I've used Linux of a few varying flavours over the past few years, Slackware and Earlier Mandrake Distributions mostly and of all the Linux's I have ever used this (version 8) is the easiest to install by far. As you step through the install it automatically picks most of the correct settings for you, so it is the BEST choice if you are a newcomer to Linux. Be warned however, while Mandrake 8 is the Easiest Linux I've seen to install and use, if you are not of the technical nature then really Linux isn't the OS for you... Linux by it's very nature requires that you understand at the very least the rudimentaries of computer systems and how they are set up. (things like IRQ's, DMA Settings, What graphics card you have and what settings both it and your monitor can handle, if these things mean nothing to you then don't worry, just stick with a Windows based OS until Linux has evolved far enough that it hides everything behind the scenes) Also if you use your PC to play Games then it really is best to stick with Windows for now... Linux is a great OS, ultra-stable and reliable and the software runs faster, stabler and just better than Windows Equivalents... there just isn't the amount of mainstream applications and games for the average home user to warrant using Linux.. However if you see yourself as a PC Geek or you use your machine as a Server or as a serious machine of some description then dump Windows today because Linux is and always will be better in that environment... AND IT'S FREE !!!!!
I recently bought Linux Mandrake, because I wanted a manual and support in case I mess things up. I should have saved my money, because Mandrake is the easiest operating system to use. It's very fast (much faster than Windows- at least on my computer), and unbelievebly easy to use. It comes with a whole load of free software, and there is nothing that you can do on Windows that you can't do Linux. Unfortunatly, this distibution doesn't come with the source code in it, so not so good for developers (I can't get the GCC program to work either), but for the average user, it's a amazing operating system that is far better than all others (except other distributions of Linux- I haven't tried those yet). The default desktop is KDE, but it's very easy to change, and basically all aspects of the computer can be changed. Networking is damn easy, and internet access for Modems, T1, T3, Cable, DSL and ISDN connections are all supported. Unfortunatly I can't connect to the net (damn WinModem!), but I have seen it when you can, and I have to say that it is a lot faster than Internet Explorer will ever be. It may not entirly to your taste, but then you are sure to find a Linux distribution that is. Check out my new site: http://www.distribution.f2s.com for lists of Distros and test them out (but be warned: it goes live TOMORROW- 16th July 2001).