What Linux distribution do you suggest

I am preparing my computer for big format (format c:, d:, e:), and while I am doing this I am thinking how to organize my files, OS and HDD. So, I decided to ask for your suggestions 🙂

I am going to use linux as main OS

Windows will be here mainly because of photo editing programs.

I have already googled and checked local linux portal. Some ideas are born in my head, but the advice is always appreciated 😉


The question

What Linux distribution do you suggest?
Actually, I will accept suggestion for BSD or other OS, just use arguments when suggesting. I have some experience with linux (mainly debian), so this is why I think that it should be easier for me to use linux.

Usage:
development and desktop
I don’t remember what is the last time when I played some desktop game 🙂

dev: standard PHP, MySQL, Apache (LAMP) stuff with Eclipse as editor
is java installing easy on linux? How should I install eclipse? Should I use built-in package system, or just download it from the site? Will eclipse updater work, if it is installed by the OS?
php – 5.x. I think that debian has precompiled versions with and without extension (MySQLi, GD …). What is the situation in your OS? I believe that since this will be development computer, it won’t be (too) bad to just use precompiled full-featured php package.
mysql – I will probably move to 5.x
apache – it is also time for 2.x

desktop: movies, music and photo editing
is there something similar or better than GIMP? I have used it few times, and it was not so great experience
Which raw converter do you suggest (I currently own Canon EOS 300D – Canon Digital Rebel)?
What should I use for HDR?
Which program for panoramas?
Photo editing is very important for me. If there are any programs that you have used and you are pleased with, please share

System
Here is the system that I own:
primary hdd – maxtor 40GB
slave hdd – toshiba 200GB
Important question – how to split HDDs?
How much should I separate for SWAP – 1.5GB?
My idea is to have one partition for win, other for Linux (+ swap), and third one for data storage.

Third will be used from both OS, so the question is what file system to use on it? This is big question…

CPU – celeron 1.7
RAM – 256MB + 1GB
video – nVidia4 MX 440SE
audio – famous ac97 chipset
CNET lan card
LG flatron F900B
I have linksys router, so I suppose that there should be none or very little work with firewall settings on my box? Maybe if I put CVS server, I would need this, but for now, it will be all handled by router.
I also have pixelview TV tuner card, which I don’t use even now, but you can suggest some TV program, it won’t hurt 🙂

What graphic server will you suggest me?
I have seen some great demos on youtube. Here is one example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n-6oEcAZ80&search=xgl
It should be nice to play with.
But, I would like something more classic, yet stylish. Also, I don’t believe that my configuration will handle such torture 🙂


My experience

I am not afraid of shell neither of man command 😉
Being php developer, I always deploy on Linux servers (freeBSD, too ), I am not having problems to do basic tasks, but I am far from even beginner admin level

I have tried Mandrake and Debian. The first one because it was described as most user-friendly. The second one, because I liked the idea behind it, its apt-get and precompiled packages. My first steps in Linux are also connected to Debian/Gnu Linux so I am little subjective here. The bad side of this distribution is that it is too conservative regarding including some programs (or their versions)

Almost all newer distributions have decent graphic administrative tools (yes, I know: shell is the way, but sometimes, I don’t have time to read all documentation, and I just want to do something and forget about it).
It looks to me that Linux is good enough for every home user, and I consider myself a little more than just that 😉

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I know that the answer can be subjective, and can depend on personal taste and experience, but with more opinions and advices, I will make better choice. And I hope (actually, I am sure) that I will learn some new stuff from your comments.

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