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hmm....I don't consider myself to be quite the newbie I was a year ago, but I'm still new. The more I hear, the more it sounds like I should give slackware a try. Apart from Red Hat, it was one of the first distro's I was familiar with (although I never got it working).
Wow. I thought this thread died a long time ago. Well, it has been a while since I wrote that last comment, and I am happy to say that I made my decision: Gentoo Linux. Not exactly a newbie distro, but flexible, powerful, and extremely well documented. I never did try Slackware, and I had bad luck with Ubuntu. I don't feel qualified to tell you much about the architectural differences between Fedora Core and Ubuntu, but I can at least highlight a major difference:
Fedora Core manages software using the RPM package manager, while Ubuntu uses Debian's APT package manager. I haven't used Fedora Core in so long I couldn't really tell you much beyond this, but I do know that Ubuntu is pretty well ready to roll (as far as most new Linux users are concerned) out of the box, while Fedora Core requires some fiddling. You can find details about RPM and APT here (articles linked are from wikipedia):
you are asking a difficult question here as everyone has their Preferences. To find A Linux distro that is right for you I would suggest the Linux distro Chooser, it askes you a series of questions then comes up with a Linux distro suited to you
This is the distro I use and recommend, Why because it works right out of the box. No need to configure Everything, everything just works. It also comes as a 1 CD install that is a live CD that you can install later if you wish.
I think there's a lot more to it than just the X server. A distribution only becomes "friendly" once it's relatively easy to use (for most people this means big friendly menus with lots of checkboxes and radio buttons), and includes drivers for most common hardware. An easy to understand package management system doesn't hurt either. I think the hardest thing for n00bs (at least it was for me) is tracking down drivers and installing them. It doesn't seem like such an issue now, but it was hard at first. In a nutshell: there's much more to it than just X.
Hey, been keen at it since my last post in this thread and have found ubuntu to be nice both as Kubunto(desktop/server) and Xubuntu(old 500mhz Dell laptop). The live CD install is easy and tidy on both leaving a tidy install on both machines. Everything works really well except the wireless!
One gripe is the poor dev support with kubuntu 6.06. I want to install open-xchange and have found the java-dev kits to be a nightmare with broken dependancies all over the shop etc. Not sure if this is my fault or not.
I think Ive found my horse - if I can get the wireless working again!
shortname - recon your right. More to it than meets the eye you might say..
I'm glad to hear you like Ubuntu. Perhaps I should've given it a second chance: I installed OpenSuSE for a friend and now they can't get their printer working. I don't know if this would've been an issue under Ubuntu, I didn't try it.
Whatever the case, I maintain a fondness for Gentoo. It's the only distro that I've managed to keep running for 2+ years now with no issues I couldn't fix. :-)