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There are huge long-running threads here on LQ on this
If you have a look at the Download Linux link in the main menu here on LQ you'll see some lists. Of the top 5 of the most popular there, you should discount Redhat as it is not stricktly free and is mostly for corportate users. Fedora is the distro supported by Redhat. Similarly, Suse's is called openSuse. So in addition to those 2, also consider Ubuntu and Mandriva.
Bit surprised Mandriva is top of the list actually. But, they are a old solid distro like the other top 5, so its up to you.
Many people end up trying a few in the beginning before they settle on one. Some people never settle on one. There are hundres of distros to choose from.
If you want to start linux then I think Ubuntu will be the best option. Once you get familiar with environment then switch to RHEL.
Installing linux is a bit tricky so be focused on the process during installation as it is not like windows.
Buy some IT magazine on a newsstand that has a LiveCD contained, then use whatever Linux distro is on it.
If you have no previous Linux experience, then it will unusual to you, no matter what distro you use. To make a reasonable suggestion in regard of distributions you should rather state what of kind of hardware you want Linux to run on or what you intend to use it for. Those parameters are more likely to allow for a more focused list of choices.
Or check out distrowatch.org to find what you are looking for.
i would go with Ubuntu , it is targeted at the NEW user making the switch from Microsoft .
Something like Fedora 10 I would NOT recommend for the very new user . Fedora often will require some "fixing" to get it to install and work .
with RHEL 5.3 you will need to BUILD most of the software, one wants to install , from the source code . This can be VERY difficult ( at times) for even the experienced coder . Or to say the least very time consuming to do and near imposable for someone who has NEVER used the terminal ( moving from xp / vista) .
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned PCLinuxOS; absolute newbies need to be able to play their media "out of the box", and PCLinuxOS does this even more simply than Ubuntu. It also uses KDE by default rather than GNOME, and this is usually a little friendlier for someone accustomed to Windows, and you can almost always assume that a Linux newbie is going to be either and ex- or current Windows user out of sheer probability.