Installed Mandrake 7.0 off a magazine coverdisk way back in 2000. It used a program which I think was called Win4lin (or Lin4Win) to basically run an early version of virtualisation. I remember running Linux from within Windows for a while (until I had to reinstall Windows and realised I'd lost my linux disks).
I actually didn't realise I was using Linux until I got a new job that used Sun Solaris boxes for number crunching. I pushed and eventually got a Red Hat 8 box installed. Things snowballed from there and when I left, they were still running the RH8 box (5 years later) as a file server and NIS slave server and they had a number of other RHEL3 and 4 boxes running too.
Now I'm running CentOS 4.6 on a laptop and a web server and I've got Fedora 8 on my old system. My new system (built and installed Windows on it last weekend) is waiting for me to decide whether to install Fedora 9 Beta on it or not.
I purchased WorkGroup Solutions FlagShip Linux kit back in late 1994, which is based on Slackware 2.0. This consisted of 4 cd's and a printed book (big and heavy). Liked what I saw so I continued using later versions of slackware.
My first distribution was Suse Linux 9.1. I didn't like cause it was slow on my machine; and I stopped using linux. My internship took me back to linux, to debian.
My current system is KUbuntu and I'm very happy with it!
in 1992 i first tried suse 4.2. then i've run with red-hat 7.2 and then reswitched with suse 8.0 and after the catastrophic opensuse 9.3 and the new amd64 pc i went with gentoo about 3 years ago.
i've tried a lot of other distros from debian to slackware, from fedora to ubuntu, i've tried out gnome, xfce, evolution, kde and in the end i've finished with gentoo + kde for personal use and with opensuse 10.3 + kde for my other family members.
and now my family with some little exceptions for some programs that still have problems in linux doesn't use nothing except linux for everyday pc use.
The first "distro" I used was Kent Robotti's DOSLinux, although it may have been called something else at the time - this was circa 1996
It was a most excellent flavour that allowed installation upon a DOS partition, with no formatting- the files themselves lived inside their own directory hehe.
Another thing that was supal337 about it was loading DOS drivers before bootstrapping the Linux kernel! Sure that sounds crazy (and maybe I was :P), but it was killer being able to load Yamaha drivers to enable 3D-spatialization (believe it was called YSound?) and VESA 'accelerators' (to speed up banked modes etc.) and then soft-booting into Linux
my first distro was fedora core 2 and didnt have much success or patience. Im a windows sys admin by trade and wanted to get into unix. Im now using linux mint and am still learning, but have finally abandoned windows at home.