I have long contended that GNU/Linux is GNU/Linux and the differences between distros are mostly cosmetic. Thus, a novice should take what is available and put it to work. If a novice is going to install a distribution then the number one factor is having a guide rather than what particular distro is chosen. An experienced installer will have half a dozen options to overcome any obstacle while a newbie will be stopped without a guide. Of course, there are few obstacles to installing GNU/Linux on a PC these days. The obstacles are usually corner cases like some peripheral not working or not knowing what application does what.
An article describing tests of three popular distros illustrates this. On assessing usability for 7 factors, the reviewer found all three had very similar scores. Ten years ago, distros started being fairly easy to install even by a newbie ( I was one.) but there were persistent problems with displays and device drivers for a few years more. Lately, the vast majority of installations just work. This past year I installed a release of Debian GNU/Linux and their testing distro on every type of PC in my school and a bunch from the neighbourhood. Even the testing distro stopped encountering difficulty as it was debugged long before release. Upon release, it will be as smooth as silk.
A few observations:
- Boot to desktop 64s! Very slow, these days. That could be due to a notebook drive and/or the virtual machine.
- The hardware failure was some random scanner, probably not crucial to the “success” of the installation
- You will miss a lot of fun if you do not check out the slides in TFA
There are many more factors than 7 that could have been tested. Updates, local services, games, etc. all may affect choices. Installing and trying things out from several distros is an option users of that other OS lack. Installing using a package manager is cool. It’s fast and you use the same tool to install the OS as the applications. Be sure to visit Distrowatch.com to help choose your distro.