Informationweek tested openSUSE, Ubuntu 8.4, PCLinuxOS, Mandriva Linux One, Fedora, SimplyMEPIS, and CentOS 5.1. All performed well, and each had at least one truly outstanding feature. From the article:
In the last couple of years, desktop-friendly Linux distributions have taken enormous leaps -- they're easier to install, better maintained, and more powerful than ever before. There's also that many more of them -- which means that many more possibilities to sift through.
In this roundup I've looked at seven Linux distributions, all mainly aimed at desktop users. Some ought to be household names; some are less widely sung but still worth looking at. All are meant to be top-of-the-line, "throw-and-go" distros for general use, so I paid careful attention to how they behaved on a fairly broad range of hardware -- how display, networking, or other default configurations were set to behave both out of the box and after an update (if one was available).