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I think either Mandrake 9.0 or 9.1 would be easiest for any decent linux system (one of the those god awful windows clones has a default of passwordless root login iirc!) The power pack versions of Mandrake comes with more pre-configured, eg nice fonts and graphics card drivers, as well as more support and many almost but not quite free programs
Try Mandrake Linux 9.1. It installed like a dream on my Thinkpad 600X. I have had no issues with it yet. Like you, I had trouble with older versions of the software, notably both Mandrake Linux 5 and later Redhat 7.1. The distributors continue to improve their install processes and stability.
I bought CD's from edmunds enterprises for $7 (not bad to avoid having to download the CDs and burn them myself - a time saver (and bandwidth)).
FYI, I am only a "power user", not a "bit head" technical person. I too am seeking a STABLE OS (inclusing the GUI - and KDE 3.1 is pretty good) which is also easy to use.
The biggest thing is the learning curve - common tasks are done slightly differently in Linux than in Windows.
finger51, couldnt agree more. We are switching from M$ to Linux because of M$s Big Brother tactics and because we have always wondered about Linux. Now that we have used Linux we would not go back, its that good. But Windows is very easy to setup and use. Because 99% of the software out there is Windows we can find thousands of easy to install software titles. When we installed our first XP Pro system some software/hardware needed drivers. We went to the manf. site found the drivers downloaded at 56k in about 5 mins, burned to 3.5 for future use, clicked on 3.5 floppy and clicked install .exe file and automatic install.
If you tried that on Linux you would would need 5 hours. Right now we are trying to get our modem working on Redhat 9 and it is a major undertaking. Linux is infinitley more configurable than Windows, however that ability is daunting for newcommers.
I agree with someone here who said that they would set their mother down in front of an XP machine before a Linux machine. I would too unless they were both configured.
When new commers are more familiar with Linux I think they would choose to use Linux over M$, but not at first.
It took about 40 mins to load RH 9 and thats about what it takes to load XP, however with the Linux OS you are guaranteed rights and with M$ you are guaranteed to have no rights. Thats a big difference, and its big enough to stick with it until it done.
Wraith, I cant say for sure on 8or9, however from all I have talked to, RH 9 is an improvement over 8 mostly in the GUI dept.
At the moment we are trying to sort out a problem with RH9 and getting the modem to work. We have been at it for a week with no luck. We posted on this forum in an attempt to solve the problem.
If you really want an easy and fun experience with Linux buy Lindows 3.0 or Xandros 1.0. Both are stable and good looking. Lindows is easier and has cliknrun if you purchase the members copy for about $100 us.