Ken Hough's Website
Which distro should I go for?
Making specific recommendations for Linux distros invites objections, so please take my comments as suggestions for how "newbies" might begin. My comments are based on my own successful experiences.
I have working experience of various Linux distros including Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu, and I try to keep an eye on new releases of these and of other main stream distros.
For some years now, my own preference has been for Debian Linux (presently version 6) which is a relatively conservative but rigorously tested, and much respected distro. Unlike most other distros, the Debian organisation do not follow a pre-determined release schedule. Debian is released only when it is considered to be ready! Pre-release versions are available for downloading, but these are intended ONLY for review and testing.
Mint, Ubuntu and some other distros are built on Debian Linux.
Early versions of Debian earned a reputation for being rather technical and for being best left to "geeks", but recent versions are easy to set up and are user friendly.
You are of course free to choose a different distro. You might prefer a more modern looking distro, or you might prefer a distro which is aimed at multi-media usage. In which case something like Mint or Ubuntu might be a good choice. But don't forget that Linux is flexible, and once you know your way around, it will normally be possible to set it up to do just about anything that other distros can do.