In the past, when someone asked me, what Linux distribution should i used for someone like me (a beginner), i would say Ubuntu or OpenSUSE or Mandriva because they are user oriented distribution that are focusing on common people compared to other Linux distribution (this is just a small list even though there are a lot of good Linux distribution that also targetting for common people out there).
But if you asked the same question to me right now, i would say Linux Mint is probably the definite answer. Looking at how they evolve this past few years, Linux Mint gained lots of user base recently, mostly after the release of Ubuntu 11.04 since they constantly changing their products with new features that (i think) is too premature to be used in desktop environment.
Most users doesn’t need radical changes just to enjoy a nice desktop that is fully working out-of-the-box. This is what Linux Mint gives to their users: a working system out-of-the-installation that is easy to use and very user friendly with a nice and consistent graphical interface, something that Ubuntu is lacking lately.
There’s a head-to-head article about Ubuntu Linux 11.04 vs Linux Mint 11. I think you now know why i would recommend Linux Mint over Ubuntu for a newbie to learn Linux.
Anyway, this doesn’t mean that i’m abandoning Slackware Linux as my primary operating system. Slackware still remain my favorite operating system and i will continue to use it as long as it’s still being maintained
There’s an old saying: “If you use Ubuntu, you’ll learn Ubuntu. If you use Slackware, you’ll learn Linux”. Read also 10 resons why you should give Slackware Linux a chance by Jack Wallen if you need something to motivate you to use Slackware Linux.
As a last tips, check Zegenie Studio where they created a website called Linux Distribution Chooser. It’s a wizard-based questions created to help you decide which Linux distribution to choose. In my case, it’s 100% Slackware.