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Centos 6 is probably the best free Linux system available, largely because of it's compatibility to RHEL. The support is there for pretty much everything if you know where to look and in it's minimal incarnation, (I use it with just Fluxbox, Thunar and Rxvt) it is very fast, much faster than the equivalent Ubuntu, Debian etc. The multimedia support is actually fine with codecs for everything freely available. It is easy to find information on pretty much all aspects because you not only have Centos but also RHEL documentation. The repos work together if you set up yum priorities properly and there is now quite a substantial choice available. Dropping it down to a server is quick and it performs well. Centos 6 has pretty much all you need, not just in Server or Desktop mode but as an all encompassing computing workstation.
You can put it on Netbooks, Laptops et al and get it up and running quickly. The Live version is great for rescues or quick boot ups and detects wireless connections easily.
There are others of course but Centos 6 takes some beating for a free Linux distro.
Very Stable distro, I installed the netinstall version and used Fluxbox, Thunar and Rxvt for my 'Desktop'. Easy to install and huge support via Debian/Ubuntu packages. easy package management with Synaptic and Gdebi-Gtk. Great for a minimal install and add/build your own progs. A useful installation guide for the netinstall version can be found at http://minimallinux.blogspot.com which will get you up and running in 10 minutes so great for newbies who want to get a little more involved.
I used the Centos 6.2 release in a netinstall format. Installation went smoothly and I only had to add 1 repo to get everything working (epel). I used Fluxbox/Thunar/Rxvt as my 'Desktop' and it all installed fine. Finished with SM Player which, after adding the multimedia codecs and w32codecs, pretty much plays everything. It has become my main distro for Desktop use and a useful blog on installing the above is available at
All in all a great distro and highly recommended.