For all the newbies out there:
I use Linux Mandrake 10 Community, at the moment until i get Official posted to me. Here is my take on the whole "easy/hard" linux distro situation.
Mandrake 10 Official: Very Easy to install, cutting edge hardware detection
This is useful if you are new as newbies often find it
hard to install drivers. Programs are relatively easy to
install with URPMI (Mandrake Installer). Nice interface
ALSO remember to get OFFICIAL not COMMUNITY as
the community has some bugs which will frustrate
newbies as they will not know if it is something they
are doing is wrong, or a bug.
RedHat 9 / Fedora: I have only used Redhat 8 so things may have greatly
improved since then, but it is quite easy to install and
user friendly but user interface is a bit lacking.
However RedHat is very good though, Mandrake comes
from RedHat originally
SuSe : Haven't actually used it so i can't comment, but very
good I hear.
Gentoo :Seriously don't even bother if you are a newbie, I
mean this OS is seriously powerful, and easy to use
once installed, but unless you are a newbie with an
Advanced degree in Quantum Physics 101, the installation
is really gonna have you baffled. Apart from that this is
what you migrate to once you have mastered Mandrake
Slackware :Bland interface, not a bad one, but for ex Windows XP
users, the eye candy is just not there, unless you
want to spend hours tweaking it to hell.
Debian : I hear good things but as far as i know it's not for
beginners, I haven't used it.
There are other ones out there but these are the main ones, anyways.
Mandrake is good and I would recommend it as it is virtually no command line initially, so you can get your ways around the GUI and feel comfortable until you master that then slowly you can jump on the command line, when you wanna hook up your iPod and Bluetooth etc...
But this is THE CHOICE for NEWBIES.
Mandrake 9/9.2 was nice, but they have really improved and gotten it right in 10, when i was using 9.2 I wanted to go back to RedHat, but they have performed with 10 Official.
A final word of advice, if you are trying to convert to Linux from WinblowsXP/2K/etc, STICK with Linux for at least 3 weeks consistantly without using Windows, this will "force" you to learn, jump on google and search for your answers to Samba/Drivers/Installing programs/command line/etc or this sit, which is [B]very[B/] helpful. Because it will take you 2-3 weeks at least before you will understand what linux can do, you may be confused with program names like khexedit or libpng2ico at first, but slowly you will understand all your good programs.
If you are starting out here are some very good "Windows to Linux Conversion Programs"
Image Viewing - GQview, so far the best i've seen
CD Burning - k3b , choice! With a good interface
play Mp3 - XMMS, although sometimes buddy
- Totem Movie Player is better, limited but it works!
rip mp3 from CD - grip, the best one yet probably
play midi files - kmidi
zip archives - ark (comes with Mandrake)
Microsoft Office - OpenOffice (Does everything Microsoft does and FREE
Good luck to all Newbies.........