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>> So, there is no difficult choice for the linux newbie.
> Well, let's see, there is ...
The newbie should either just take the first one, and test it, or just ask somebody.
> And those are just the 'newbie friendly' distros that I know about, and certainly some of these are duplicating each others efforts.
Efforts to achieve exactly _what_? To overthrow Microsoft? Are you dreaming? I doubt that anyone in these companies wet dreams about really questioning Microsofts desktop dominance. Hell, not even the billion heavy Apple does this. Whats so bad about having its own market and developing for that? Cant you dream about something slightly less than "total world domination"? Act less crazy than Ballmer does?
Each of these companies packages free software and tries to make their own money doing that. Among each other, and inside the infinitesimal Linux desktop market, these distributors are _competitors_, as are a great number of other companies. Each one tries _the best_ to make their product, so tell me _who_ should be the one who decides what companies will have to be closed down, to dissapear as competition for the one left over?
Requiereing companies investing so much and doing so much for the Linux Desktop to close completely down, defect to next bigger competition and to stifle their own ideas for some never to be achieved "higher goals" must be some of the most unworldly "rejoice and unite, comrades" leftist crap ever to be written on the OSNEWS boards.