Back in the mid-'90s, I had an interest in learning SCO UNIX. I mentioned this to one of my classmates, and he asked if I had thought about trying Linux. I thought to myself, what is this Linux thing this guy is talking about, but was intrigued nonetheless. In 1996, I was at a B&N and saw "Running Linux" on the bookshelf. I picked it up and knew right then and there I needed to know more. So, I made my purchase and began studying this thing called "Linux." A couple months later, I found another Linux book that contained two CD's in the back... they were Slackware disks. I was working for a local computer shop at the time, and after finally being able to afford my first AMD 486 for myself, I immediately went to work installing Slackware, complete with XFree86 and FVWM95. It wasn't exactly an easy task at first, but gradually got easier as time went on.
Since then, I've ran most of the major Linux distros out there, along with FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and PC-BSD. However, I have currently settled in with Arch Linux. Someone said that Arch is like a Lego or Erector set. You have the Arch core and from there, you get to customize it to your specific needs. No extra fluff or filler. I will admit, Arch isn't for everyone. It takes patience and time to get it right, but when it's set up the way you want it, it can be screaming fast. I'm currently running Arch on an old HP Pavillion dv5000 series laptop with an AMD Turion64 CPU and only 2GB of RAM. I have xfce4 as my default D.E., and pretty much all the apps I need. If I need more, either a simple "sudo pacman -S 'app-name' or yaourt 'app-name'" will help me install the app that I need. Yaourt isn't installed by default, however, there's plenty of documentation to assist in getting it setup. And finally, speaking of documentation, the Arch Wiki is outstanding when it comes to finding exactly what you need to know.
For those of you who are REALLY interested in learning how your computer works, and getting to to perform the way you think it should, Arch is definitely the way to go. For everyone else who has heard of Linux, but want to take baby steps, then I would recommend one of the more simlpified distributions... either Linux Mint, openSUSE, Fedora, or any one of the Ubuntu variants. And for those who feel the need to be more in control of EVERYTHING that is installed, there's always the tried and true Slackware. CHEERS!!!
i am using Mythbuntu for the PVR... so I have a vested interest to keep using linux for watching tv. but, the first linux i ever installed was openSuse... then I tried unbuntu (kernel 2.6) but due to the fac I was using AMD Gpus i lost interest in linux due to the difficultly installing the AMD drivers...
so time passed, and i wanted to record OTA HDTV,(for free) so i looked for a free PVR solution , and i discovered mythbuntu, and seeing that i needed VDPAU for easy deinterlacing, i bought an Nvidia GPU, and resigned myself to learning how to install the Nvidia drivers via the terminal...after discovering "sudo service lightdm stop" and "chmod 775..." the process was very easy. (still have not learned how to install AMD drivers... dont need too... if only AMD had a VDPAU driver ) so i am stuck using Nvidia until i get the same or better deinterlacing on AMD or intel)
i is great that i can find an answer for anyof my linux problems on the internet!...
TL;DR... openSUSE, ubuntu, then using Mythbuntu Daily.
Slackware 1.0. Then RedHat, later SuSE, then a break because I got fed up with the constant tinkering (automated kernel updates breaking NDISWrapper, multiple monitor woes, etc. etc. etc.). Now using Mint 15 as sort of a hobby and for work with The GIMP.