The 12th issue of TUX Magazine, the magazine for the new Linux user, is out. This time they've dealt with a range of distributions, choosing the most suitable one for the new user, and it already caused some polemics on the official website. The distros reviewed were: Debian, Linspire, SuSE 10.0, Fedora Core 5, (K)Ubuntu, MEPIS and Mandriva. The list here is sorted by the results, starting from the last.
I expected to see Mandriva among the first 3, but I expected to see Linspire there, too. I was glad to see my distro of choice among the first 3 (Ubuntu), and wasn't surprised to see Debian at the bottom when speaking about adequate distros for new users, especially when compared to Linspire, SuSE or Mandriva. The main issue with the distros was the media support – many distros didn't have any native MP3 support, DVD playing support etc. That's where the distros lost many points, along with the ease of use and configuration factor.
All in all, it's a useful article (or a set of articles, to be exact), although I'd like to see a similar thing with reviewers not being *nix experts, but ordinary people who are really using Linux for the first time. This way, as far as I could tell, some people reviewed distros they've been using for a longer time, and they're all Linux developers / consultants (except the guy who reviewed Linspire, he's an architect) – they can't look at the problem as a new Linux user would. But, they can (and did) try, and it reflected on the quality of the article. Very useful.
This issue of TUX also brings us a few extra interesting articles (and two great editorials worth a read), so I recommend it. It's free, and it's available for download at the official website.