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I imagine you'll get alot of varying answers here on which distro.
I personally use Fedora Core, easy to install, easy to configure and get going, good support. Can have both Gnome or KDE which look ok.
I'm not saying use fedora, i'm saying fedora works for me, and you should find the one that works for you, get a handful of the most popular/friendly distros (SUSE,Redhat/Fedora/Mandrake to name a few) give them a try and see which (if any) you like.
Research is always good though, choosing a distro is more than which is the 'coolest', hardware is a big factor, some distros are better at supporting wifi etc. for examplesome distros still don't have 64 bit versisons of their distros.. You need to make a list of your needs and find the distro that best matches them.
The looks are pretty independent of the distro itself, full blown desktop environments and window managers are not distro specific (although easy to install packages such as RPMs are more readily available for some distros). They can be installed and configured to your liking.
I realise you're probably feeling a little confused and bewildered by the options of which distro, but my advice is give a few different ones a go, see which you do/don't like. You've already found the place if you need help installing/configuring (akso a good tip would be to check the distro specific forums here and see of any problems you yourself may encounter and if they are resolvable.
Originally posted by ethics I realise you're probably feeling a little confused and bewildered by the options of which distro, but my advice is give a few different ones a go, see which you do/don't like.
Yeh, I'll do that. Just testing the water before I jump in.
I've actually tried a few distros (Redhat, Mandrake and Slackware in fact) in times past, and I've 'got the bug' again...or is that a bad turn of phrase? But this time, I want to dig deeper, get involved, learn and practise 'til I'm well versed in the ways of linux, or whatever OS it is I end up preferring overall.
If my favourite programs can be replaced altogether, I'll make the switch to 'Linux only', or 'BSD only' or... something like that.
Unless/until that happens, I'll dual-boot with XP Pro.
Would it help if I post some hardware specs and a software 'wish-list' too - well, it can't hurt right?
It's an old PC I guess: PIII 1GHz, 512 Ram, 64MB vid, 16-bit sound. It's also got a CD/DVD +/- R/RW/DL burner, an ethernet ADSL modem/4-port switch, over 200Gb of HD space (2 ATA drives), a USB scanner, USB printer, USB camera; pretty standard (mainly oldish) stuff really.
Um let's see, I use audio recording and editing software (like Cool Edit), filesharing (Shareaza), DVD backup (like AnyDVD, Nero, DVD Shrink etc.), video file modification/resizing/converting/splitting/joining etc. apps, strictly non-pro graphics manipulation tools (PSP 9 frex), lots of net stuff (but I'm sure linux can handle *that* perfectly well, probably better), Textpad (I'd wager linux has better), MS Word - and occasionally Excel - 2003 (what's the best replacement for these, btw - OpenOffice?), Acrobat Pro 7.0....that's probably the top list, more or less.