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Hint: Check the " Distribution:" option in the user info under everyone's login name. Many people have taken the trouble to fill this out.
and what makes it so great?
This is where it get's tricky. What is very useful for one person may be total cr** to another.
If you are new, check other "wich distro" threads for good newbie distro (usually (in no particular order) Mandrake, Suse, Red Hat. Plus some Slack rules, Debian rules, Gentoo rules, etc...)
Some people say why ask which distro, while others ask why not.
I'll let you know what helped me:
From what I've noticed Mandrake is best for newbies. I personally have Unix experience so I'm going with Red Hat. I heard Red Hat has gotten really good though, so either should be fine for you. I also chose Red Hat because of it's popularity in the business sector. It is important for me to start on Red Hat because the experience may be job security later on the line.
I believe you should chose Mandrake. And that is not because I use it- I have read several reviews from newbies and experienced people and they all said Mandrake was well documented and supported.
Linux is Linux, but at least one of the above two will probably be your best choices.
Instead of asking us what is the we like, spend a few minutes asking youself what you want to do.
What I mean is, do you want Linux to (mostly) set itself up for you or do you want to set it up yourself and read lots of techical documents written by engineering types who are literate only in a narrow sense?
Is your computer fairly late model, or does it have trouble running Win3.1?
Are you a programmer? Do you hope to run games?
Are you looking for a distro with lots of software (most of which you may never use), or the bare minimum to get you going?
Distribution: Redhat v8.0 (soon to be Fedora? or maybe I will just go back to Slackware)
I started with Slackware. Its not the best for newb's, but it is tight and stable and the community around it is really great. HOWEVER... when I began commercially supporting Linux... I got all of ZERO calls on Slackware. 99% of the calls we get are for Red Hat and we get a few SuSE ones as well. For that reason, I decided to go strictly with Red Hat and learn it inside and out. That has helped me greatly in my job.
I still long for the small sense of community that came with Slackware and just the feel it had, but I am pretty happy with Red Hat.
As someone else mentioned... the version you will be most happy with will greatly depend on what you want to do with it. I think Red Hat, SuSE (United Linux), and Debian are your best long term options. Those 3 are by far the dominate players in North America and Europe. Other global regions will have variations like Connectiva and Turbolinux.
Mandrake, IMHO, is basically Red Hat with an improved GUI and desktop. They do a nice job improving on Red Hat, but they have some serious financial problems so don't expect them to be around forever.
Slackware is a great little distro... it was actually the very FIRST Linux distro. It will never go away, but its a niche player. Give it some consideration.
You can probably find about 100 other distros you can download and play with, and I recommend you do that as much as you can stand. In the end... remember... its all Linux (except for those bastards at Caldera.)