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I currently use Firebird, Firefox, Winamp, Nero, OpenOffice, 7-zip, Vdub, Medal of Honor, WinDVD, Firefox, HTML-kit, and Flash.
These are really the only types of programs I require. Most will probably still work, but does anyone know of alternatives to the ones that wont work.
The only real thing I want from my operating system is hardware support and the ability to run these limited programs, I don't need anything fancy. What distro would accomplish this the fastest and with the least amount of learning curve?
Your biggest hurdles are Flash and Medal of Honor - the former is available on Mac OSX, the latter is Windows-only.
If you have not tried Linux before, download an live CD of your chosen distribution, burn it and drop the CD in the tray, reboot and just try it out. :)
Regarding installation, just follow the gentoo handbook and you should be there with little trouble. The handbook goes through things in a good step-by-step way, and there's the bonus that you learn (stuff just goes into your brain) whilst you go through setting it up.
The support forum that Birdman mentioned is very friendly will help if you find yourself scratching your head. Although I've not joined (yet), searching through the forum has certainly helped me set up or fix things a great many times - a very useful resource indeed. There's a gentoo wiki too with more useful info to help you.
I really like the security updates. There's a gui tool I run once a week that goes on the web looking for updates and installs whatever's needed. Want to install openoffice? Just fire up the install tool, find 'openoffice', click and it'll download and install from the web seamlessly.
Note that underneath all the distro's are basically the same. In terms of running apps as you've described, well I don't think you'll find that there's any difference between the various distros that way. They'll all run openoffice/whatever the same.
I have tried Nvu, I only have been using HTML-kit for the color coding, I don't use WYSIWYG. So any good editor with a built in FTP will be fine.
I dont care about WinDVD but would need a DVD player replacement, preferably with DTS if thats even possible with *nix.
What do I do about Flash? will Swish work? Is their anything that will work?
Gimp is ok, but are their any better or is their a way to get Fireworks to work?
Does amaroK have the ability to play the shoutcast stations?
I'll take any replacement for Nero, whats a good one?
If Medal of Honor wont work, what will? What games do the linux crowd play?
I few years ago I tried Red Hat 8 for a few months on a spare computer. It was alright but it was less hassle at the time to use XP. I think I have had my fill of windows and don't want to be treated like a criminal with whatever anti-piracy scheme they come up with for Vista so I want to avoid it. Thanks for all the help everybody.
If you're using Mandrake, you can configure the installation for desktop use, then add in all the multimedia/office tools etc. That should get you 90% of the way there. Beyond that a bit of googling for the package name for whatever tool you seek, then install it using the built in gui.