The first thing you need to decide what you will be using linux.
Before hoist system on the hard drive, you can try to run it in the emulator ( virtualbox , qemu or any other) or write to the optical disk / usb flash drive and boot from cd / dvd-rom / usb.
On the Internet a lot of articles in which the authors tout different distributions and advised to put only them. But do not hurry. Try a few of these and choose what you like best.
If you are a beginner with Linux and have never had a case does not, then it makes sense to put the distribution that is familiar from Linux users.
Now I will try to run on the most popular distributions and describe the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Time-tested old-school stuff
One of the most well-known LiveCD distributions. Based on Debian. Supported by a bunch of equipment. As with any liveCD / liveUSB distribution may be appropriate to introduce a Linux or to perform any tasks (eg, data recovery, boot repair, access to the network) without having to install the distribution to your hard drive and settings. More details can be read on http://www.knoppix.org/
Very nice and convenient distribution. Suitable for both the server and for the desktop. A huge team of developers, a lot of packages available. Debian has a very comfortable APT package management system, and is flexible enough to be configured. When accessing the Internet it is possible to select one of five branches in the main directory tree - "oldstable" (previous stable), "stable" (stable), "testing" (test), "unstable" (unstable, also known as "sid" ) and "experimental", which is not a full-fledged branch - there are packages that require extensive testing or which entail major changes in the distribution. Among the shortcomings can be noted that the stable version are not the latest versions of the programs (who would have thought?). http://www.debian.org/ - official website.
Based on the source code distribution. The distribution has a convenient package management system and dependency that can not be said of the binary distributions.
One of the drawbacks is the tedious process of compiling large packages and a non-zero probability of failure of the system after the next update when there is insufficient knowledge of the system. Another drawback - the need for an Internet connection to download the updates (I think, nowadays it can be ignored).
Plus is a huge amount of documentation, the latest version of software, good hardware support, incredible flexibility in customizing.
I recommend this distribution as a home, provided that you do not iron very weak. It is also used on servers, or as a distribution for embedded systems (due to the flexibility of settings, which I mentioned above). In the case of low-power iron packages are compiled (krosskompiliruyutsya) on the host system, and then simply installed on the target.
The oldest of the surviving to date distributions, selection of Russian physicists ( meme with Laura ). Its main difference - the total absence of any unnecessary frills and graphical configuration tools, a simple text based installer. All settings are made via the edit text configuration files. This is one of those distributions, which kept strict adherence to UNIX principles. Try it if you are not afraid of the command line and prefer to manually edit config GUI utilities.
For a long time it was available only for the x86 architecture, but is now available for the x86_64 version and
Probably the most popular of the existing Linux distributions. Ubuntu is based on Debian Sid (unstable branch), but with a more modern package, including the latest version of GNOME.
One of the most interesting features is the fact that the default "root" account is disabled; the first of registered users after installation gets root access through "sudo" command. Pros: large community of developers and users, fixed schedule issues and support during the 'friendliness' to the user in the form of additional graphical configuration tools, excellent work "out of the box". Cons: often used unstable version of the software in the distribution of stable releases. Also nedolyublivatsya some advanced users because of its explicit orientation to housewives.
Advantages: professional attention to detail, easy-to-use installation and configuration, YAST.
Disadvantages: Like other distributions, developed in the US, multimedia support out of the box is limited.
Distribution was formed as a Red Hat sponsored and community-oriented. It receives the latest version of the package. And since in the bowels of RedHat born much of the technology world Linux, the first thing they are, of course, fall into the fedora.
Pros: very innovative, fresh version of the software, good localization.
Cons: Unstable software versions involve a number of errors (test track redhat).
Distribution is developed in the depths of microsystems a sun http://www.sun.com/ , which gave the world such free products as mysql, virtualbox, java. In 2010, Oracle bought Sun, and "went on his way."
For a better experience on the desktop opensolaris - open version (the project has been closed).
of the benefits could be called zfs, dtrace, good hardware support, convenient service management (Solaris SMF) and Volume Management (Solaris Volume Manager)
Allowed to collect your linux distribution through the steps from the beginning. After its installation could really claim that you know what's inside Linux. Ingoda just useful to read the instructions for assembling the LFS, for the overall development.