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I am completely new to Linux but would very much like to learn it. I have an older computer that I have stripped and want to make a clean installation of linux. No swaping between linux and windows. Just linux.
I bought several older versions of linux from a shop going out of business and have had no luck in installation.
I have researched several editions of Linux. I did not realize there were so many. What was confusing was any given version would have installations of 3 to 6 disk. Why is this and what is the difference between 3 and 6 disk
installations. If 3 is enough why are there more than 3.
As would be expexted after researching some versions of linux I am now totally confused. It is a lot like buying a car. They tell you what you want to here and leave out a lot they know they are not going to tell you unless beaten over the head.
So, comes the question. What is the EASIEST version of linux to INSTALL (please don't make me get my stick out) and at least some what easy to operate after installation.
How loud can one scream HELP
Well, that is the most asked question when it comes to linux. Instead running through the whole thing again, you may want to check out this previous post:

As for your other questions, some linux distributions are 1 disk, some are 3 and others are 6 (i've even seen a whopping 9-disc one before). The main reason for soooo many disks is simple, choice. It's all about choice. If you're new to linux, and don't really care about 'choice', you can just get a 1-3 disc install. The difference between Windows and Linux is that on a Windows installed, you get pretty much the barebones of a complete system. You get your web browser, email client, media player, all created by microsoft. In linux, you have choices between different web browsers, email clients, media players, etc. Most new users don't know the different types of software, and therefore don't care about what's installed, and this is fair enough. You need to try out different apps before you have a choice.

Another big reason for a multi-cd install is for people without internet connections. As i'm sure you're aware, the majority of linux applications are free of charge, and therefore, easily available from a number of sources. So, rather then wasteing your bandwidth and the distributions, you can just download the base install, and then manually install applications later downloading them one at a time. For someone without and Internet connection, they would want as much as possible offline.

A big example of this would be Debian. I'm not fully sure about this, but i think the last version of debian was something like 6-8 cd's big. That's huge, no matter what kind of connection you go, but, that's a lot of friggin packages that most people would ever use. So, what i do, is i download the netinstall cd, which is a base cd that i can install the base debian from, and from there i download/install only the software I would use. That way i'm not wasting cd's, nor extra bandwidth on apps i will never use anyways.

I hope this helps, and i hope that link about will give you some insight. Please be aware though that most discussions on distributions are more recent ones. If you feel that those suggestions are too recent, perhaps you can post your system specs, and the guru's that roam the forums might be able to make some suggestions.
The problem with "easy-to-use" is that "easy-to-use" takes more resources than just "usable". A low-spec system can run Linux no problem, but it might not be able to run X (the Graphical User Interface) because X is processor and memory intensive. Mandrake is easy to use, but the config tools take disk space, and need a lot of resources to run.

IMO, a completely command-line box is just as easy to configure as one with graphical config tools. It just takes longer to learn how. You will need to make a trade-off between ease-of-use and half-decent performance while using it.

How old are we talking?

Well yeah, once you get used to linux, the command line is (for the most part) the way to go. Though I am finding myself more lately configuring with graphical tools because it's getting pretty advanced.

Newere distributions are resource hogs when it comes to 'ease-of-use', which is why i think he's going for an older distribution.
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