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I have done all of those things with Mandriva, Fedora Core 4, Slackware, SuSE ... I'd say nearly any of the most popular distros will do all those things. You can configure them to look practically any way you want.
well my exopericnce with Ubuntu is that is is riddled with corrupt ISo images and thrforte allmost impossable to install.... allthouygh from using a live CD it douse seem to be quite user freindly
i have also used slackware 9.1 and though i got a grub error 17 teh first time it installed i coudl use a boot disk to get in and i loved it...
however i reinstalled to try and fix the grub error as tehre was no grub.conf file at all and now i cant even boot, same error but my new bootdisk jsut says boot failed
am now downloading slackware 10.2 (takes ages even with 512k dsl)
so im stuck with writing tis on my windows box at the moment... (which has an alarmingly high crash rate)
ubuntu can do everything listed but gnome is default the others are in synaptic package manager if you perfer kde than if ubuntu is what ur looking for but with kde than i would go with kubuntu or just apt-get install kubuntu desk-top
I've used nix for various servers in the past but just migrated my primary system to slackware 10.2 and its.... awesome!! I now wonder why it took me so long to migrate. Anyways, slack should be able to do all those things you need although it *may* require a bit of a learning curve to get things working exactly the way you want. I've tried x other distros and so far slack seems to be the most stable and it is reasonable to get things going.
I love Ubuntu, but it doesn't let you browse NTFS partitions out-of-the-box. You have to follow these instructions first, which is actually not that difficult.
What you may be looking for is Mepis. It does all of those things out-of-the-box, and it's super easy to use. It's Knoppix-based, but it's designed for desktop installation (whereas Knoppix is designed as a live CD primarily, although it can be installed, too).
I couldn't boot MEPIS, it just gave me a Grub> command line where nothing works except reboot.
The SUSE installation dvd couldn't mount the dvd although it could boot and read from it.
The distros I have tried are
Fedora Core 4
That's quite a list.
May I make a suggestion? I happen to think Mepis is a great distro for newbies, but I don't really care what you use, as long as it works for you.
Sometimes, it's a good thing to try a bunch of distros to see what works for you.
At a certain point, though--maybe now--you just have to say, "Hey, this distro here almost works right out-of-the-box. Let me see if I can tweak it a bit to get it to work." Most people have the opposite problem (they're so tied to one distro that absolutely will not work with their hardware that they can't see that trying another distro might solve all the problems they're working so hard on), but I'd say for you, stick with one distro and just tough it out.
Ask your questions. Google. Get your problems solved. Learn to really use the OS, not just install it.