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I'm new here I have been messing with Linux for months now Opensuse, Kbuntu, Ubuntu,. I still can't really decide which I like -- or are they all the same?. I'm looking for something that comes with a ton of precompiled apps (not ready to mess with compiling yet, but would like it as an option if I want to compile a source). I want a distro that is still actively in development.
I have been a Windows user for about 10yrs now (since the 3.1 days) I'm just ready to get my feet wet in something new.
All of the distros you name would, I think, meet your basic requirements (lots of software available for easy installation from the repositories, and in active development). None of them will be at the "bleeding edge", so the packages will often not be the latest versions, but they will be pretty stable.
I wouldn't say the distros are the same - there are differences in "user experience" (Linus Torvalds insists on the KDE desktop, I'm quite happy with Gnome) and philosophy (Ubuntu has "mass appeal", Debian is for purists, OpenSuse for those who are not concerned about the deal with Microsoft). However, trying different distros costs nothing but time, and in the end the best distro is the one you feel most comfortable with.
Although I have played around with Linux since the Slackware 3 days, I found that the fastest progress occurred when I stayed with one distribution and just kept learning about it. In other words, after you find something that you like better than the others, just stick with it. Distribution hopping is OK for some of us, but it is not the best way to learn.
I'm new here I have been messing with Linux for months now Opensuse, Kbuntu, Ubuntu,
Then I would expect you've already tried both KDE and some other desktop such as Gnome. Personally, I think KDE is by far the best. But obviously others disagree.
If you have formed an opinion on desktop, you may be better off with a distribution in which the maintainers of the distribution are using the same desktop you are using.
I'm using Mepis (which I really like). The default desktop is KDE. Gnome should work as well, but when I wanted to try Gnome, I ran into some (temporary and now gone) dependency glitches. That's a LOT less likely with the desktop the distribution maintainers are using.
I'm looking for something that comes with a ton of precompiled apps
Mepis and the Ubuntu variants can use Debian repositories (I'm not sure about other distributions you're considering). Any distribution with fallback to a major repository, such as Debian, gives you that ton of precompiled apps. So with Mepis or Ubuntu, you get the benefits of Debian without some of the drawbacks (Debian maintainers tend to be super rigid about the legalities of open source, sometimes beyond any practical purpose, and sometimes the users suffer. Distributions based on Debian may insulate their users from the worst of that).
So with Mepis or Ubuntu, you get the benefits of Debian without some of the drawbacks (Debian maintainers tend to be super rigid about the legalities of open source, sometimes beyond any practical purpose, and sometimes the users suffer. Distributions based on Debian may insulate their users from the worst of that)
I expect you have enough Linux experience that little details that could be stumbling blocks to a beginner are too trivial for you to even notice.
I'm sure if you want a few non open source drivers or packages, you have no trouble getting them, despite the lack of help from the distribution.
When I was using Debian (before switching to Mepis) I couldn't convince my children that the browser (Iceweasel I think) was as good as FireFox (yes, I do understand what that implies about my parenting skills). I should have known how to get FireFox or how to make Iceweasel to call itself FireFox. But I was as Linux ignorant as much of the Mepis Target audience.
I have read online about a few other little glitches caused by Debian strict interpretation of open source rules, but I never hit those myself, so I have no clue about the details or validity of the issues.
I use Debian on my Eee, and I do like it. However, if it had been my first installation experience, I may have just given up on Linux there and then. Not that the installation went badly, but at the end of it I was left at the command line and had to install Gnome using apt-get. Certainly not as welcoming to newbies as Ubuntu!