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Trying to decide between Mandrake, Gentoo, and Debian.
It appears Gentoo is geared more for gaming?
It appears that Mandrake is the easiest to use, but requires signing up for mandrake online (a pay service) to get updates?
It appears that Debian gives free updates, but is a nightmare to install.
I am confused and curious to any opinions that you may have that will help clear up my decision.
I am new to linux, DSlinux got me interested but I want a full fledged version for my secondary harddrive. I have a degree in computer science and have been using computers for 15+ years. I want to see what linux is all about. I want to play games like ut2004 and others. I want to see if it is a viable alternative to the growing distrust I have in microsoft.
If you want to play games stick with windows. If you think you're hard enough try Debian Sarge (Woody is well past it's sell by date...) but really, try Mandrake. It's free to download. It's your choice.
You don't have to sign up to a pay service to get Mandrake updates - they're readily available for free through easyurpmi; http://easyurpmi.zarb.org/
As for your decision on which distro to use...
Well, that's entirely up to you. The distro's you mentioned all have advantages disadvantages. Why not try them all and stick with the one you like the most, because they all do pretty much the same thing, they just do it differently, that's all.