Fedora is a well designed, serious distribution for the serious Linux enthusiast. Perhaps not as hardcore as Gentoo or Slackware, but not terribly far behind either. The latest efforts put behind Fedora are close to matching the release speed seen with Ubuntu, although perhaps not quite as frequent. Every release in recent years has been cutting edge for early adopters looking for that latest and greatest experience.
If you're looking for a fun, cutting edge Linux experience thats not going to leave you feeling like a complete newbie the entire way, then perhaps Fedora is something to consider. It's fast, easy to install and with the exception of any bugs given with PulseAudio, pretty stable to use.
3) PCLinuxOS is an OS Different From the Rest
Take distros such as OpenSUSE and Mandriva, then toss them into a blender with a few special ingredients added. You would likely come up with something a lot like PCLinuxOS.
Much like Fedora, PCLinuxOS is available in both GNOME and KDE flavors. The official release however, is the KDE-based distro.
At first boot, you can see how PCLinuxOS is very much of the same spirit as SimplyMepis. Features like PulseAudio -- focusing on stability over cutting edge -- give new users a chance of success with some of the best hardware detection out there.
Here's where it gets interesting. As PCLinuxOS is a distro very much like Mepis, the differences largely come down to preferences.
For instances, Mepis provides better tools to manage user accounts, while PCLinuxOS provides a vastly superior control center independent of KDE. The only problem is PCLinuxOS thinking that "Graphical Server" is going to make any sense to anyone who is not already familiar with Linux. Newbies would have no idea what this means.
On the plus side, I love that I am looking at real parental controls. I also like the fact that the PCLinuxOS control panel comes with a really great security settings group.
Both of these features are something that I would love to see made available in this format, on other distros. Fat chance perhaps, but it would be nice thing to witness.
What about [My Favorite] Distribution?
This article serves as a roundup of Ubuntu alternative distributions that I believe provide genuine value due to my own usage, their history and general availability. So this leaves out some distributions of Linux that others users may feel worthy of inclusion. That's fine. But I stand by my choices regardless.
The above distributions provide the following benefits. Stable, mature projects. Each of the above has a history of keeping things up to date and do well in addressing known bugs.
No DVDs. I am sorry, but distros that require DVD ISOs are simply out of the question as it limits options for those without DVD writers.
Not based on Ubuntu. Some people feel that Ubuntu code is simply not stable enough to put much faith in. Each of the distributions listed above are working from code not coming from the Ubuntu project.