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This has been asked many times, and there's no definitive answer. I'm all for Mandrake, even though I have to admit I haven't tried either Red Hat/Fedora or Suse. My first installation of Mandrake 9.2 (without a hint of knowledge about Linux) took a full fifteen minutes and everything worked right away. Couldn't be easier (I actually had to do way more work whenever I installed WinXP). Still, I would suggest reading up on Linux a bit, particularly about filesystems and hard-drive partitioning and doing at least that part manually, if nothing else.
Slackware 9.1 -- as easy as stealing a candy from a baby!
PLEASE do not tell a noob that slackware 9.1 is "easy" or even hint that it is "noob friendly" because it is not. It is for "SEASONED LINUX VETERANS" as the website will tell you.
The thread is from someone who has 3 posts and obvously wants to find a noob friendly distro. The poor guy's eyes will probably come out of his head if he installed slack since he wouldn't have a clue what to do.
Slackware is for people who really know what they're doing with the command line, not noobs.
I started with Mandrake (7.2 I believe). That lasted about a week. From what I've read here on LQ, I tend to believe that Mandrake has made some vast improvements in the user friendly department....that or I had that one lone rogue copy that wanted to be a rebel.
I've tried other flavors, but after trying Redhat, I stuck with it. I'm running Fedora Core 1 now, and like it a lot. Everyone has an opinion, and if you were to ask mine, it would be to try several flavors out and see what you like.
I wouldn't suggest Fedora right off the bat as it is more of a sponsored project rather than a supported distro. Mandrake 10, Redhat 9.0...something like that where you can still get some support (although I heard today is the end of support on RH9.0) might be the way to go until you get a feel for Linux.