Might give Mepis a try ... It was designed to be user friendly. I think you can chage the bootsplash, I am not at home or I would try it. Go to www.mepislovers.org
and ask, I am sure they could tell you. Also it uses Deb instead of Rpm and it comes with pretty much everything you could ever want.
But also has lots of utilities including two package mangagers, kpackage and Synaptic.
Might be what your looking for.