Have you decided to try out Linux? Great! Then you need to choose one distribution to use. There are a lot out there, depending on what kind of computer you want to have. So, here are some good alternatives:
Linux Mint is probably one of the simplest, beginner- and user-friendly operating systems out there. It is based on another distribution called Ubuntu, but there are some key differences (but you can read more about that os further down). The latest (Linux Mint 13) is supported until April 2017, which means that you would get a stable operating system that also will get important security updates until then.
Ubuntu is an user-friendly operating system that have been available since 2004. Back then, free software and Linux was not that popular at home. Partially because Linux based operating systems was not that user-friendly. So, the Ubuntu team started a project of an easy-to-use operating system. The name Ubuntu also is described the following at their site:
Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It also means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.
To be clear; with “Windows-like” I mean a distribution that looks like Windows, but not necessarily work with all Windows programs and applications. It is made to make Linux feel more “at home”.
Zorin OS has three free (as in no cost) versions and two premium versions of its operating system at this time (June 29th 2012). You can choose to have a Windows 7 look (standard), or if you have bought premium you can also have a Mac Os X look.
Side note: And for the “geeks” who want to install a Windows-like theme on their Ubuntu, you can try this out!
Free/open source only
If you would like to have a computer that only has free/open source software you should try this out. Note that you will not be able to use MP3 or other proprietary formats unless you tweak the software (but then it would be quite unnecessary to install it, IMHO).
Trisquel is a great operating system based on Ubuntu. The latest version is 5.5 and was released on the 16th of April this year. Because it is based on Ubuntu, it is a very simple operating system.
All of us are different and want our computers to do different things. If you would have a Windows 7-like interface, then you should try Zorin OS out. Or, if you would like to have a completely free/open source distribution you should try out Trisquel. For me, Ubuntu was a great option that I still use.