If I may, please let me weigh in with another kind of reaction. First, I had the same question you posed, only it was for me and not somebody else. My wife and I share a PC so I couldn't touch that, but I was ready to wipe Bill of my Dell D620 and get into a new hobby and learning curve, right. But I wanted to start out with something for folks like me, rather than say, Slackware, right?
First, let me speak to the idea of "Not to be too mean, but what's so hard about getting linux to run properly on a PC?" As a n00b with some recent experience, I am compelled to speak frankly to this:
1) Getting Linux installed on a PC is definitely easier than a laptop to be sure.
2) Many folks take it as a given (perhaps even Mr. Hudson, I don't know) that one is installing Linux on a PC or laptop that has a reasonable connection to the web (e.g. something other than dial-up). Meanwhile, the fact is that any sort of fast(er) connection than dial-up is simply not available to some of us. Let me put that in perspective. I live in the city limits of Auburn, CA at 112 Porter Lane and commute to the capitol of California, Sacramento, every day. 30 miles. Where I live there is nothing available, period. And I am not alone. This is true even though the Obama administration and the Schwarzeniggar administration go on and on about broadband and so forth. Now, I have found that most Linux types assume that the first thing you do when you install and get logged in is connect and update your packages, right? Well, guess what? Not gonna happen. Not with dial-up, my friend!
3) Though the "in-crowd" may understand that you need to create a distro from a torrent, because the official download is likely to get corrupted and won't load properly when you create the .iso on the DVD from the download, this isn't obviously publicized. This, regardless, of PC or laptop installation.
4) There are some "notorious" WiFi devices that "have issues" and even continue to stump the "experts"; my Broadcom 4311 comes to mind.....
That being said, my laptop is now amongst you guys. And it even happened with the native Broadcom 4311, despite what a kajillion blogs and "support" sites contend. The big trick was getting a cat5 cable connected to it that had some fresh informational juice to pump into it. That was the hardest part to be sure. I mean, there is no place to "plug in" at Starbucks, right?
Anyway, back to the original question. After doing some research on the web, I found that Ubuntu/Gnome and Mandriva/KDE appeared to be two strong candidates. This, with all the talk and strong community "support". I had decided to go with Mandriva because I thought the graphics looked cooler, there was not so much "cult hype" as with Ubuntu, they were based in Paris/Rio, which seems cool, and I was still pissed at some misleading advice offered by "experts" on their site.
Well, it turns out I wound up going with Ubuntu anyway because there is a guy I found nearby me who is a real Linux guru and a nice guy and uses Ubuntu [ www.computer-shoppe.net ] so I figured I would just get what he has to make my configuration questions all that much easier.
Bottom Line from where I sit/stand:
1) Biggest factor for which I chose was about where I could get the best *real* support.
2) You are kidding yourself if you think that any flavor of Linux is ready for the Windows consuming public. It is still either a hobby or a hands-on *supported* tool.
3) Before you count it out, go take a look at the new KDE Mandriva ----cool!
4) Isn't OpenSUSE Novell? Isn't that sort of anti the whole point of being a hobby rebel?