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Since my last post I've had a horrid time out of WinXP. The "required" service pack failed to download and install correctly which led to a myriad of crashes, program failures and corrupted downloads. My decision to install a version of Linux is the correct one, of that I am completely sure.
I reformatted the hard drive on my desktop PC. Now I have ventured to the university where a high speed download can be accomplished via my laptop, the only computer I have that will continue to run Windows in any way, shape, or form for the immediate future.
Downloads of several platforms are proceeding at a lovely pace. I expect within a few hours to have four or five versions to try out. Wish me the best, I'm determined to succeed!
Also wanted to thank everyone for their continued support, information, and kindness. This is what is sorely lacking in the Windows community.
If migration, for that box, is the issue, you have to look forward to the most complete and easy to understand distro available; I have to agree with Liefmans and Cam29: Kubuntu 6.10 (on DVD, please), try downloading these two:
then run "md5sum --check MD5SUMS" (if you are on a windows, download md5sum.exe an run it on the same dir where MD5SUMS and the .iso are), and burn the ISO image to DVD. Then comes actual migration ;-)
I have never tried xandros.
My vote goes for xubuntu http://www.xubuntu.org/
It's ubuntu, optimized for slow pc's. (With Xfce Window manager instead of the gnome-desktop)
You can however install gnome, kde, or whatever you want.
Ubuntu (Kubuntu, Xubuntu - it's basically the same thing) is very well maintained, and very easy to get started with. And they have a huge and very helpful user-community.
Whatever you are trying to do, there ought to be a very easy and straight-foreward howto. That's what I like best about it.
I don't know a ton about linux, and which one offers what, but if you want, what are you basically hoping to acheive on a linux system? Maybe with that, someone can give you an idea of what system is right for you.
To me, I don't know much, and Mandriva is nice. To someone else, a different system might be better.
In fact, I may even try some of the ones these guys are suggesting.