Linux offers the most flexible operating systems in the market; hundreds of distributions are ready for downloads.
Most are free while some commercial distros acquire small donations in exchange of paid tech support. With hundreds options in switching to Linux, it is overwhelming specially to beginners. Not all versions are suitable for Linux beginners. This article introduces you to the easiest and newbie-friendly distributions.
Linux Mint is at the top of the list among easiest Linux version to use if you are switching from Windows. Its interface is similar to Windows, and there are less manual configurations necessary. Even though there is no paid support and store for commercial applications, it has hundreds of free programs readily available for download.
The possible downside that may arise is it may be difficult for beginners to switch to other Linux distributions right away.
Currently, Linux Mint 13 KDE is their newest full-featured desktop environment. You may read the review of what's new in this user-friendly distro by the Mint team here.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is a new distribution edition. This may not be the easiest Linux available, but it gives an opportunity for new users to adjust and explore the possibilities of open-source operating system. There might be more manual configurations needed installing codecs and plugins during installation, it plays as an introduction to further control you have with the OS. There are plenty of Ubuntu-native applications available, free and commercial. You can browse through them in an app manager; removing and updating applications are easier as well. The desktop interface of Ubuntu is different from Windows' but it starts you well in more complexed Linux interfaces.
There are few other open-source OS that are easy yet feature-rich. If you want user-friendly interface over intricate pro-features, you can also try Zorin OS. Its desktop look is similar to Windows 7, so you can try Linux without getting lost in OS translation. For a little more challenging beginner platforms, Pinguy OS 12.04 LTS and Peppermint OS 3 are still easy to use but they are more noteworthy for their extensive software. Their default desktops may be modified easily.