Re: Many Distros-for what?
The idea behind Linux Distros has always been to offer choice which, by definition, is subjective and cannot be pinned down. In stark contrast, the idea behind proprietary software is to take away choice--to lock you in and pin you down. This makes it impossible to just summarize one Distro's advantages over another (because it depends on a complex interplay of your specific needs, hardware capabilities, computing knowledge and desire to learn). Again, in stark contrast, it is only too easy to summarize what a proprietary OS is all about because it sets out to be a no-brainer, in both the good and bad sense of that phrase.
The practical upshot is:
You don't have to try all of the different distros or even a fraction of them. Think of them as being there for your benefit. Therefore, don't let their sheer numbers dictate your actions.
My recommendation is:
1. Stick to one of the 'buntu flavours. They have the best community support through sheer numbers of users.
2. If your hardware is old and relatively underpowered, use Lubuntu.
3. If not so old or underpowered, but you want an interface close to Windows, use Xubuntu (or Lubuntu).
4. If hardware is newer and sufficiently powerful, and you like new funky interfaces, use Kubuntu or Ubuntu.
Other distros like Fedora, OpenSUSE, Gentoo, etc. can be ignored for now, but are there if you don't like any of the 'buntu flavours. If you treat them not as distros that you absolutely have to try, but instead as backups in case none of the 'buntu flavours suit you, then you don't get overwhelmed with choices and can just install and move on.
Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just let me jump.