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You have a pretty capable system, and I assume you have several GB of disk space to spare. I would suggest you install VirtualBox, then download several ISO's and install them on virtual machines. It will give you some idea of what the installation, setup, and work environment is like without hosing your existing system.
I too suggest Ubuntu as a start point, but I also suggest once you're use to it, use DistroWatch.com to investigate other distros. Don't be afraid to try new ones. Ubuntu is good for the new user, but once you know it, to learn more, you'll have to change. At that point, my suggestions are Debian if you want something similar to Ubuntu, Slackware if you don't mind, and if you have a lot of patience, Gentoo.
I know how to use a search engine. All I get is run around concerning Linux. And still no answer for the 64 bit question!
Well, from your previous thread back in 2004, you said you gave up, and went back to XP. And today, you said Windows is the greatest, Linux sucks.
Linux IS NOT Windows. To look for a distro that is identical to Windows, is pointless. You want to duplicate functionality, and the different apps are going to look and run differently. Same thing if you were going from Windows to Mac...it's not that it's HARD, it's that you don't know what to look for, where. And it doesn't seem like you're willing to work through a learning curve for anything, based on your other posts. If you want to complain about how 'hard' it is to play DVD's and MP3's, write to Microsoft....the DRM crap they want to shove down peoples throats, and the $$$ they flung at the MPAA and RIAA, is the reason only 'approved' players can play it. That's why it doesn't ship WITH Linux distros, but it certainly isn't hard to find or install.
I've got openSUSE installed and running on my laptop (Sony Vaio), in under an hour. After a quick search on their site, a one-click install took care of all the MP3/DVD/etc., codecs, players, and everything. All hardware worked right off the bat.
I also vote for Ubuntu as starting experience: installing new software is easy, there's a lot of "community support", I think it's user friendly (but maybe I'm biased), the 64-bit version is available.
Hi. We're glad Linux is finally worth your attention, for obvious reasons. If I understand correctly you would like a Linux distribution which is basically Windows 7 except harder, better, faster, stronger? Is it ok if it costs money or do you need/want something that is free of charge?
I'm very wary of Ubuntu since they started including Beta software by default. I think it's a huge mistake to give newbies Beta software, especially if it is known to give even experienced Linux users headaches.
Newbies need something that is thoroughly and widely tested and rock-stable, with plenty of support. Debian Stable comes to mind, as does the wonderful, newbie-friendly Mepis Linux that is built on the solid bedrock of Debian Stable.
It's always my distro of choice for introducing newcomers to Linux.