My first distribution that I used for my personal desktop was Gentoo. That lasted around a month or two until I went with a Red Hat version that I paid something like $80 bucks for at CompUSA. At the time I thought I would get something out of paid support, but I never once used the support that was included with that purchase. I don't remember which version of Red Hat that was, but it was around 1998-1999 time frame