I tried a whole bunch of new Linux distros recently, thought I'd share my findings with you all
elive 0.5.1 (dev version)
WOW! I'd never tried e17 before I tried elive and I was bowled over! The interface GFX very impressive indeed, you can easily download lots of great looking themes and it has a futuristic animated control panel, elpanel, too. Configuring e17 modules is great fun. elive is the first freely available, live Debian-based CD that I've seen that comes with the proprietary graphics drivers, DVD playback, flash plugin, MP3 and video codecs all pre-installed! e17 is still under heavy development and has a few bugs but is already very useable and this CD is the best way I've found yet to get friends and family interested in Linux. Boot it in work (if its not going to endanger your job), show it to your work mates and watch their reaction!
PCLinuxOS 0.93a 'Big Daddy'
My dad wants to update the version of Linux on his laptop in France which doesn't have an internet connection so I was looking for a general-purpose, desktop orientated Linux distro that was easy to use and had everything he would need on the one disc. Enter PCLinuxOS! It is both a live CD and HD installable, comes with MP3 playback, flash and video codecs but not DVD playback but that is easily remedied by installing a tiny rpm after installation. PCLinuxOS is based on Mandriva and so features Mandrivas excellent control panel- one of the best in the Linux world alongside SuSE's. The stand out feature of PCLinuxOS was it's installer- installing a Linux OS to a PC cannot realistically get any easier and its a quick install too. PCLOS is an excellent choice for many new Linux users and Windows refugees.
Ubuntu Edgy Eft
If you read tech news sites (and that includes 99% of OESF members I'd say) then you cannot possibly have missed all the hype and commotion over Ubuntu as of recent. I really don't like the way that the Ubuntu and Kubuntu CD and DVDs are either all QT/KDE apps or entirely GNOME/GTK. This annoys me because I prefer KDE to GNOME but I still want to have Firefox and GIMP etc. under kubuntu so (k)ubuntu is not a good choice for those without internet or with a only a dial-up connection. Ubuntu still seems to me to be an inferior, less-polished, more buggy fork or Debian. The one thing that has really impressed me with Edgy is that it is the first distribution where Hibernate has worked flawlessly on both my PC and my dads box. Unlike many Linux users I actually turn my PC off and so it is a godsend having a passwordless hibernate feature as it effectively halves my boot time. Note that you can only turn the Hibernate password off under Ubuntu (GNOME) via gconf-editor/apps/gnome-power-manager and not under kubuntu sadly enough. I'm waiting for Hibernate to show up in a Debian based distro like elive or Kanotix.