I've been trying out different Linux distros now that I've had some time and I'm trying them out on my main system (with my data drives unplugged). First I tried Debian 6.01a 64 bit with ten different installers and the fancy GUI installer wouldn't allow me to remove the swap partition (I have 4GB of RAM, not 16KB) and it turned out the Commander Keen installer worked just fine. After finally getting Debian running my RAT5 mouse clicks weren't being registered 80% of the time and my onboard digital audio didn't work. After spending almost the entire day getting those to work (and having to mess around in the terminal) I somehow borked the entire OS from booting to the GUI when installing a package that hinted I might be able to assign the fourth and fifth buttons on my mouse, at this point was time to try a different distro.
Today I've been trying Fedora 14 64 Bit LXDE which didn't give me an install option so I have to wait an hour for it to boot from the CD. I had the same problem with my RAT5 mouse though was able to resolve the issue though it still took a solid hour. I'm not sure about my sound as it doesn't play MP3's and after two hours couldn't get Flash to work to any degree.
On top of this both distros sit around twiddling their thumbs when both booting and shutting down requiring me to press the space bar numerous times to remind the computer that I'm sitting here looking at the screen waiting.
I don't mind if the system takes a minute to boot and I don't mind learning new things associated with a different OS. I'd like to switch from XP to Linux at some point as Microsoft has been intentionally reducing the usability of their products however I can't test any production software if I can't get even the basics to work! Does any one have any recommendations on a Linux distro that just works?