I started with Slackware in 1999, a friend gave me "Slackware magazine" with install CD and some how-to install / start / configure.
I'm still using Slackware nowadays, at home and at office.
Why Slackware ? I've been using FreeBSD, Fedora, OpenSuse each for 4-6 months at work, and Slackware is my favorite. I don't have some stupid GUI not working, I don't get updates that break the system (only security updates) and I am not tempted to update to bleeding-edge and break my system.
The slackbuild repo contains nearly all I need, and I don't care doing "./configure && make && sudo make install" from sources to install a new software. I start all my local services from /etc/rc.d/rc.local (lighttpd / redis for example).
The machine is using Lilo, the boot is very slow, but the computer works, and continue to works.
For me, Slackware keeps to be very simple while it's not the best for performance or up-to-date packages.
I started with 3 distributions at a time, at the end of 1997:
Debian (I think it was 1.3).
Red Hat 4.2, and later 5.
I also went to some testing stage with a lot of distributions, having used them for a long time: SuSE, Madrivia, Gentoo, Linux from Scratch and lately at Ubuntu, after so many years of using Debian and Gentoo.
Actually I had Ubuntu but I want to get away from it.
I would like use a rolling release, but not so disruptive as Debian sid.
I know there are Arch and Sabayon, and look quite appealing.
Any recommendations for Mac supported machines?
opensuse. i was trying to mount a hidden partition to read a recovery partition password on an acer laptop. i noobed out. the next day i came back with an ubuntu disk and managed to mount it on the command line.
First distro I used was either RedHat (not sure which version) or Mandrake (either 7 or 9, can't remember). Mandrake was nice, installed with a wide variety of DEs (gnome was fun to play with--putting drawers inside drawers, opening them all up, then closing and opening the first drawer and watching them cascade. lol), Enlightenment was still cool.
Unfortunately, even back then, it was a pretty old version of Mandrake so it was hard to get packages that worked on it. It was pretty much a fenced off sandbox for playing and webbrowsing. Still, had some pretty fun games included on the CD.
Red Hat 5.0 but there were hardware conficts so I went back to OS2 at home and IRIX at work.
Mandrake 5.x became my first full time linux distro at home. Eventually I left that because I grew tired of rpm even though mandrake was better than red hat.
I fiddled with a bunch of others even toyed with the idea of Gentooing but then I stumbled onto ubuntu in 2006 (warthog and all),I have been happy ever since...