I have been a user of Redhat since version 5.1 and have had few gripes about it and wouldn't hesitate as using it instead of SUSE etc but for a change I decided to go with Mandrake 7.1 instead of Redhat 7. Well I must admit that I was surprised - the install is a s good, if not better, than Redhats own - most things installed flawlesly and all hardware was detected first time - impressive. The apps and bit and bobs were easily selected and installed - no problems so far - this is a good sign for Linux lovers as this has been one of it's major down falls in the past..... The choice of desktops and configurations is impressive - I opted for KDE as usual and installed almost everything on the 2nd disk - equivilant to Powerdisk with RH. The documentation was also very good and solved any problems that I had. In summary - even if you are a fanatical Redhat user and swear by it - it's worth trying Mandrake(they did have a Redhat/Mandrake release a few years ago BTW so are linked closley) as it is a professional package which is well put together and doesn't skimp on features or documentation....
The hype about Linux at the moment ignores one big problem - most people aren't too comfortable about installing a complete new operating system. Mandrake Linux makes this easy though. Its by far the easiest install process of any Linux distribution I've come across. The graphical installer takes you through each step, explaining what options are most suitable. The perennial problem of partitioning your hard drive is also made as simple as possible, its just a case of deciding how much space you want to give each partition then letting the installer create the partitions for you. No messing about with FDISK! The installation is pretty quick, and once setup its incredibly stable. I've not yet had it crash on me once, whereas Win98 crashes all the time! There is a decent amount of documentation supplied in HTML form, and a large number of useful programs. The games are pretty good too - KTron is a superb update of the cult game from the 80's! All in all, this is an ideal Linux distribution for the newbie, although its also powerful enough for anyone who knows the ins and outs of Linux. Definitely worth a look.
After the very easy installation was completed, and after it detected my graphics card (S3 VIRGE/DX) it started XWindows with no problems. The ease of use is impressive. A control centre is provided on the KDE desktop, namely DrakConf. So why do I think this is better than the other Linux versions? The short answer is that, in my opinion, it is very easy to use. Hardware support is excellent, as I even managed to use my Lucent Winmodem, and get on the internet via the uklinux.net ISP. For the home user, this is the right choice. It's based on RedHat, so is reliable. You can use Lothar, aka HardDrake, to detect your hardware. Netscape is installed as standard. Then, of course, there are the usual bunch of Linux utilities. It's a user-friendly Linux, that's good for the desktop computer. If you want to try Linux out on your home computer, go for this one. It even runs on a Pentium 75!
I started off using Redhat linux for development. Then i heard of Mandrake linux to which i thought why not give it a go. Well the installation process is very painless unlike many other linux vendors. Setting up other elements like hardware is also a doddle. I haven't used SuSe yet but if you are a beginner to linux then i would recommend that you give this one a go first. Also the development tools that are thrown in like the rest are also very handy. regards.
All people interested in Linux and Mandrake-Linux in particular are invited to participate to our experimental public forum about Mandrake's future releases. We are interested in having users feedback about several topics such as Ergonomics, Security or Software provided in Mandrake. We have set up a small server that allows people to post ideas or even new subjects. Just come and tell us what _you_ think on forum.mandrakesoft.com. Mandrake 7.1/Alpha and SPARC/UltraSPARC (beta) are available. - Along with Linux-Mandrake 7.1/x86 Final the betas of 7.1/Alpha and SPARC/UltraSPARC are available for download and tests. We need many beta-testers! Reports your installations on the Cooker list.