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Even though Ark Linux is still in Alpha stage, it's an extremely powerful desktop nonetheless. It's a very good distro, especially for an alpha release, but it does have it's shortcomings. For example, there is no package selection during the install, so your hard drive gets loaded up. And the partitioning tool is less than powerful because it refuses to allow custom partitions. Most people won't miss these features, so it comes out to a good beginner distro. I wouldn't reccomend it to someone who has expirience in Slackware, for example. If you want to try linux, but are not sure what the man command does, this will be for you when the final release comes out. I look forward to this original and, somewhat refreshing distro.
I've used a lot of linux distributions including Slackware, Redhat, SuSE, Ark, Lindows, and Fedora, but Fedora tops the list as most comprehensve with the best base price (NOTHING, WOOHOO). I started out with Redhat about three years ago and was impressed with Bluecurve, it wasn't Windows, but it was clean, effective, and well laid out. I then tried SuSE because of all the wonderful reviews, UGH, it's terrible, it's so cluttered and GASP, I never liked YaST. Everything else had nothing equivalent of Bluecurve, so when I heard about Fedora, I just climbed aboard. I had heard it wasn't meant for the average user, but after Slackware, I was ready for anything. Fedora blew my mind, making it's mark in my mind even greater than in Redhat. I loved it's departure from the KDE and it's focus on it's own brand of Gnome, just like Redhat, and I loved the package manager that was so clean and well laid-out. It was just as beautiful as SuSE but it was as tweakable as Slackware.
But even the best is not perfect, I had to get Xine, because of the copyright issues, as well as the xmms mp3 plugin. But freshrpms.net had most of these in store when I needed them, so it was almost as painless as a commercial distribution(xine took a little coerction. And contrary to the Lindows and Ark style of, "you get what we give you", I was allowed to install things such as the kernel source right from the disk(a real timesaver). Plus Fedora is packed with the latest software with all the variety you could ask for.
If only Fedora had a commercial version with xine and mp3 support built in, but it was fine. Plus, unlike the new SuSE, there was no forty dollar price tag. This distribution made me rethink my opinion that linux was a little bit too stuck on either side of the arena, user friendliness, and customizeability(that's a really long word). Overall, I found it a refreshing retake on a great original, namely linux.