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The best thing to do is usually to just see what is popular, that often means they're doing something right. DistroWatch maintains statistics on which distributions generate the most visitor traffic.
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If it is recommendations you seek, take them from this list.
You might also consider trying what's known as a "LiveCD," which is essentially a Linux installation on a bootable CD. To use one simply download a pre-built CD image, burn it onto a CD, put the CD in your CD-ROM drive and reboot your computer. It's a good way to give Linux a test run without committing part of your hard disk to it.
If you're interested, a list of these LiveCDs can be found here: FrozenTech.com
Thanks to aefstoggaflm for the updated link.
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